Kyoto Styudy

For those considering study abroad in Kyoto For international students in Kyoto


Students Talk: Doing a Paid Internship in Japan, 2017

Students Talk: Doing a Paid Internship in Japan, 2017

You can understand Japanese just fine at school, but in a business setting? You may have some worries. What is it really like to work in a Japanese office or other work setting? International students hoping to find a job in Japan can have a whole host of worries that their Japanese classmates may not.
To help students studying abroad find some of those answers, Study Kyoto has partnered with a number of Kyoto companies to host an internship program. Students can choose from a range of industries and companies, and also receive a salary during their internship, making this an especially exciting opportunity for international students.

”Passing the JLPT shouldn’t be the end goal, but the beginning..."


For program details, please see the link below. Details about this year’s program will be posted on this website around May, 2018.

Study Kyoto Magazine asked three international students to tell us about their experience interning at a web design and marketing company in Kyoto.

During their internship, the students were involved in a wide variety of activities. They created promotion pitches using their unique perspectives as international students; conducted on-the-ground reporting, wrote articles, and translated them for travel websites.

*Be advised that internship activities will vary by company.

Name: Ms. Ken Soh
Country: China
School: Ritsumeikan University

Q: What made you sign up for the internship program?

I signed up because I thought I would be able to experience what it’s really like at a company with this program. There were many companies participating, and the actual internship activities were all different, too, so as a non-Japanese person, I thought it would be a great chance to get to understand a Japanese company better.

Q: What made you choose the company you did for your internship?

I thought I could use the experience someday working with something web marketing-related in product planning at a telecommunications company in Japan or China. So I looked for an internship that might involve web marketing or web promotion.

The company where I interned uses web promotion services to promote local areas of Japan. That lined up with parts of my research themes at grad school, so I decided to apply at this company.

Q: What did you learn through your internship?

I went to my internship twice a week, for a total of 80 hours, and during that time, I was taught what a week’s work is like, and how to go about doing it.

I even had some opportunities to go outside and do some on-site reporting with a few of the employees. Until now, most of what I’ve learned has come from school texts, or from the example of other companies. But with this internship, I learned that actually putting that knowledge to use on the job wasn’t as easy as I thought.

Q: What was the most interesting thing you did during your internship, or talked about in your conversations with coworkers?

The most interesting thing for me was my reporting trip to Ujitawara.

China and Japan both have many cities that are rich in nature and history, but when it comes to uploading information about their sightseeing locations and famous goods, there’s still a lot of work to be done.

I think if you can actually go to such a location, and speak with the local people—if there’s something you can relate to, it makes it much easier to work on promoting that region.


My hometown has a history of 2,500 years, and is well-known in the tourism industry, so I felt like it was easy to put myself in the shoes of people who are working hard to promote their towns.

Q: Please share a message for students who do an internship in the future!

Japanese language ability is an absolute must. You should study hard to pass the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test), of course, but I felt that the Japanese level of the JLPT wasn’t enough for working in a Japanese company. Passing the JLPT shouldn’t be the end goal, but the beginning. Being able to get your thoughts across to someone is a huge advantage, whether in the workplace or in life.

"You can really grow by doing an internship..."

Name: Ms. Itsubon Ka
Country: China
School: Kyoto College of Graduate Studies for Informatics

Q: What made you sign up for the internship program?

I wanted to find a job in Japan, so I started looking for information for job hunting for international students as soon as I arrived in Japan. I’d always been interested in doing an internship, so when I found out about this internship program from my school, I put my application together and submitted it right away.

I wanted to know the differences between Japanese and Chinese companies, and to see what a Japanese company was really like.

Q: What did you learn through your internship?

During my internship, I had to think seriously about what international students are really interested in. I had to learn to listen for interesting conversations going on around me, to listen to people talking about their interests, and put together a lot of different information. I didn’t know much about marketing before, but I also learned that data analysis is an important part of understanding the problem that needs to be solved.

In my next job, I want to remember the experiences I had during this internship, and use them there.

Q: What was the most interesting thing you did during your internship, or talked about in your conversations with coworkers?

I was interested with the company work process overall. They have to work hard over a long period of time.

Going to do on-site reporting was interesting for me, too. We weren’t just going to have a good time: we had to remember key points about the locations we visited, and take good photos along the way.


During a casual chat session with the other employees, I asked the company president why he made the company. He told me that after the earthquake, he thought it was time to really do what he wanted to do, which was a reason I felt I could agree with.

Q: Please share a message for students who do an internship in the future!

You can really grow by doing an internship. I think you should definitely intern at least once if you want to work in Japan. You’ll discover so much more about what a real work environment is like, and you’ll discover more about what your weak points are.

When you experience working, I think it’s really important to learn about the company atmosphere and how the employees go about their jobs; to do the tasks you’re assigned seriously, and to not be afraid, and try everything!

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