Couldn’t find what I want to do, even taking a gap year and joining internship abroad

[:ja]山崎[:][:en]Tatsuo[:] [:ja]達夫[:][:en]Yamazaki[:]

by Tatsuo Yamazaki

It became easy to take a gap year recently, and the number of those who taking a gap year and joining internship abroad is increasing to gain advantages for their job hunting.
And I listened frequently they could find out what they want to do after graduation through internship abroad but is that really true?

I interviewed Kenshi Suzuki and he told me that he couldn’t find out what he want to do, even after internship in Singapore.

Those who want to find out what want to do in the future through internship abroad, please check his voice based on the real experience of internship abroad.

At the end of the article, I list the objectives of this time, the amount cost of internship in Singapore, and the comprehensive evaluation of internship abroad by himself. Please refer to it as well.

Went abroad for the first time at internship abroad

First time abroad is for internship

Tatsuo: Please let us know what kind of internship abroad you did

Kenshi: After my 3rd year of university, I worked as intern at a company in Singapore from the spring to the autumn of 4th year. The company is running various projects like Futsal events for adults, holding Football events, helping companies’ CSR activity through football, selling products related to football and so on. And the main business is Football Academy, teaching football for children. There were only a few staffs, so I was involved in these all projects.

Thank you for your explain. I heard you were interested in football originally, but why did you want to join internship abroad?

I couldn’t concentrate job hunting, it was the major factor. In the 3rd year of university, when job hunting was started and my roommates started to think their own future seriously, I started my job hunting wanting to involve in sport and football business I was interested in for my own future as well. However, I couldn’t find a good company at all and I couldn’t concentrate job hunting. Then when I started looking for something alternative options, I found the offer of the internship in Singapore on an email newsletter which I registered by chance. At that time, I didn’t decide to apply the internship offer though, I couldn’t raise my motivation for job hunting for one month, then I stopped job hunting and began to find what I wanted to do with new and pure mind. I think it led to my decision doing an internship in Singapore.

Doing an internship in Singapore was the first time for me to live abroad but I had strong aspirations of working abroad because I had loved overseas football, and I had wanted to live abroad, work abroad always. I think this my wish let me meet the opportunity suited to my desire of involving in sport and football business by chance.

I think it’s interesting and unique that working abroad as an intern is the first time to experience living abroad. I think there was a big difficulty. Did you have any anxieties of doing an internship abroad?

Hmm, I didn’t have anxiety so much. Actually, I was not interested in traveling abroad and I wanted to live abroad. So I had an image I lived in abroad and when I imagined I could live abroad I felt bouncy and so excited. So I had a positive image like what kind of things would happen during the internship in Singapore rather than anxiety. Because the company would support me, I thought I could survive with just the environment I could engaged in football. I am a person who does not care about details so I didn’t consider about the risks. One more thing, I could hear about the details of the intern’s role, the situation of the company, and what I could do from the company running the email newsletter in advance. It might have been also a big factor. And my destination was Singapore so I felt easy. If the destination were a developing country like Cambodia or India, I might have felt anxiety lol.

I agree that doing an internship in a developing country like Cambodia and India, there might be anxiety about security and food but there might not be any anxiety about that in Singapore. On the other hand, I guess that it’s hard if they couldn’t speak English while working in Singapore. Did you have any problem of communication during internship in Singapore? I guess the preparation was hard.

Actually, I didn’t do anything for my language skills. Because since I thought of doing an intern, I had only one month to go to Singapore lol. That’s why I didn’t do almost anything for my English skills. Originally, I disliked English the most at school and I had never taken exams of TOEIC and TOEFL. So while my English skill was almost nothing, I went to Singapore. During my internship in Singapore, my mail role was teaching Football for children and I used English only when I talked with local staffs. So there were not so many opportunities to speak in English. I think in my internship I could create values without the English ability. Still it is better to be able to speak English, so I think that it would be better for those who are thinking about internship abroad now that they have studied English.

Three criteria in job hunting by continue to explore the way I want to do after internship abroad

You mean that it’s not necessarily that you use English in business during internship abroad. How did the internship in Singapore affect your job hunting?

Actually, even I experienced the internship in Singapore, I couldn’t find out the way I want to do. I didn’t set a goal for my internship. That’ why I might not have been able to find out the way I want to do. After the internship, I still didn’t know what I want to do. I thought I needed other experiences so I worked at an IT company as a part time staff to experience totally different positions and industries after returning to Japan. While I had tried and errored even after I finished my internship abroad, I understood that the company I worked in Singapore was good. I couldn’t understand only doing the internship there. But I think the internship experience made me be able to compare the company and other companies. Looking back on those days, when I started job hunting again I had my own criteria selecting companies so I didn’t apply for companies by guess but could focus on companies where “I want to involve in”. However, there was no company where met my criteria after all. Then I started to think about working in countries other than Japan. At that time, the company I worked as an intern asked me to join the company as a full time staff so I decided to work there.

You got your own criteria of job hunting by doing internship in Singapore and continuing to explore the way you want to do. Can you let us know your criteria?

The first one is about the job role. Whether I can engage in sport and football on the ground. I wanted to engage in those who like sport and football and is doing their best, not a job like a salesperson who sells sporting goods.

The second one is about culture where even newcomers can work freely. I sought companies had culture that I could propose my ideas and do various things. The company I worked as an intern had a very welcoming atmosphere as suggesting ideas and it was really comfortable and I enjoyed working.

The last one is that whether there is attractive colleagues who I want to work together. During the internship abroad, I realized that the connection with people made the business opportunity. Through this experience, I started to think people is an important factor.

Regarding the first one, why did you feel that the company you could involve directly in sport and football industry is good? Did anything happen during the internship?

In perspective of my career plan, I felt that starting work from the field level would be better.

I felt that starting work from the workplace level would be better. I think those who build their career from the field level can understand the pain of those working on the field level and think that the experience of working on the field level absolutely will help me in the future. People who know the field level are attentive to various things and are valuable. I want to experience it myself. I think that I can be involved with various people and it’s more fun than anything else.

Why did you want to build your career in such kind of way?

I don’t like being given an order without hearing my side. Since I played football at a high school and engaged in a university club, I have disliked that someone asked me “so just do it” slapdash without knowing my situation and I don’t want to work with people who don’t take care other person, I guess that is the reason.

I see. Through the internship abroad, you could figure out what kind of people you want to work with and what kind of culture you like. In your case, you joined the company you worked as an intern, does your internship experience give some advantages to your current work?

I joined the same company so it is advantages… or rather that I think I could create values faster than general newcomers. And I learned the connection with people was very important in business during the internship, so I have put importance in communication with people after I joined the company as a full-time staff. Because of my job, I have a lot of opportunity to talk with children I teach football, their parents, and expats so I took care about the communication with them and I can’t do roughly because I think the communication is important. I think I took care about such things when I restarted as a full-time staff.

Connection with people will produce business opportunities

Importance of relationship among people

I think it’s related to the last question, what kind of insights and learnings did you get through your internship?

What I realized strongly is that it is really important to stand by the other person. I began to take care not to say a wrong thing without knowing about the background. My boss and the president also take care bout it when they communicate with me and it’s also important to stand by children because I teach them as a coach. So I am taking care such things when I communicate with people.

And I learned that “The spirit of Everything will be okay” is important. Thinking details much is not creating anything. Of course thinking is very important but stop thinking and take an action is better rather than think too much and not take an action. I think the person who think too much and all talk without action, is not appreciated. Something happens after taking an action, I think just taking the next action is okay.

I think there are many people who think about internship abroad too much and it makes them need courage so much to take the first step. How did you take the first step for the internship abroad?

Before I joined the internship abroad, I had shared a house with my friends and my roommate let me take the first step. When I was still thinking whether I joined the internship, I told the friend “I want to join the internship abroad.” Then he told me “If you want to join, you can try it. Just contacting, there is no plus and minus!” I agreed that and contacted the company. It was the trigger that I joined the internship abroad. When I contacted the company, I knew the person who in charge lol, the person also remembered me. I felt it was interesting. I realized that just take a small step change the situation.

Really? What a coincidence! Lol. As I hear your story so far, I feel you put the importance on the relationship with people, what kind of experience did make you feel the importance?

I think the connection with people brings the business opportunity and lets me work easily. You know, it’s quite hard to do cold calls without any connection. But if I have a connection even in private, I think the difficulty goes down a little.

I experienced cold calls to restaurants during internship, it was really tough. I felt building a relationship from zero was really hard. But I work as a full-time staff now and join the community of Japanese restaurants in Singapore, thankfully I am getting to be widely known in the community and it’s easier than before to make cold calls to restaurants. Some of them became our sponsors actually so I knew as much about the importance of the connection with people.

Improve myself, Move to the higher step

So the connection with people produces the business opportunity and your own achievement, right? Finally, you joined the company you worked as an intern after the internship abroad, did you approach your dream which you are drawing through the internship?

Kenshi's Career Road Map
(In Japanese) Kenshi’s career plan since he started the internship in Singapore, his dream is to work at the football business in Europe

Actually, I doubt that whether I can approach the goal of working at the European football business. I didn’t move forward in the horizontal axis on the road map (Note: The distance between his current position and his goal). I think I gained a lot of experiences in the vertical axis. I could see various things and meet various people. In order to work at the European sport industry, I think the next step is very important. I think that now is the era of preparatory training and the next step is the start point to approach the European sport industry.

It will be five years since I worked at this company next spring. So I think this year is the year to make things happen. I should take an action to approach my dream. I did my best to create values for the company so far though I will improve myself this year. I think I have to take the critical action for the dream. I think I should work hard to move forward in the horizontal axis this year.


What did you feel about Kenshi’s internship experience? Kenshi looked back that he had done job hunting vaguely before the internship though he could figure out the criteria for job hunting through the internship in Singapore.
Originally he didn’t decide to join the internship but he could embark on the internship by his friend’s advice. I get a big inspiration that because of the small step, he could create his own path much.

Those who are thinking about working abroad. Why don’t you embark on that like Kenshi?

Kenshi’s Self grading of the internship abroad

Comprehensive evaluation 100 points
– I could make my dream to involve in sport business abroad
– I think if I hadn’t do the internship abroad, I would not be who I am now. And I have been able to experience new things and meet various people.
The destination, term, and purpose of internship abroad Took a gap year in the fourth year of university and did internship at a Japanese company in Singapore
When I wanted to work involved in football abroad, I found the offer of the internship abroad by chance
Cost Amount cost was about 4,000 USD
– Travel cost 700 USD
– Living expenses 700 USD
– Transportation fee 700 USD
– Cost of taking a gap year 2,000 USD
※ My parents covered a bit
Security and Life The company supported me so I didn’t have anxiety in working in Singapore
Language and Communication English was not necessary because I could achieve goals without English
Impact for job hunting Got three criteria for job hunting
I can engage in football on the field level
There is a culture that even newcomers can propose ideas
There is attractive people who I want to work with
Impact for current job 1. I could create values immediately because I joined the company I worked as an intern
2. I began to put importance on the communication more than before because I realized that the connection with people produced the business opportunity
Insights and Learnings 1. The connection with people produces the business opportunity and my achievement
2. Acting without thinking too much

CONPATH introduces experiences of internship abroad and study abroad for those who want to experience long-term experience abroad while in college but who are wondering what is suitable for them.
If you would like to read other experiences, please click the link below.

Which is better, internship abroad or study abroad? Advantages and disadvantages talked by five experienced people

And Kenshi wrote his internship experience in Singapore by himself before. It was written one year ago so you may be able to understand more about the advantages and disadvantages of internship abroad from the different perspective from this article.


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