Profile: Olivia Madume

Participant Profile

Olivia Madume

  • University of Sussex
  • Computing for Digital Media
  • N3-Level Japanese
  • Intern – Software Engineering

How did you become interested in Japan?

That’s kind of a long story because I was born in Liverpool but I moved to London when I was 16, and I didn’t know anybody in London because I moved on my own, and my parents were in Liverpool. So I wanted to make some friends. So I thought that I would go to a nearby Church, because church people are welcoming. So I went there and it turned out to be a Japanese Church, which at the time I didn’t know was rare, because apparently there’s not many Japanese Christians.

I went in there and then I found out that the English service was at an earlier time, so I planned to come back the next week for the English service. But as I was leaving, the Japanese one was starting, and they invited me to stay, and I didn’t want to say no because I felt bad, so then I went to both services every week for two years and then suddenly I became interested in Japanese while I was just sitting there.

I started to really understand what was happening in terms of the products, and in Japanese.

In terms of your internship, how has that gone for you?

I think it went well. At the start I was a little overwhelmed because I didn’t think too deeply enough about what I was getting into. I thought… “Okay, I don’t know C [programming language], but they told me it’s okay if you don’t know C, so that must mean it’s pretty similar.” But it’s kind of a different concept to object-oriented programming languages, which is what I usually use. So that was something to learn afresh.

However, …I would say that coming from knowing no C at all (like I literally have never looked at C before, in my degree), I feel like I’ve got to the point where I really get it, and that was because (despite a language barrier) there were some people who are really good teachers there.

Do you use a lot of Japanese on the job?

Well, there’s that. Just small, small practice doing the translate, but actually when we got to the product line section of their training, which is when you learn about some of their products, well, pretty much all the main products, the whole thing’s in Japanese, the manuals are in Japanese, the videos are in Japanese, with Japanese subtitles… And so that actually is where I think I learned most of the specific words that they use, like, what’s masked encryption in Japanese, because it just kept coming up and that’s actually when I think I started to like, really understand what was happening in terms of the products, and in Japanese. Also for getting lunch with people, that’s when I also use Japanese, and in our reports that are due at the end of each day.

How have you been able to continue your hobbies in Japan?

One of my main hobbies is eating–that is a legitimate hobby–and finding new restaurants. So I did that here. I went to a lot of new places. Also one of my hobbies is exercising, which I kind of did. Oh, and nuigurumi (plush toy) collecting. Yeah, I’m like really into stuffed toys, I’m a bit of a child, so, you know, Japan has a lot of cute nuigurumi.

Is there anything in particular you're proud of from this experience?

I’m proud of not quitting. To be honest, on the first day I kind of got overwhelmed, so then I called my friend and I was like, “I don’t know if I can do it,” etc., and she’s like, “I know that you’re not about to call me on the first day and say you’re coming back!” I was like, “You know what, you’re right.” So then I stayed, and actually after just like two weeks it was better, and after like, one month, I was chilling. I’m still chilling.

So in terms of either us or your host company, in what ways have we supported you in your internship?

Well I emailed you a load when I started, and you responded like, on the dot. Thank you. So, I appreciate that, and also whenever I came here to talk to you about something. I feel like the support here is pretty neat, and with my host company, too. And you know how people can kind of be like, “I’m helping you,” but then they’re giving you evils, I never felt that with my supervisor, it always felt like he was happy to talk, and happy to find someone to fix my problem, or fix my problem. Even with the mail, if mail came and I couldn’t read it, I could ask, “What is this!?”

Just by the whole protocol of natural life, doing something repeatedly makes you makes you more comfortable at doing it for sure. So stick to it.

What do you envision as your career path?

I would hope that I’d found the exact sector of programming that I want to be in. I’m fresh out of uni, so I’m kind of just trying different sectors right now. I’m just kind of trying to apply the skills I know, which is very basic, and then get some more experience to make it actual working programming experience. And then, hopefully I’ll be secure in my skills in five years and secure in, or at least have a better idea of which actual sector is my forte, or is the one that actually I’m passionate about, and I’d hope to find a job in that division.

I think sometimes you don’t necessarily have to know what it is that you’re passionate about, because if you get to a point where you’ve acquired enough skills, then if you find just a passionate team, that team, sometimes because of their energy alone, that becomes the sector that you like, because their energy translates into you. So I just want to acquire a good skill set and get to a point where I find a good company, or a good team, or good environment. And then that will become somewhere I want to work.

Do you have any advice for future interns?

Don’t give up. Winners never quit, and quitters never win. And you’ll get more comfortable in time. Just by the whole protocol of natural life, doing something repeatedly makes you makes you more comfortable at doing it for sure. So stick to it. This internship was a valuable experience, and I really feel like I gained something I never knew before. I never knew C at all, or C++, and now I do. Before, I knew nothing about cybersecurity, now I do. I mean that’s kind of the goal, to gain some new knowledge.

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