(Picture on the way home after a day of work)
The day I have been waiting and preparing for the entire year is finally here! On the 4th of September, I officially started my 3 months internship programme in the field of marketing communications with an online tourist information and travel agency located in Roppongi, Tokyo.
I was extremely nervous the day before and many thoughts run through my mind as I was gearing up to start my internship. One of Zentern's staff gave me a call to make sure that I was fine and I also took the chance to ask some of my final questions about the internship.
To adequately prepare for my first day, I took a day or two to research on the company’s history, organizational hierarchy, analysing their marketing and webpage on my own initiative. Also, not forgetting preparing appropriate business outfits as the first impression often set the tone for the entire experience.
I somehow felt a little apprehensive towards my internship before it began as it is common to hear from my classmates that they did not receive significant assignments other than mundane administrative tasks while watching the real full time staff at work. I held the same concerns and worries however it turned out to be completely unfounded.
Stepping into the office, I was welcomed by the Chief Operating Officer (COO) personally and receive an orientation around the office and introduction to the staff from different departments. I was amazed at how everyone was really welcoming, friendly and working in a very happy and family-like environment. The hierarchy is also really flat as I observe how the full time staff simply walk across the departments to clarify and discuss issues or just to pass some snacks around to perk their fellow colleagues up. It is indeed a merry and motivating environment to work in.
I was also lucky to have entered this internship at the same time together with two other local Japanese students. We had one another to rely on and got along well quickly both inside and outside the job. The COO also brought us out to lunch and introduced us to tasty and affordable food around Roppongi! Representatives from the respective departments also joined the lunch and it was a good time of knowing everyone on a deeper level.
(Dining with colleagues at a restaurant in Roppongi)
Contrary to what I expected, I actually received more than one task at the same time for me to work on just within the first week. Whether the tasks were big or small, I came to realize that they helped me to increase my knowledge and understanding towards the corporate structure and direction which is fundamental and essential as a new member of a company. I was really glad that I could contribute to my company as an intern just in my first week of work.
Another good point was that the COO made sure that I had the chance to learn all that I possibly could by making the decision to rotate me around different department every 2 weeks or so. In my current department right now, the manager mentor ensures that I always had something to work on productively. He was always letting me know that I could simply notify him about any areas I am interested in and he would let me have a go at it. For example, even picking up and making calls in business Japanese on the job. To my surprise, there is an extremely high level of trust towards interns present in this company which really helps to enhance my learning experiences.
Coming to week 2 at this moment, I find myself eager to turn up for work everyday. I am currently working on a series of research right now and looking forward to bring fresh perspective and ideas to my company.
Looking back, choosing Zentern is also definitely one of the best decision I made to land myself an internship opportunity in Japan and I anticipate making these 3 months a positive experience with my internship company, Zentern and myself. I look forward to giving my best at all rendered tasks and learning as much on the job that would ultimately help in my transition to the full time workforce be in it Japan or back in my own country (Singapore) in the future.