What is the difference between internship abroad and internship at home country?

[:ja]岩崎[:][:en]Yoshie[:] [:ja]佳恵[:][:en]Iwasaki[:]

by Yoshie Iwasaki

Worked as an intern in Cambodia for a year

Hi, I’m Yoshie experienced internship in my home country and abroad when I was a university student.

In year 3, I did an internship at Japanese an environment NGO in Japan after then I worked as an intern for an international NGO doing their activity in Cambodia and India for a year at both of Japan and Cambodia.

I am the person who experienced internships in both Japan and abroad, so I will introduce the good and bad points of each in this article.

Characteristics, good and bad points of domestic internship


Internship in Japan, my home country
As I mentioned at the beginning, I did an internship at NGO in Japan, which is environmental preservation in Bangladesh and Indonesia, for a half year from the summer of my third year.

In this NGO, with the theme of “proper technology”, the mission is to make it possible that local people become to be able to conduct environmental preservation rooted in the community and environmental conservation development by themselves. I have not actually been involved in activities at the site, but I did a lot of efforts to support that activity in Japan.

Also, after that, at another NGO has a project site in Cambodia, although it was a short period of 3 months, I worked as an intern as well.
What kind of work I did, for example, to make PR tools for people who support the NGO, support for event management, PR on a website, sell handicrafts produced by Cambodian staff, EC site management etc. I did not have a fixed work, but I did everything I was asked by my boss.

To be honest, at the beginning, I thought “I came not to do this chore-like work” many times, but on the other hand, “If I can not do such a job, I can not get another job” and I learned through various tasks that “how to speedily accomplish things at 120% quality” is important.

Goodness of working hard with associates
What I learned through the internship in Japan, “System” and “Environment” of internship didn’t give me “Self-growth” and “Trigger of change” automatically. Not like a company, there was not a solid educational system for internship students. That is why your attitude of looking for a job by yourself and having an awareness of the issues is always in question.

I think that it was good to do the internship in Japan that I was able to learn the basic “attitude at work” as described above, touched “Love of supporter” more than anything. I felt what kind of feeling NGO supporters have while they support the NGO, I became to think “I have to cheer myself because someone is cheering” and I could strongly inspire myself “to tell their warm voices to the local people”.

On the other hand, it is also a weak point of internship in the home country that it is hard to see what kind of activity is being deployed locally and who is being Happy by my own efforts.
If you have been in the home country for a long time, it may be difficult for you to not lose sight of what purpose this activity is doing.

Characteristics, good and bad points of internship abroad


In internship abroad, you can feel the value of activities with your skin
In internship abroad, I could witness the purpose and for whom the organizations existing.
I could strongly realize that “what I did in Japan and the activities of the people who support the NGO is useful like this here!”

In addition to that, you can get lots of stimulation, learning and impression by going abroad.
At the beginning I also thought “what I can do for Cambodian people”, but as a result, I was helped a lot by Cambodian people, I got a lot of love, I became to love Cambodia.

I still often chat with Cambodian friends and they get in touch with me, “Yoshie, when do you come back to Cambodia?” Collaborating with people with different languages and cultures in different countries is a very hard thing, but if you want to work with them more and more happily, make friends with more communication, and take actions aggressively, you can taste the moment that “hearts meet each other” even you only know few local language words with body languages.

I think you can’t experience such things in the internship at your home country and traveling abroad.

You should protect yourself
In internship abroad, in terms of security and sanitation, you should be more careful than your home country. In developing countries, you are seen in a rich man.

It is also a matter of my crisis management, but my valuable things were stolen and something was taken from my room. In this regard, I think you should be more sensitive regardless of Cambodia or other countries. You must protect yourself.

Also, sanitation is similar. I liked the food at the local market, so I was often eating the same as local people. I thought that “my stomach is strong!”, but one day I got a sick “ameba dysentery” and I was hospitalized.

Like entering the village follow the village, I think that trying to communicate with local people, trying local atmosphere, taste and landscape even you face various troubles are required to adopt local cultures.

Recommendation of an internship abroad

I experienced both of a domestic internship and an internship abroad, I feel that you should see different worlds a lot among youth. In that sense, the experience of building relationships with people with different backgrounds at an internship abroad will surely be proven.

You can feel that you become

You can feel that you are steadily rushing, the experience that you try to achieve goals with local people not traveling abroad or volunteer will become your confident and it cheers you when you lost your way.

It is important to stop once and think deeply about “Is it really necessary to go abroad?” Just by going abroad, it will not bring your growth. But, if there is a strong will, if the reason of going abroad is clear in yourself, that is your judgment, it is your life once without anyone else, so I think that you just make a choice makes you excited.

It is easy to walk on a fixed rail, and you do not need your courage. It is hard to not follow the fixed rail and create your own path for the future while seeking. You need a gut.
However, it would be great if you could positively think about choosing an internshi pabroad as well as a domestic internship.

(Editor:Misaki Tachibana

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