This post has been requested by a few of you. As you might know, I have been interning in Japan for the past few months. My internship being over now, I thought I could give you some tips about how to make the most out of your work experience in a foreign country. Let me first tell you about my experience. I was doing a master degree's in international management and marketing. This internship in Japan wasn't my first one, since I did one in Ireland for my bachelor degree.
Why Japan ? - I have visited Japan a lot, I have been there five times before my internship this year and I really wanted to experiment life and work there on a longer period of time. Let me precise that I don't speak japanese, at least not enough to communicate at work, but I can speak fluent english and spanish, and I am a native french speaker.
How did I got my internship - Working so damn hard. My university gives us absolutely NO connections with any companies. We have to do the all researches procedures by ourselves, sending resumes and cover letter to companies that we find on the internet for exemple (Linkedin quickly became my best friend believe me). We are free to chose where, and what kind of internship we want to do. I started looking for an internship in November, and found it in February. It is a very long process. I used internet only to find companies working in marketing fields that could have projects I would be interested in. I sent over 50 resumes and personalized cover letters and get almost no replies, mostly because I do not speak japanese at a business level. And here comes my first tip, don't give up. No matter how many "no" or the lack of replies, I kept on looking for new companies. Let me tell you that hard work pays off, since I ended up finding after months of researches a french entrepreneur on Linkedin, that helped me to get connections in Japan. I had a first interview with him and then he introduced me to my boss. After a new interview, she selected me as one of her intern.
What was I doing ? - My main task was to work on the introduction of an european luxury brand in Japan. My company is very small, so I was working by myself on that all process during 6 months. Note also that my company is NOT a japanese company, that's why I could work using english only. It would be much harder to find an internship in a japanese company if you don't speak enough japanese.
What did that internship brought me ? - Well a job offer, and a big professional network. The job offer is not a 100% valid yet but my boss officially asked me to work for her. Being in a small company though there are some facts that are making the whole hiring process very slow, but I will give you an update about it soon I hope.
Now here are a few tips I would like to share with you. This is all out of my personal experience, feel free to comment and share your thoughts in the comments and let us know if you had a good or bad experience doing an internship in a foreign country.