Pursuing an internship in Japan can be a great experience to boost your knowledge of Japanese business practices, culture, and can be a great addition to your CV. It can enable you to gain a greater global outlook and even gain an edge over your peers when hunting for a job later down the line. Even if you haven’t studied Japanese or Japan before, putting yourself out there and attempting to work in a different culture can have numerous benefits. A QS World University Rankings’ Global Employer Survey Report, which was undertaken by 10,000 employers in 116 countries, revealed that 80% of these would actively seek out those that had studied or had experience abroad. Those with experience abroad have also been recorded as being quicker to be employed as well. Overall, by interning with a company in Japan, it can give you a great opportunity to gain a wealth of experience in understanding the business practices, language, and culture of one of Asia’s largest economies.
Decide on What Type of Internship You Want
The first step after deciding on that you want to do an internship, is undoubtedly what type of internship you want to do. With numerous different companies to choose from that all offer different types of experiences, it can definitely be hard to figure out exactly what you want. For some, it may be as easy as lining up your internship workplace choice with your degree, but for others, this might be a bit harder. It could be as simple as choosing a field that lines up with your interests, or you may even want to try something completely new. No matter what you choose, we definitely reccommend looking at all of the different companies out there that offer internships before making any decisions.
In Japan, there are numerous third-party internship companies which will act as a liaison between you and the companies they keep on thier clients list. Many of the third-party internship companies are very similar; however, pricing, accommodation, and the levels of support do differ, so we highly recommend having a thorough look through each of their websites before deciding.
Please note that due to current Covid-19 Restrictions, obtaining a relevant work visa is currently not possible under Japanese Government Restrictions.
Internship in Japan – With over 500+ partnered companies, Japan Internships offers both virtual and local internships in a range of different fields. Offering both group and individual programs, Internships in Japan has had success with over 6000 graduates and has been a long standing company in the field since 1975. Do be aware though that these internships do come with fees.
Meiji Internships – Featuring a range of packages and with a multitude of types of work on offer, Meiji Internships is a great place to begin your journey into Japan. With raving reviews and a great reputation for being honest and upfront, they offer both virtual and local internships. They do charge for your internship, but have a range of packages and options depending on your length of stay.
The Intern Group – The Intern Group feature a range of companies on their roster and will find a company that suits your interests. With experience coordinators on hand at all times, you will always have someone there to support you if need be. They offer both virtual and local internships and like the others do charge fees for their services. For the time being, they only offer Tokyo as a placement location.
Sakae Japan Internship Program – The SJIP is possibly the standout of these internship companies. While they mainly focus on tech and Japanese language-related internships, their main selling point is that both the program and accommodation are free for those who are successful. While the catalogue of companies and range of on offer activities may not be as large as the above-mentioned internship companies, if you’re in tech or studying Japanese, this is the program I’d highly recommend.
Other Internship Opportunities
The American Chamber of Commerce In Japan – The ACCJ, in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy, has partnered with a series of companies including Fiat Chrysler, GR Japan, and Amway Japan G.K. that are willing to provide internships to students interested in gaining experience in Japanese companies. For any Americans reading, it’s definitely something worth checking out.
Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan – The ANZCCJ offers their own internships which have you working at the Chamber itself. Key responsibilities include supporting the website and social media, the Newsletter, and online events. Currently, they are only offering remote internships with applications currently being accepted. The closing date is the 31st of October, and the experience would run from December 2021 to February 2022.
Embassies: If you’re interested in working in government, many embassies will typically offer internships to citizens of their own countries.
CISAustralia – For those located in Australia, CISAustralia is a great platform for being able to obtain credit towards your degree as they are familiar with the university landscape. They offer both virtual and in-person internships. They also give you the choice to choose your own company depending on availability.
Internships can also be taken as part of your study abroad experience for some universities. Depending on the Japanese university which you attend, and on the requirements of your home university, doing an internship while studying, or in the holiday periods is, always an option as well. (Once the borders open up that is)
Internship Fees and Remuneration
As you might have guessed, receiving money during your internship for the work you do isn’t particularly normal. While some internships may offer you a stipend for transport and other such needs, many of the internships are unfortunately unpaid. Rather, many companies will charge you to undertake internships through them. That isn’t to say all is lost though. Many of the internship companies are willing to offer you support in finding scholarships, and those that are offered directly from companies, non-governmental organisations, or governments, don’t typically charge you for applying. So, while it may seem difficult at first, there are definitely options out there for those who don’t have as much room to afford paying considerable fees to gain work experience. We would definitely recommend having a look at all of the different internship companies, and find which one works best for you!
The Language Barrier
Last but not least is the fabled language barrier question. Do you need Japanese to work in Japan? The simple answer is that while it’s definitely an advantage, it is not the be-all-end-all. Many internship programs are able to help those with a lower level to no language skills. Both Meiji Internships and Japan Internships offer language courses as an add on to their programs for those who require it. However, the reality is that if you are going to be working in Japan, some level of Japanese will be required depending on the type of job you’re wanting to pursue. For example, for those in IT or more skill related job fields, Japanese isn’t always necessary. However, in more customer-facing centric jobs, Japanese is required in most cases. If you’re Japanese isn’t quite up to scratch yet, definitely voice that when interviewing with these companies, and I’m sure they will be able to accommodate you. You won’t be the first person to go to Japan with little Japanese, and you certainly won’t be the last.
Overall, finding an internship can definitely be hard. So, we hope this guide has helped provide you with a few more ideas about what type of avenues are available for gaining an internship in Japan. While these are just some of the companies and places that offer internships in Japan, there are definitely many more out there that may better suit you. As such, we wish you the best of luck in finding the perfect internship for you.
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