1. First, who are you? What are your dreams and why the interest in Japan?

Hey! My name is Thibault Messemacre, I am born in France and plan to get my double degree in Design and Creative Project Management from Rennes School of Business and the European School of Fine Arts in Brittany in 2018.
Regarding my current internship in Japan I am currently an International Brand Development Manager at Castalia Co., Ltd. a Japanese company specialized in Education Technology and IT Consulting.
My dreams are pretty simple I guess. I just want to be accomplished and in an environment that inspires me every day. I think that’s the key if I want to be happy and focused.

2. What made you decide you wanted to do an internship in Japan?

I came to Japan as part of my curriculum at Rennes Business School in joining Akita International University as a study abroad student in April 2016.
Japan has always had this kind of magic and mystery that I really wanted to experience. Surprisingly, I wasn’t really a huge fan of Japanese pop-culture. I was just curious about what was happening 10,000km from France I guess.
I quickly fell in love with this environment and its business culture is what made me really curious. I remember the first day I arrived in Tokyo I saw how Japan was different and directly pictured myself working here.

3. Tell us about the planning and process.

I was really interested in finding an internship abroad even before coming to Japan. Staying here for four months as an international student before starting my internship definitely helped me a lot. During this time, I managed to develop my network enough to get some interesting opportunities in Tokyo.
Actually, being to Akita International University was the greatest asset I could use since many Japanese companies are familiar with this institution and its graduates.
Furthermore, I think finding an internship is not that difficult if you’re really involved in the process and are making a good use of your time and energy. I applied to many open positions worldwide for companies I already admired and as long as you consider their expectations and what profile they need it’s relatively easy.
I managed to get some interviews with Google and Warner Bros. Entertainment in Paris but finally I preferred to stay in Japan and work for Castalia Co., Ltd. I thought it was just a one-time opportunity to work in Tokyo in such a flexible corporate environment.

4. What were the prerequisites for your internships? Any special conditions from your university? Personal?

Both personal and from my business school in France. As part of my curriculum at Rennes Business School I decided to carry out a placement year. In France, this is an option for business students who want to get some experience before the final year of their Master’s degree. So I basically had 1 year to fill with one or two long-time internships.
Though, having a long-time experience abroad within a multicultural context is mandatory to be graduated from Rennes School of Business. Staying in Japan was just the insurance of getting a really complete and interesting experience.
On a personal level, I really wanted to work in a field that inspires me and in a modern environment that can make me realize how important my job is for the society. I wanted something linked to an international context and with a unique corporate culture.

5. Tell us about the internship at Castalia. What did you do? How is your daily work? How is the work environment?

At Castalia, I focus in bringing our educational innovations to emerging markets such as Uganda or Kenya (and many others). We are mainly focused on mobile learning and distance learning for social and development purposes. For instance, think about a farmer in a remote area in Kenya that just want to learn more about agronomy and environmental studies, Castalia tries its best to bring this knowledge to him.
There’s a huge social aspect that makes my work meaningful. We work with institutions such as the United Nations, the Japanese External Trade Organization and many universities worldwide so it’s really motivating.
I also help on other projects linked to education in Japan. By 2020, programming education will be mandatory in Japan so we partner with code academies, programming associations and robot manufacturers to bring some innovation in the Japanese education system.
Also, my job is really wide, it includes marketing, sales, public relations, communication, web design, market research, translation, programming, video editing… I love it.
The work environment is way different than the usual Japanese corporate environment. It’s really flexible and the CEO imported some kind of Silicon Valley working style from its previous experiences in the US. Which makes such a unique work atmosphere where everyone is really autonomous and takes pride in being driven but where you can take a nap whenever you’re tired, Japanese way.

6. Did you have any chance to study Japanese while in Japan or before coming? Will you come again?

Unfortunately, I did not get any chance to study Japanese seriously until now. I was just too busy with my internship research and my business classes. I am learning on my own and it’s taking time but I like it. Also, all my colleagues are native Japanese speakers so I couldn’t dream of any better learning environment.
Japan will be my home for more than one year so I’m definitely not done with this beautiful island.

7. How is Japan? Any message for young people thinking about coming to Japan?

Japan is incredible. It’s full of many surprises and I never felt disappointed. Though it’s not easy to figure how things work here sometimes. Japanese people love processes and paperwork for example, but you get over it pretty fast.
I would recommend them to get as many information as they can before coming, make some research about Japanese culture so that they know how to fit in quickly.

8. How can we as Internship Japan do better?

I think you’re already doing pretty well! Looking forward to your networking events which I think can really help you to make a better job.

9. Any message to the people reading this?

Thanks for reading and I hope this will help you at least a tiny bit!

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