1. Please tell us about your yourself, who are you and what's your interest in Japan.

    My name is Amos Panecatl, I am 30 years old and I am a student at the University of Phoenix, Arizona, about to be graduating. I am originally from Mexico and used to be a cook. I already spent 4 years as an English teacher in Japan. Because my wife is Japanese, I have a spouse visa and I'm therefore eligible to work here. I was a vice president at the Association of Mexicans in Japan for three years as well.

  2. How did you plan for your time in Japan? How did Internship Japan help you?

    At first I had no Japanese skills at all, but I studied hard in order to get to a decent level. I also did the TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) teaching certification before looking for work in Japan. Because of my spouse visa, it wasn't that difficult to come to Japan with that. I struggled hard to find jobs after my arrival but eventually found work at a small English school called Minimax International School.

    But even with that work and income, I wanted to get some real work experience in my field. I was always interested in people's thinking and since I'm studying international marketing, I really wanted to see it work in a real business, preferably in Japan. So I did some online research, read about how to do networking in Japan and eventually joined the Internship Japan LinkedIn group. There were already some discussions and introductions there to get an idea. In the end, Verena Hopp and I connected directly and she introduced me to Tushar Khandelval of Voyagin
    . I sent in my resume and they invited me to an interview.

  3. Tell us about the internship please. How does your daily routine look like for example?

    I did an unpaid internship for
    3 months at Voyagin ( I spent around 3 hours every day for around 2-3 days in a week at their office. At first it was a bit strange, coming from a restaurant environment and the service industry. From my experience direct questions are being asked directly, but in an office it's mostly different. You have to wait until the other isn't busy or send them emails or chat messages and wait for their reply.  Tuhshar personally took care of me most of the time and supported me greatly. He told me about the company's work and projects on a daily basis and took me to meetings. Sometimes we went to the local coffee shop and even had our meetings and talks there. Everyone else was also super nice and friendly.

    My daily routine mostly consisted of checking blogs and forums in order to find more customers in addition to the meetings I joined. I also wrote some articles and reviews. In general they treated me more like an apprentice than an intern, I really liked that. And there was no coffee making :)

    Even though I mainly used English during work, there was plenty of opportunities to listen to them speaking Japanese to each other. I could almost understand everything but replying and participating in a Japanese discussion was a bit too hard back then.

    Any problems you encountered?

    The only problems I encountered were the fact that I had no office or work experience so far, so everything was quite new to me. Seeing everyone so busy was sometimes difficult as well, because I had to wait and my time was limited every week. That was actually the main problem; the time. I had to quit after 3 months because I simply had no time for my "real" work and university studies and the internship. It was too exhausting. I did leave in good standing though and even got offered a possible job for marketing later on.

  4. Any message for young people thinking about coming to Japan?

    Yes, s
    tudy Japanese!! You will need the language skills in Japan. Study the culture a little, read some books for example.

    Be prepared for the culture shock, your home country is definitely different from Japan. Even the smallest things can be different and that can seriously be confusing and even irritating in the beginning.

    Have a plan when you come here or at least make a plan when you are here! Not having a plan is not a good idea, things don't magically happen to you in Japan (most of the times), you need to be prepared.

    Decide quickly if you want to stay or not. You might lose money (i.e. pension) or other important things if you decide to go back after a short amount of time (like 6 months). So if you decide to stay in Japan for a while, do your best to make it to the end.

  5. Do you want to stay in Japan? Interested in a full-time job here apart from teaching English?

    Yes, I'd like to stay here at least 5 more years and work in marketing. In the long run I want to run my own business but I haven't decided on what to do exactly. But I will have a plan very soon ;)

  6. How can we as Internship Japan do better?

    I think you are already doing great, the connections to the right people you offer and support is definitely a useful thing. Supporting people new to Japan (language and culture) with advice is really good. I would like to see official Internship Japan events for people in Japan soon, connecting companies and internship-seekers alike, sharing experiences, creating new opportunities for all of us.

  7. Anything else you'd like to share?

    Read the book Bushido: Soul of Japan. It explains a lot about where Japanese culture and habits come from originally. You might understand more why Japanese people behave in a certain way after reading that book. It helped me a lot in understanding certain things in Japan.

(Amos did his internship at Voyagin)

Thank you very much. We very much hope to hear from you in future. :-)

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