Student Blog

Bag That Internship (Part2): Exploring Independently-Arranged Internships!

6min read

Internships are an excellent way for students to gain practical experience, expand their network, and enhance their resumes. As APU students, there are various internship options we can apply for to prepare ourselves for the workforce. In this article, which is based on the experience of a senior student, we will discuss the different opportunities that students can arrange on their own through independently-arranged type internships, available for both international and domestic students.

For part 1, which introduced contract-type internships, can be found here.

In this article, Anar Amarjargal (APS, 4th year, Mongolia) will share her experiences with several types of internships. Currently her in seventh semester, not only is Anar the President of the Mongolia x APU Student Association, but she is also a winner of the Spring 2022 ANDO Momofuku Award.

1. Ritsumeikan APU-Organized Internships

One way to gain work experience right on campus is through an internship with the Office of International Admissions, which provides an opportunity for students to work along with the university's international admissions efforts. The role involves assisting with recruitment events and providing consultation services to prospective students. This internship provides a unique opportunity for students to enhance their communication skills, gain experience in student recruitment, host webinars, and propose business and marketing research to identify potential students and organizations that are a good fit.

Anar: If you want to become an intern with the Office of International Admissions, it's important to have a strong reason for why you chose APU for your undergraduate studies. The primary role of an intern is to promote APU, making this factor the most important. Being confident in the skills you can offer as an intern—both soft and hard skills—will help you stand out. Moreover, knowing what you wish to gain and how you plan to utilize your newfound competence will support your application. When it comes to the interview, I advise you to research potential questions, prepare your answers, and speak clearly and confidently.

The Office of International Admissions intern team, with supervisors

2. Internships on Campusmate Web

Campusmate's "Internship Information" section lists opportunities for students who wish to gain experience in various fields in Japan and abroad. Throughout the year, multiple corporations, organizations, and businesses connect with APU and provide recruitment information which is posted on Campusmate. While these are not typically contract-type internships (as introduced in part 1 of this series), many of these employers have good relationships with our university and past students.

3. Internships in Japan

Internships in Japan provide students with an opportunity to gain work experience in a Japanese organization and are highly valuable for students thinking of looking for work in Japan in the future. These internships can range from small businesses to multinational corporations, offering students a chance to learn about Japanese work culture and practices. They can also provide students with the opportunity to improve their language skills and gain exposure to new cultures. In addition to checking the company's website and the LinkedIn profiles of any alumni, be sure to explore Career Office recommendations on the "Useful Internship Websites" page. This page is divided into sections such as Japanese Internship Information, Japanese Internship Information for International Students, and Overseas Internship Information. One notable platform is Highered, a special Global Career Platform that not only offers global opportunities but also provides access to a self-assessment tool that gauges the level of key competencies desired by most global companies.

Useful Internship Websites

Anar:Searching for local internships in Japan can be a challenging process, especially if you don't have sufficient Japanese proficiency. However, I've found that start-ups and non-profit organizations are always on the lookout for interns. Therefore, I recommend searching for multiple places that you believe can support your future career goals and applying to all of them. One thing I like to do is send my CV and an email explaining why they would benefit from having me as an intern, even if they are not currently recruiting! I continue to send applications until I secure an interview!

4. Remote Internships

Remote internships allow students to work with organizations from around the world without the limitations of distance. These internships offer flexibility, allowing students to work around their schedules, and can be completed from anywhere with an internet connection. Remote internships provide students the opportunity to work with international organizations, improve their communication skills, and gain experience working in a virtual environment. As mentioned earlier, the "Useful Internship Websites" page provides numerous virtual internship opportunities, primarily outside of Japan.

Anar:Remote internships offer even more opportunities because you can apply worldwide! You can gain international experience without needing a visa; however, this also makes it more competitive. Therefore, you need to find your unique selling point. How can you make your application stand out? What can you offer to the organization that others cannot? Learn how to sell yourself effectively. It's similar to university applications; they may ask for a letter of recommendation from your supervisor or professor, so be prepared with one! Make sure you conduct sufficient research on the organization, and double-check your resume or CV.

What are the challenges or hardships unique to international students when searching for and doing internships in Japan?

Anar: I believe international students face several challenges when searching for internships. The number one challenge I often see is a lack of confidence. Students sometimes refrain from applying because they fear rejection because of language barriers and insufficient proficiency in Japanese. However, I believe that everything is worth it if you want it enough. Not being willing to take chances also adds to the hardships. If you aspire to have a career in Japan, it is crucial to think outside the bubble that Japanese society tends to create. Although it may seem counterintuitive, don't try to fit in too much. This correlates with having confidence in yourself and your skillsets. I am confident that wherever you apply, any organization would be fortunate to have someone with critical and creative thinking skills.

Anar featured alongside other members on the official social media of the sustainable living app Mamoru.

In conclusion, as students of APU we have access to a variety of internships that can provide practical experience, skills development, and exposure to different work environments. The types listed above are just a few of the diverse opportunities available to embark on your career path. Whether through on-campus organizations, businesses in Japan, or remote work, these internships can offer valuable experience and preparation for future careers. We highly encourage students to take advantage of these opportunities and engage with the university's Career Office for assistance in finding internships that align with their career goals.

VU Thanh Thao
VU Thanh Thao

After 2 years of studying online, I'm trying to figure out how to make the best of my undergraduate life at APU. My questions might be your questions, but my answers are your answers for sure! Live, laugh, last-minute-draft-is-the-best-draft (It's not).

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