23 Sep My Remote Tokyo Internship While Studying at Durham University
Hi! This is Adele Egeland, I come from the UK and I recently joined the Absolute Internship Remote Program, interning from home for a Japanese-based company, and this is why I decided to intern remotely through the Absolute Internship Program.
Silver Linings in the COVID Storm Cloud
In at least one point in everyone’s life we contemplate how amazing it would be to not leave our houses for a month. Catch up on programmes we had missed and rid ourselves of our daily stresses. Yet, I don’t think anyone expected for it to become a reality, nor just how stressful stopping actually is.
Personally, this year was focussed on studying, completing the second year of my BA in Japanese Studies at Durham University, planning study programmes during summer and preparing for exchange with Tokyo. I put my entire focus towards exams, but come June, nothing. It’s oddly harrowing looking out into your future and suddenly being unable to see anything.
In a last-ditch attempt to make something of my year, I began researching ways to work with Japan and immediately came across Absolute Internship. Wholeheartedly expecting to not receive a response, I applied for a Japanese-centric remote internship with scholarship. Within two weeks I received an email congratulatory email. My year now had a little glimmer of light.
My internship was six weeks of working business development with a Japanese cloud-based collaboration platform, Kenja; which is topically relevant in this new age of distanced work and learning. I was given the opportunity to work on a number of interesting projects, learning about the industry, career paths and new working cultures. Over this time I was also able to truly discover the remote nature of the internship as lockdown rules relaxed, exploring my hometown like that of one foreign to me – the ultimate working staycation.
Why Absolute Internship?
A unique factor of the Absolute Internship is the promotion of continuous learning through The Absolute Academy.
A series of online courses covering a wide variety of topics, as well as career talks from leading industry professionals. One speaker who had the most impact was Susan Colantuono; the founder and CEO of Leading Women.
Firstly, she places prominence on both following opportunities and your heart. More often than not modern career paths appear to be based on circumstance, or income. However, on average we spend 45 years in the workplace – that is too large a proportion of our lives to not love our job. It is not necessary to cling to the career path we chose at age 16 with little life experience, there is always time to change direction.
Secondly, not think just about how you can impact the world, but how you can sustain this impact after you are gone. A lot of the time we think on a relatively small scale – how our actions can have a positive impact on those we meet in our lives. But we should think bigger and extrapolate this positive impact for future generations.
3 Key Takeaways From My Remote Internship
Routine does not equal efficiency
Entering into the internship I had a routine which I intended to stick to, believing this was the key to a successful experience. However I quickly realised remote work would not fit into a neat schedule. Alternatively flexible planning proved most effective in highlighting daily goals and having the ability to adapt to new priorities.
Perfection is improbable
A side effect of academia is the cultivation of the belief that you only get one chance to reach perfection. Final exams and essays by and large deciding your future. Yet in the workplace this is not necessarily true. Timelines have priority, and for those projects which need perfection, often drafts and multiple checks will be involved.
Transferable skills are key
There is absolutely no way that you can be prepared for everything that a company may throw at you, especially as an intern. I’ve found that drawing links, no matter how lucrative, between past experiences and the task at hand helped massively in completing tasks to the best of my ability.
The truth is, a certain amount of proactivity is needed to find a silver lining. Applying for an Absolute internship led me to my silver lining of Kenja in the depths of Covid-19.
I encourage you to actively search for silver linings wherever possible as this has not only been the most worthwhile thing I could have done with my summer, but also the most rewarding.