Time flies by really fast. Before I started noticing how time was flying, this internship has already coming to an end.
Looking back at the beginning of this trip, I realized how much I have changed even in just two months. I was stretched and beaten, but also motivated and inspired. A nineteen-year-old girl going to a foreign country for an internship with no knowledge of the country itself or speaking its language or having any professional working experience, it was definitely the bravest decision I’ve ever made in my life so far. Coming in, there were a lot of uncertainties and doubts but now coming out, there are a lot of motivations to dream bigger.
Through this experience, my honest advice to those who are planning on doing an international internship or even to myself is to take every opportunity presented to you and if there is none, just seek out and they will come to you. I wish I knew that there would be people willing to help me if I just ask and amazing opportunities waiting ahead of me, so there would not be so much doubts and fears at the beginning of this trip.
Whether it was working on cool projects or learning from the professionals or teaching English to my Japanese coworkers or learning Japanese from them or going out to try new food and experience the culture with them, this internship has completely blew me out of the water. It was more than I expected, and this is how I want to approach everything in my life from now on: do everything with an open heart and be willing to learn with a positive mindset.
A recent example of what I mentioned above: a coworker invited me to her home because her parents-in-law wanted to meet me. I was really nervous but after much deliberation, I decided to go and as part of the culture I brought a small gift. Thinking that it’ll be just a typical Asian dinner and then getting “interviewed” by the elders (prior experience growing up in an Asian household), I planned on making my excuse and leave early, but little did I know what was ahead of me. They picked me up from the train station (it’s not too common to drive in Japan) and her mother-in-law knew that I love Japanese dishes and only started cooking when I came to Japan, thus went out and bought two cooking books with English translation for me and even put sticky notes on recommended dishes. They spent three hours teaching me how to cook eight traditional Japanese dishes (that would be easy for me to make when I come back to the US) and even made Japanese sweets for dessert. We had a big dinner. I even got these global connections for my professional career after learning that her father-in-law’s company headquarters in Ohio and her husband works for Cisco. This is just one of many examples of how this trip never ceases to amaze me.
I’m always afraid of going out of my comfort zone, but through this eye-opening trip it definitely opened a lot of doors for me in terms of my future school, career, and life plans. I loved working and living with an array of diverse people and learning from them, and thus I’m beginning to see where my passion lies and this is leading me towards a more global and international path.
Even though this trip is coming to an end, this will not be the end of it because I will take what I have gained from this with me in my next chapter of life.
.. and I’m really excited for the new journey ahead.