Alice Odoux1. First, who are you? What are your dreams and why the interest in Japan?

My name is Alice Odoux. I am a French girl of 24 years. Since highschool I was curious about the culture and history of Japan. I read books, watched movies and became more and more interested about the country. Many of my choices after high school were about Japan. Which business school had an exchange program with Japan? Which afterschool classes should I take to have higher chances? The business school I chose had 3 open positions every year to go study at their partner school in Osaka. So I made sure to be a top student to be one of the first one to choose my destination. I didn’t want to leave any chance to doubt. Thanks to that, I spent one year in Osaka in 2010/2011 as an exchange student. Student’s life is very different from worker’s life, I was aware of that and that is why I decided to do my university’s mandatory 6 months internship in Japan as well.

2. Tell us about the planning and process.

Finding an internship in Japan is really difficult, especially if you don’t know the language. First I tried to find some international companies on the internet and sent them my CV but that didn’t really work. The second step was to contact a lot of people directly on LinkedIn. I connected with them and asked directly about internships in Japan. Networking is always useful, even if the timing was not good that time. I joined a couple of groups on LinkedIn and one of them was Internship Japan. On the wall, Verena started a really useful introduction page, where every member could quickly introduce themself and their purpose in the group. One of the person was Terrie Lloyd, who I saw on other Japan related groups too. He was welcoming any approach about internship. I connected to him on LinkedIn. After a few exchanges, I explained to him what I was looking for. That was the perfect timing since he was looking for new interns for an internship program for Japan Tourist (now Japan Travel) ( He sent me the description of the internship but it was a bit different from what I was looking for, more focused on traveling around Japan, writing articles and so on. So I explained to him I was more marketing and management-oriented. Thanks to my previous experiences, he proposed to me to be in charge of the program itself.

3. Tell us about the internship.

What did you do? I worked in Roppongi, Tokyo, most of the times in the office. I was in charge of the internship project in Japan, handling around 33 people between 20 and 30 years of age, with various nationalities and experience. I had to manage them; plan their routes, their tickets, follow-up on their assignments, sometimes talk to the families, manage reimbursements, schedules, check their articles. I met all of the interns and also went out to meet some partners, e.g. hotel owners and regional partners. The project went quite well so they decided to continue it the year after and I had to take care of the new advertisement, communication and part of the recruitment. Before I had to leave I had to train the people taking over my position too.

4. Did you have any chance to study Japanese while in Japan or before coming?

I was doing extra Japanese classes in my business school before coming here, not just to start with the language but also to make sure I was on top of the class for the exchange year. Then I studied Japanese when I was in Osaka. The working language during my internship was English though.

5. You’re back in Japan with a full-time job now. Congratulations! Tell me more about that please.

Having a six month working experience in Japan really helped my profile when I was applying for jobs in Japan after I graduated. It was a plus from the “normal” one year exchange student experience that many people have, so the employers were keener to understand my motivation. After being an exchange student basically everyone wants to go back to that place to continue this other life where you experienced a total new environment, new friends, good memories, crazy parties, etc. But it’s always different from real active life. So doing the six months internship showed my possible employers that I was aware of that and I was ready for a working life. This internship was a good transition from student to active life, not just professionally but also for me personally. Thanks to the internship, the “shock” to a start a new working life in Japan wasn’t so big. Most of all, it helps you to realize what responsibility really is.

6. How can we as Internship Japan do better? So give us your advice please.

Back then there were almost no internship offers in Japan, on LinkedIn or internet. I would have wished for more partners and possible internships. It would also be good for you to continue good relations and keep in touch with the people who approached you and maybe even got an internship through you. Same for the companies. You can offer them to assist with future interns too. At that time, I was not trying to find the solution all done and ready for me. I know that never really works. I was looking for some orientation, who to talk to, since I had almost no network in Japan. The group was the orientation I was looking for!


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