Internship in Japan

Oh, hi.

Two posts in a week, huh? I guess I’ve been quite free lately ;p

Well, that’s actually not the case.

I have been doing an internship in IBM Japan since this year’s September, and I am gonna finish next year’s February. It’s quite interesting, so I thought I’ll share my experience of applying and well, doing an internship in a company in Japan. I only applied to IBM Japan so this information might only apply to this particular company.

Internship information. Around the beginning of the new semester, there was this internship seminar in my school, so I came to this seminar and got the information. Plenty of good companies joined the seminar, from the big one like Microsoft, IBM, Rakuten, Line, Fujitsu, NTT etc to small startup but cool companies. The format was that first each company would present about their company and the internship term and then the small discussion where you can go to the companies you’re interested and ask them specific thing. But if your school doesn’t have this seminar (or you are someone who is not necessarily a student in Japanese university but are interested in doing an internship in Japan), just go to the company site and you can almost always find internship information there. It’s tricky, though, because sometimes there is no English information in their (Japanese) website. Be creative, and move on to the next company on your list if you can’t find information. At the very least, find the email for inquiry about the internship, and you can directly ask them via email.

Application. Just sent them an email, stating your interest in internship in their company. Most of the time, I think you can get by only by emailing them <or at least they will point you to how to apply, sometimes they have their own internship system where you have to register and fill forms and such>. In my case, since I attended the seminar, the information was quite clear: email them. I did, and they asked me to fill an excel sheet form, plus register to their recruitment page. Here’s an email template you can probably use (in case you don’t attend seminar or such).

Dear Sir/Madam,
My name is <your name>, a <undergraduate/master/doctorate> student in <your school>, <your department>, <your lab..etc>.
I am interested in doing an internship in <company name>, for the period <if you have specific period>. Is there any information I can refer to about the internship opportunity in <company name>, such as how to apply, the selection process, the internship term, and the like?
Thank you.

Interview. After submitting the necessary documents, you will get an invitation for interview (most of the time). I lived in Tokyo so I came directly to their office for the interview. The first interview was technical-not something like why-do-you-want-to-apply-here or what-is-your-motivation kind of interview. I presented my research and they asked me technical things related to my research. My second interview was when I had a vacation outside Tokyo, so they called me and I did my interview while wearing a yukata and looking at the gorgeous mount Fuji. The second interview was to discuss the internship term, like the contract, salary, and such.

Contract. You sign the contract if you agree with the term, and you’re done.

(actually doing) the Internship. I am kind of tired now so I’ll write this in a separate post, or maybe I’ll update this post later.

Doing internship on your last year of Ph.D. is not something I would suggest, but in my case, I have this tendency that when I have lots of things to do (read: busy- hate this word) I am weirdly becoming more productive. Yes yes, I am suffering a terrible breakout now where the doctor told me because of stress, lack of sleep, vegetable deficiency and such and such… but, I hope it’s worth it (?), because the doctor told me not to eat raw foods (sashimi, my heaven!) when I am tired (how I am supposed to know if I am tired or not?!)

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3 thoughts on “Internship in Japan

  1. Thank you for sharing your experience ^^ Its very helpful.
    I’m planning on doing a phd in japan in the next couple of years , but by the time I’ll get there Im afraid I’ll already be in my early 30s ( obviously an obasan >-<) … can you please give me an idea about the average age phd students' age in japan ? I'm really worried Ill be the only elder in the lab xD Thanks a lot 🙂

    1. I wouldn’t know such information but I guess you’ll be okay ;)) I know some phd students in their early 30s here 😉

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