Yuga Yoshizawa - Internship Consultant
Yuga earned her bachelor's degree in global and intercultural studies from Ferris Women’s University in Kanagawa, Japan, which included a study abroad program at London Metropolitan University. She began her career as an English language teacher in Japan, before joining the ICC team in early 2015 as an internship consultant.
You joined International Cross-cultural Committee (ICC) at the beginning of 2015, how did you get connected to the organization?
Since my time at university I knew about ICC and the interesting programs they offer to study abroad. When I decided to start a new career in helping students study abroad, after my experience as a teacher, I immediately thought about ICC and applied for the open position they had at the time, which matched my professional goals.
Your education spans from England to Japan, how do you use your academic background in your current job?
Having experience studying abroad gives me legitimacy when counselling students. When I talk with them, I can give them advice that is related to their expectations and has stood the test of time. Since I lived what they are looking to experience, I can advise them according to their expectations and qualifications. The main goal is to prepare them for the professional world, since studying and working are very different. For example, as a student you mostly receive knowledge, but as an intern the company is not only asking you to learn but to contribute.
What does a typical day of work look like for an internship consultant at ICC?
The first priority in the morning is to check my emails and reply to urgent ones, then rework my schedule according to the new tasks or priorities. I usually follow this with a team meeting. After lunch, I search for host companies and introduce the students to them. If the companies are not yet ICC’s partners, I visit their office to get to know them, explain our program, and check the environment that the students will work in. The goal of this step is to make sure that the companies are trustworthy and that the students will be in a great environment for their internships.
From your own experience as a study abroad student in London, what is the most impactful part about participating in an international program?
Conducting a project with different nationalities and managing the different opinions; this is what made the biggest impression on me. For example, I had been assigned a project in a business English class with three other students, each from a different country. Our mission was to research the differences in studying methods between different nationalities, but we found ourselves arguing a lot due to our strong differences in opinions.
I have to admit, as a Japanese student, it was difficult for me at first to understand them all, since we Japanese tend to avoid conflictual situations and we always try to avoid arguments, because we consider them counter-productive. However, the more and more we discussed and exchanged ideas, the more I discovered how having arguments can be beneficial in broadening your mind and finding solutions. The fact that my team got the highest score in a class on this project is further proof that this experience was helpful and useful. I have been able to use this experience in my job, especially when I have a meeting with my team members about improving our programs.
What makes Japan ideal for international internships?
There are a lot of reasons why you should do your internship in Japan, but the biggest one, in my opinion, is that Japan’s work culture will teach you work methods and ethics that will be recognized and valued anywhere in the world, and be considered extremely professional. An example of this would be the care Japanese people show towards clients and colleagues. In Japan you will learn to always be mindful of others and how to help them in the best way possible.
How do you ensure every potential intern you talk to is matched with the perfect program?
The keys are counseling and mock-interviews. We talk with students, listen to their needs, and guide them toward the solution that will be the best fit for them. Before a student is placed in a company, there is at least one mock-interview with us to prepare him or her for the real interview with the company. The fact that the student and the company can talk to each other gives them the opportunity to decide if they will enjoy working together.
What is the most commonly sought after placement type? What are the benefits of this type of internship in Japan?
IT related placements. Since Japan is known as a formulating high technology, gaining experience in those IT companies in Japan will be the benefits for those who are willing to work for IT related companies for their future.
What is the most rewarding part about working for ICC?
Getting positive feedback from both the host company and the student.
My favourite feedback was from a fashion brand which had an intern that had studied fashion design help the brand designer for a Paris collection. The intern proved to be a good assistant and the designer was able to announce a new collection in Paris. The intern got invaluable experience, and she has even considered opening her own brand in her home country. Having that kind of feedback after an internship is the most rewarding part about working for ICC.
What is your biggest accomplishment since you began working with ICC?
Creating long lasting partnerships with new companies and broadening the scope of industries we can place students in.