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Japan bound: UC’s first global internship course

19 February 2024

Seven UC students are in northern Japan on a new international internship course - a four-week enriching work and cultural experience. 


Photo caption: PACE350 students in Sendai, Japan prior to the commencement of their international internship.

Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | University of Canterbury (UC) offers a range of Ako ā-Mahi | Work-Integrated Learning activities to connect what students are learning with the real world. Within this, the Professional and Community Engagement (PACE) programme allows students to earn academic credits while gaining valuable hands-on experience.

Georgia Forrester and Michael Hurst-Long, two of seven students who opted for the new PACE international internship, are immersed in Japanese culture while being hosted at Sendai University. They’re interning for a range of Japanese businesses across different industries.

“When I heard about this course, I immediately thought this is something I would be interested in. It’s such a unique and exciting opportunity to put what we learn in the classroom into practice in a totally different work environment,” says Georgia, who is studying Spanish and Computer Science and is focusing on a career in International Affairs.

The main goals of the trip, she says, are understanding how business, culture, and communication differs in Japan as well as making new connections to enhance her future career options. How it will look on her CV is also a huge drawcard.

“Following this, future employers will see that I have skills and knowledge that others might not. Not many new graduates will have worked internationally. I’ll show that I’m capable of learning, adapting, and improvising in different situations.”

For Michael, who is studying a Bachelor of Arts in Japanese with a minor in International Business, being able to experience what it is like to work in Japan is key.

“The second I saw a poster with Japan on it, I jumped at the chance. I want to work in Japan after I graduate, so this is a great introduction into Japanese business culture and an opportunity to make new connections.”

Before leaving for Japan, Michael knew his understanding of the language would bring forward heightened expectations.

“I know the moment I speak Japanese, my colleagues in Japan will prefer it over English and I’ll need to keep it up. The other students will also be relying on me a bit. It’s daunting but exciting,” he says.

The PACE programme embodies an unwavering commitment to equitable access, ensuring all students, like Georgia and Michael, can immerse themselves in authentic work environments such as the international internship at Sendai University, fostering invaluable real-world experiences across diverse cultures and industries.

Learn more about UC’s PACE internship programme, including the new international internship course, here.

SDG 4 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 - Quality Education.

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