Tim Sauerland - 2013 Program Participant
Why did you decide to apply for an internship program in Japan?
I specifically chose an international program in Japan because I had studied at a Japanese University the year before, and I was eager to return to Tokyo.
Why did you choose Internship in Japan?
While I did find Internship in Japan through a Google search, I quickly came to realize that this program was really offering something I wanted. With the share-house living options and variety of internship possibilities, Internship in Japan seemed to offer the experience of living in Japanese in a much more "real-world" capacity.
What is your favorite part about Tokyo?
It's really difficult for me to pick my favorite about Tokyo. There's just too much to love, in my opinion. I'm somewhat of an urbanite, so I'm really drawn to the all of the opportunities that are open in a big city. Tokyo seems to epitomize that, to me.
What makes interning in Japan different from studying or traveling in Japan?
As I mentioned before, doing an internship in Japan offers what I feel to be a much more "real-world" experience of life in Japan. From my own experience studying abroad, I think it can be very easy to isolate oneself in a bubble of fellow foreigners. While that is a great way to create fun stories and fond memories, it doesn't really give one a real understanding of what life in Japan is actually like. With the Internship in Japan program, I really felt I got to experience that, with all the fun and stress that accompanies that.
How did local staff support you throughout your internship?
The local staff was wonderful; Noa and Yoichi were very supportive and kind. They were there with my fellow interns and me every step of the way through the program. They organized group outings, seminars, dinners, etc. They were always willing to take the time to introduce us to anything that sparked our interest, or to help manage the stresses of our internships.
What's one thing you wish you would have done differently during your internship?
I wish I had been a bit more outgoing, in terms of speaking Japanese. I worked in a Japanese company, in which very few of my co-workers were able to speak in English. While it was a great push for me to use my Japanese, I was also quite shy about it. I'd like to give it another try, but be more confident in my ability to speak Japanese to my co-workers.
What was a typical day like as an intern in Japan?
Usually I would get to the office at nine o'clock in the morning. I would check in with my senpai (sort of like a company “big brother”) and get to work on my assignment. It was my job to create business strategies for a few small and medium enterprises in the initial stages of international expansion efforts. So I would usually spend a good amount of time researching and brainstorming, while going back and forth with my senpai about details of the task.
I would always get lunch with my co-workers around noon and be done by with work by around 6 p.m. It may sound a bit boring, but the environment around me was very hectic, because I worked in a consulting company clients were constantly coming to and leaving the office.
What did you enjoy doing on your free time?
I always loved to go exploring around Tokyo. Whether it was taking a Saturday or Sunday and strolling around different areas within Tokyo, or going on runs around my neighborhood after work.
What type of accommodation did you have in Japan?
I lived in a share house. I really liked having other people to talk to and hang out with outside of work. A share house is a great environment for making friends.
Now that you're home, how has interning in Japan changed your life?
I'm actually not currently at home. I am once again back in Japan. I am currently studying Japanese while searching for a full-time job in Tokyo. Needless to say, my internship experience really reinforced my interest in, and love of Tokyo and Japan.