Overseas Internship 2014
I had an opportunity to have my internship in Japan.
I chose to pursue the opportunity because I wanted to experience what it is truly like to work and experience life in a foreign country with a drastically different culture. I mean, how many of us could say that we actually had the opportunity to do work abroad or to experience the daily tantrums of life for an extended period of time?
Back then, I’ve got two offers to go to Japan for my internship. One offered me a chance to work with one of the world’s biggest conglomerate in one of their numerous R&D departments, another offered me to work with a college located near the suburbs of Japan. To be honest, I wanted to go for the college experience if I weren’t pushed to go for the former. I suppose it boils down to how it’d be less stressful and how the experience in general would be more tight-knitted as compared to working in a conglomerate whereby people are more superficial, so to speak.
The funny thing is, having the chance to go to Japan for my internship is the least of my expectations because it was never mentioned in the first place when they announced that there were internship opportunities abroad and hence there were absolutely no expectations of being able to go to Japan for an internship. All I did back then was to express my interest in having my internship abroad as opposed to having one locally and being able to go to Japan was really just an additional bonus to me.
Nevertheless, it was definitely an insightful experience for me as I was able to experience the actual reality of how life is like over there rather than looking through the rose-tinted glasses as a tourist. Perhaps, things are never as rosy as it seems when you are actually going through the daily tantrums of life in a country.
From my experience, I realised that the work-life balance in Japan is almost non-existent because they would work extremely long hours and come in looking lethargic because of how hard they actually “worked” everyday. I have more to say but I would say that it’s purely cultural issue and most certainly not a determining factor when it comes to efficiency.
It’s a facade that requires to be abolished, but only time will tell if the archaic notion will be discontinued.
All in all, life in Japan was good, we were well taken care of, however, more often than not, it could get rather lonely too when you essentially have close to no friends with you and when the lingua franca of the country is not the same as yours, establishing friendships could be a tall order. Our accommodation were provided for and we were given an allowance once every fortnight as well. However, there are several nuances that made the experience less positive whenever I think back. It’s crazy, there so many things that are done differently here.
Throughout our time here in Japan, we stayed in a dormitory ..with a communal bathroom.
There weren’t partitions of any kind and that was the only option we had to cleanse ourselves. Could you imagine the horror one could experience as someone who has never shared a shower with someone before? I mean I have been to such bathrooms back then but having to go through this daily is just radical.
Haha, the only redeeming factor is because we knock off daily on time, I’ve always rushed back to the dormitory to be the first one in the bathroom and have my own privacy since the other staffs usually reach the dormitory 2-3 hours later due to overtime work.
Also, the toilet is not in the rooms as well. Having to walk 30m in the middle of the night just to relieve myself is just tiring lol. On a hindsight, at least we got a room for ourselves.
Food there, well, did not suit my palate. As someone who loves extremely spicy food, Japan has nothing to offer in that aspect. We had a chef in our dormitory who prepares our food in the morning as well as in the evening. The meals primarily consisted one soup and three dishes (one main, two side dishes) or a salad.
It did suit my palate for a week, period. The food there was well balanced but could be really bland at times. As someone who likes my food full of spices and flavour so it did not bode well with my palate, therefore, eating out is my only joy at least there is more selection for me.
Transportation wise, well, since we lived in a rural place in the mountain, we have to take a bus which comes in the interval of 20 minutes or longer depending on the time, therefore, going anywhere is rather problematic because if you were to miss the bus, you’ll have to wait for the next 20 minutes just for the bus to arrive. I have to say that the buses, trains is always on schedule so we could plan ahead on time!
I also took several photos during my time there and they’re in my Facebook album!