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Internships in Japan

by Katrina Phelps

Mount Fuji.

Time spent on a new internship program in Japan is proving to be very worthwhile for UniSA students.

Already two students have completed a six-month credit-bearing internship at Japan Display Inc (JDI), a company that is a major supplier of business and employee services to leading Japanese companies, while another two students are currently in Japan. This opportunity is supported by FujiWork which is in partnership with JDI.

Jaimie Dolling and Stephanie Crook climbing Mount Fuji.Jaimie Dolling and Stephanie Crook climbing
Mount Fuji.

For Master of Human Factors and Safety Management Systems student Jaimie Dolling, the six months in Japan is an opportunity that she would highly recommend, as would her fellow intern Stephanie Crook.

“I loved having the opportunity to travel to another country and to be exposed to their culture, to live there and be completely immersed in it,” Jaimie said.

“I loved the work and being able to experience working in a foreign country and gain an understanding of how work is conducted in Japan.

There were also opportunities to work in areas that I had not worked in before which was very exciting, and has given me the chance to round out my skills.

“The work ethic and working culture in Japan is a lot stronger than I have experienced in Australia. People work five to seven days a week and it is normal to be working overtime and not to leave until your boss leaves.

“I would recommend that if anyone has the opportunity to go, they take it. It will give you a completely different perspective on the world, work, relationships and culture.”

Students Jack Baker (centre) and Ella Ward (right) on their first day at Japan Display Inc.Students Jack Baker (centre) and Ella Ward (right) on their first day at Japan Display Inc.

Ella Ward (pictured far right), a Bachelor of Management (Marketing) and Bachelor of International Relations student who is currently in Japan, agrees that grabbing hold of opportunities like this internship is highly recommended.

“If you study and have a desire to travel, the two can work together,” Ella said. “I’m not sure if students are fully aware just how supportive the University can be when it comes to study-related travel.

“A lot of people assume you can only do an exchange if you study another language but that’s not the case. There are all types of international programs available, not only for study but for internships such as this one and also for short-term programs for aid work, etc. There are so many programs on offer that people can look into – it’s really a great quality of UniSA.”

Stephanie Crook (third from left) and Jaimie Dolling (right) at a conference with JDI staff.Stephanie Crook (third from left) and Jaimie Dolling (right) at a conference with JDI staff.

Before starting the JDI internship, Ella had spent five months in Japan on an exchange program with funding from the University.

“The internship appealed to me because it meant I could extend my stay in Japan with hopes to see a different side of the country,” Ella said.

“I was also eager to get my foot in the door of a renowned international business and a high priority for me was continuing to improve my Japanese language skills.

“So far the internship has been really interesting. I think the internship is ideal for engineering students, or perhaps those studying inter-business management, finance or human resources and those with an interest in production. The internship is based at a manufacturing plant so for engineering students, it’s truly unsurpassable.”

Joining Ella in Japan is Jack Baker, a Bachelor of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering student who is basing his final year project on the work he is doing at JDI.

The JDI internship program is supported by funding from the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan which offers Australian undergraduates new opportunities for prestigious scholarships and grants for study and internships in the Indo-Pacific region.

The program was developed because of ITEE community engagement with the City of Salisbury which has a sister city agreement with Mobara City where JDI is based.

Manager of the UniSA program, Gail Jackman from the Division of Information Technology, Engineering and the Environment, said the internship projects are designed around the student’s academic discipline to ensure maximum outcomes from this international experience.

“The internships will be in divisions of the company and in the context of activities directly relevant to the students’ majors,” Jackman said.

“The student interns are exposed to state-of-the-art manufacturing and technology including robotics, innovation, world-class business practices and marketing techniques, taking into account sustainability and the environment, and working in good and safe conditions.

“The interns are spending spend 3.5 days per week in the JDI working environment. The other 3.5 days per week the students have activities organised for them to immerse themselves in wider Japanese life and deepen their understanding of Japanese language, culture and traditions.”

The program is ongoing and may expand to more students for each intake.