Internships have become an invaluable tool for young students and professionals to gain short-term work experience that can be easily applied to their future careers, as well for networking and making contacts which will help open many new doors in the future. From adjusting to the climate of their professional field, getting hands on practical experience, and meeting people who could change their careers and affect their entire lives, the benefits of an internship for students and recent graduates are innumerable. However, internships as a learning experience do not just have to be a one-way road where interns are the only party gaining experience; the right intern in the right kind of environment can not only absorb a wealth of information and experience from their surroundings, but also give back just as much to their company. As young up-and-coming members of their professional field, interns represent the future of business and helps business relate to a younger audience as well as understand how they will need to change for the future to adapt to modern business climates.

This effect is only heightened when the intern and their company come from different backgrounds and areas, but both wish to learn more about the other to expand their opportunities. For example, a finance firm in San Francisco taking on a creative design intern from Savanna would have the opportunity to not only gain some help around the office, but also explore how their business intersects with other fields, how they can implement tools from a more diverse set of professions going forward, as well as how youth from the other side of the country perceive their business. Naturally, the intern likewise gets the chance to build connections and to transfer their skills from theory to practice in a real-world environment. In an ideal environment, the more one part has to offer the other, they should also be ready to learn just as much to help better prepare themselves for the future, and should be willing to accept it as a learning experience.

For students and graduates who find internships at smaller companies which have been developed in a completely different business climate, they should realize how their time spent there is affect the business just as much as the business affects them. Interns have just as much to offer their companies as their companies as the other way around, and to change the world of internships going forward both parties must recognize this and take advantage of it to drive the business world further into the future. For interns coming to Japan, they must consider exactly what they have to offer, and use that to both their own advantage and the advantage of their companies. For example, what do they do differently as Americans? What different practices can they introduce as Liberal Arts majors? How can they breathe fresh life into businesses as a young professional? Self-awareness and presentation key.

When we here at the Sakae Japan Internship Program began thinking how we could help open Japanese businesses to the rest of the world, we immediately thought of this “twofold” internship effect. For what better way is there to increase globalization in Japan than to bring in young students and professionals from around the globe to Japan to share their experience and background firsthand? But in order to make sure that such an experience is possible, we must carefully consider how an individual intern and a company will interact with one another on a personal level to see how well they can teach one another. But if they are able to, then they can both be sure that through the experience they will both have changed for the better.