Dear Future Intern:

The time has come, and you have found yourself reading this blog post, perhaps digging through everyone else’s as well. If you have your interview soon, I wish you good luck! And if you have been chosen as one of the lucky ones, congratulations! You have such growth in store.

The view from my place on my last evening in Japan (possibly soon to be your view too!)

You may leave in a week, or a month, or like me, you leave four months after the rest of the crew.

I am here to tell you the good and the bad, the exhilarating and the anxiety-inducing, and provide some bits of advice on what you might have in store.

Go Further

Push yourself to be great, to get uncomfortable, and do more with less. Go further than the expectations and give 110%. Be the best that you can be and give your coworkers and organization the best version of yourself.

This is an opportunity for you to thrive and shine, not simply to wake up and trudge to your 9-5 every day. Some days you might not feel like it, but I assure you, it’s true.

Give 110% and you might just get to dress up like a Yokohama Fire Bureau firefighter!

And also, don’t forget to go further in taking care of yourself. A CAPI Internship can be a lonely time, in a new place on the other side of the world, so you need to pay attention to your self care. Find something that makes you happy and do it each day.

My ‘something’ was actually two: film photography and a good skincare routine.

No Excuses

You might make up excuses to not do the things you really want to do: I’ve had a long day at work, or nobody will want to get food with me this late, or maybe I might not have a good time doing that alone.

But excuses are just that: excuses. You have four short months; there is no time for them! Do the things you want to do, even if you make up an excuse not to.

Of course, you need to rest your feet and have a good night’s sleep, but keep in mind this may be your one chance to be at home where you are right now, so make the most of it.

Zero Comparisons

One of the most toxic things you can do to yourself is to constantly compare your experience to that of others. Each CAPI intern will have a unique experience while abroad, and it does you no favours to dwell on someone else’s experience of a place.

My friend Evan was travelling Asia and stopped by Japan. Seeing his photos, it was hard not to be jealous of him out there exploring, while I had to work every day, but when visited me I realized I’d only seen the exciting bits through his social media. It made me think about my own experience—I might be working, but I was getting to understand a place in a way so many visitors never do, and I’d rather build a special connection with this place through my internship.

Be grateful and excited for the experience you have; there is no one else in this world that will be lucky enough to have the life you hold while you complete this internship. Even though the two of us may have lived in the same place and worked for the same organization, my experience in Japan will be wildly different than yours, just as mine was wildly different to Erin’s and others who came before me.

I guarantee there will be someone scrolling through your Instagram or blog posts, wishing it was them, so just focus on yourself!

Be Kind to Yourself

Be kind to yourself, especially upon your return to Canada. You will likely experience greater culture shock up on coming home than going abroad. Home will feel a little less like home, and your heart may be torn.

Ease yourself back into whatever routine you may have left here in Canada—or make up a new one entirely. Whether you return to classes at UVic, or return a free human, ready to enter the workforce like me, take things slowly, so to not burn out.

Have person who can relate to you to talk to, and who you can rely on, throughout your whole internship process. Whether this be a fellow intern, someone at home, or someone in your new city; find them and open up about whatever you may be feeling. I find when you dump your problems and emotions out into the universe, you often feel much better about them.

Michelle, one of my many people while in Japan. I got to visit her in Seoul during my internship!

This goes for when you’re at home too! It’s just one of my general rules of life. Always have those one or two people on hand you can trust with things you’re going through. It helps if you have a bunch in different time zones, so there’s always someone to talk to.

Mitchi, another one of my people!

Always Remember…

Stay curious 🙂

And finally, always remember: you are not just there for yourself. You are there to serve, to provide an often much-needed helping hand. This time in your life is not just for you, it is for your organization as well.

Your internship is not simply a one-sided beneficial relationship. The work you do each day, while giving you knowledge and new skills, is primarily for your host, whether it be CITYNET Yokohama or another. Do not become a burden—however, I doubt any CAPI intern ever has or ever will.

Be mindful of your place in the world, and what you are here to do. Do not take more than you give, and always put your best foot forward.

Oh, and one last piece of advice: if you miss the last train home one Friday night, don’t worry—karaoke is open 24/7. 😉

So to you, dear Future Intern, I wish you good luck! May your CAPI internship be filled with personal growth, new friendships, and a new understanding of this wonderful, wonderful world.