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Japanese Level
Native Speaker
University of Maryland
Univ. Field of Study
Computer Science
Software Engineering

How did you become interested in Japan?

It was sort of rediscovering my lost identity, right, because I grew up in the States, but I was always around Japanese people. And, so, I never knew what it was like to work in Japan, or live in Japan for the long-term. So, I guess that was why I was interested.

How has your internship gone?

I think it went great! I think it was definitely not an easy internship, which also means that it was worth doing, I think. It was good. I think I gained a lot of confidence to work as an engineer, not just in Japan, but anywhere.

Can you tell us a little bit about your job, and what it is that you were tasked with doing?

Yeah, so I was a software engineering intern, specifically working as a web developer. I was primarily working on back-end stuff with Ruby on Rails. My boss taught me a lot. Part of what he wanted to do was, like, allow me to kind of touch on back-end and front-end. So I also worked with front-end with Java, Vue.js, JavaScript. Which is great experience and, so, there were multiple projects, and each project would have a lot of issues. They're called issues on GitHub, but they're like tasks, and each task has some level of difficulty, and so my boss would be like, "Could you do this task today?" And then if I couldn't do a task if it was too difficult, then he would stay with me and go through it with me. I was doing small tasks in the beginning, then I was given a task that was like a month block, which was kind of its own project, implementing ads for a large movie review site. And yeah, that was towards the end of the internship.

In terms of the work environment, did you mostly use Japanese or English on the job?

Mostly Japanese... like 98% Japanese. Occasionally, my boss would ask me to pronounce words and he would just be like, oh that's a little off... Haha, which is great for me because I was here to study Japanese! So, great for me, but my boss is also very flexible with the fact that my Japanese wasn't super perfect.  But yeah, I didn't really have any issues with communication.

Where there any other ways you engaged with your coworkers?

Yeah, we actually got two new employees this month, but before that, the company was just me and my boss, and about like eight engineers who work at night or who work part-time. I had to also communicate with them depending on the task I was doing. Like, if it was a task that involved multiple Engineers, I would have to make sure that if I didn't finish a task, I'd report what I need to finish so that they could finish it when they started working.

I had SJIP to talk to...without worrying.

What are your hobbies and interests? Have you been able to continue them while here in Japan?

One of my main hobbies is soccer. I played futsal a few times, but I haven't really been able to play soccer. But that's because I had so many other things to do, like socializing. I live in a share house, so every day when I come home, it's like hanging out with a bunch of people, and then on my days off, I'm either visiting family or hanging out with other people that I met from my exchange, so I don't feel bad about not being able to play soccer because there's just a lot of other things to do, and also like one of my interests is eating, so I'd also go try new restaurants.

How was getting to know your housemates, and hanging out?

It was very easy to talk to everyone. The house specialized in Global Communication, and it was half people from abroad and half Japanese people living in Japan. Everyone wanted to socialize with people from all over the world, so it was pretty easy to start talking to them. We would all hang out in the living room, and then we'd be like, "Okay, let's go eat!" We did a barbecue three weeks ago, I think that was the biggest event we had.

Definitely expect to do work that means something.

How has this internship benefitted you?

It allowed me to really practice my Japanese, and not just socializing, but Japanese in the workplace. That was one thing, and also just pure engineering and programming skills. And I felt like if something bad would happen at work, then I had SJIP to talk to about it without worrying that my boss will find out, or anything. So it was good. It was a good balance, I think.

After graduation, what do you envision as your career path?

I think for the next five years or so, just a software engineer, then hopefully I can start my own company. My boss started his own company, too, so we talked a lot about what it's like to start a company, and what it's like to manage people, and stuff. In the future, he would still be my mentor to help me with that stuff, as well. But yeah, for now, software engineer.

Do you have any advice for future interns?

Advice...  Definitely expect to do work that means something, and it's not just like educational. Work I did was helping the company. So in that sense, it's better than a lot of internships that are more just educational. And also make sure that your life isn't centered around the work you do... If I didn't have things to do outside of work, I'd be very stressed. So, work is important, but stuff outside work is probably more important for your mental health, I think.

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