Computing Systems Technology
British Columbia Institute of Technology
Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International from June 2011 – May 2012
I was really excited when I found out BCIT joined the CJCP program this year. My co-op coordinator wasn’t even done giving the presentation by the time I had emailed him to express interest. From the first phone interview with CJCP, to the amazing training week I knew I had made the right choice. I had never fully experienced another culture before, so I was frightened of the language barrier and culture shock. But, I wouldn’t let that hold anybody back. I got to work with accredited academics from all over the world, while experiencing an international research facility.
My lab was extremely diverse in both where people came from, and what their background was. My lab was a robotics lab, but there were physicists, biologists, engineers of all sorts among other disciplines. There were lots of Japanese who work at ATR as well, but almost all of them speak fluent English, so it made the language barrier almost nonexistent at work. ATR goes out of its way to make foreign interns feel welcome. They even provide very cheap Japanese lessons, as well as a number of other sports and hobby clubs.
Work was awesome, but the best part of the program was definitely being in Japan outside of work. There is so much to see and do in Japan that even a year is nowhere enough time to experience it all. I got to see temples containing everything from giant Buddha’s, massive murals, flames that have been burning for hundreds of years, and so much more. In the older cities there are literally thousands of them scattered around. I spent time in giant world famous fish markets. I did a night climb of Mount Fuji, and watched the sunrise from the highest point in Japan. I enjoyed outdoor onsens(Japanese bathhouse) during winter. I saw festivals that included mountains being lit on fire, food, dancing, fireworks, and a load of other subjects.
The CJCP program was an invaluable life experience, and one of the most enjoyable years of my life.
Computer Science and Business Administration
Simon Fraser University
Fukui Byora Co. Ltd. from June 2011 – June 2012
A land where cherry blossoms gently descend like snow over sardine packed streets and fundamentally traditional temples are nestled next to ultramodern electrified high rises, the romanticized vision of Japan did not fail to impress. However for the one spectacular year I spent, to me, Japan became more than sumo, samurai and sushi. It became home.
With a year’s worth of my life packed into a couple suitcases, I began a new job and existence in Japan. It was challenging at first, mainly due to the language but being completely immersed in it both inside and outside work necessitated its prompt development. I had the opportunity to work on a wide variety of projects which gave me extremely valuable experience that is directly related to what I am studying. Being paid to learn things related to and earn credits towards my degree was the best part. My coworkers were all very kind and eager to show me new things both inside and outside the workplace; things like how to code faster, the sunrise from the summit of Mt Fuji and what real shabu shabu tastes like. It all made Japan a really comfortable place to live.
I kept busy travelling every free weekend. I got to see the Gion Matsuri in Kyoto, the Tokyo Motor Show, the Sapporo Snow Festival among a myriad of other places and things. I played soccer twice a week after work, went skiing every free moment I had in the winter, and volunteered at a not-for-profit helping with their English conversation classes. This all made making friends really easy. Everyday had something to look forward to.
I know that my experience programming everything from iPhone apps to warehouse management systems will be an asset in the future; I know that my travel experiences will transform into precious memories and I know that making myself a bento everyday for lunch saved me more than $500 over the year. The past year has been the most professionally and personally valuable year of my life thus far. I was young when I first arrived only 19 (not even the legal age in Japan) but I feel that in more ways than the single chronological year that sailed by, I grew.
École Polytechnique de Montréal
Sumitomo Chemical Co. Ltd. from July – December 2011
I attended the Canada-Japan Co-op Program shortly after the accession of my school to it, so it was something new for me as well as for the school supervising members. This new opportunity motivated me to participate, but I was also worried when I realize there was no former CJCP intern in my school to whom I could ask my questions. I still manage to easily obtain good answers to my questions from the CJCP team. The stress from the preparation and the perspective of changing my living habit to a completely new one has been greatly rewarded by memories, experience and knowledge from the internship.
The process control research conduct during this internship has allowed me to deepen a chemical engineering field that I was not really familiar with. I was supervised in those researches by a great, dynamic and helpful team which contributed a lot in making this experience unforgettable.
The biggest challenge I faced was language, since my mother tongue is French and although I’m comfortable in English it stays a second language. But I realize that with motivation, patience and a smile it is almost always possible to understand and to be understood.
On top of that, I had the chance during weekends and holidays to visit over 10 cities on 3 of the 4 Japanese main islands. I definitely recommend this program to anyone who wish to live something new, either in the way of thinking, eating, sleeping, working, interacting and much more.
The University of Alberta
Hitachi Nuclear Energy Ltd. from January – April 2011
If you are reading this, you are most likely a curious, prospective undergraduate student that is wondering if this program is right for you. Like you, I was also worried about the language barrier, the culture shock and being far, far away from my friends and family back home. However, if you have any interest in travelling abroad, experiencing a fascinating new culture, and gaining an invaluable work experience, I highly encourage undergraduate students, who are even slightly interested, to take advantage of this opportunity and apply for the Canada-Japan Co-op Program.
I came to Japan with only one suitcase. I only knew a handful of Japanese phrases, and struggled to use those pesky chopsticks. But when I got off that plane I grabbed my suitcase to begin my adventure. When I met my co-workers for the first time I was surprised at their extreme willingness to answer any of my questions. Also, they were kind enough to show me around Japan! They spoke English quite well and helped me improve my Japanese language skills. Each weekend offered something to experience with my coworkers such as Japanese hot tubs, trying unique Japanese food, and touring around castles, temples, and many more! Travelling around Japan was made easy with their amazing bullet trains. Every weekend was an adventure and over time I started to learn about the Japanese culture and language (and mastering using those chopsticks!)
I highly recommend anyone who wants to come to Japan and experience the culture to apply for the Canada-Japan Co-op Program. There is an amazing amount of support from the employers and the program and they are always there to help answer any of your questions. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I am thankful for this amazing opportunity.
Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR) from May 2010 – April 2011
For the longest time, I’ve wanted to go to Japan. I started getting into Japanese culture when I was in high-school and the more I learned about it, the more I wanted to experience it firsthand! However, that was always just a dream, something I’d probably never do. Then one year I decided to go to Japan. I would save up and go. So I planned a cross-Asia trip that would end in Japan and I would act on this plan right after I graduated. One week later, my program coordinator asked me “Hey, do you want to go to Japan?” I was surprised. Four months and one awesome CJCP training week later, I stepped off the plane at Kansai International Airport.
Fast forward eight months. I’ve been in Japan for almost a year, and it is almost time to go home. All I can think about is how far I’ve come. I’ve started learning an entirely different language with a unique writing system (not to mention all the kanji). I’ve worked in an internationally renowned company in robotics for almost a year, and I’m living in a country I’ve been dreaming about since I was young! Of course life has its ups and downs which can happen anywhere you live, but the amount of fantastic and amazing experiences I’ve had here have more than made up for all of the bad. I’ve met so many people and made so many great friends from all over the world. For me this has been a once in a lifetime experience that I will never, ever forget, and one that has opened so many new doors for me on top of just being a great adventure. Besides all that, and possibly the most important thing, the food here is really, really good. Highly recommended!
National Institute for Materials Science from June – August 2010
Participating in the CJCP is one of the greatest experiences I have had in my life so far! I was always interested in Japanese technology so I decided to apply for the National Institute for Materials Science. Even though I didn’t know the language at all, I was able to pick up some words along the way. I have met the nicest people here and made good friends.
During my stay in Japan, I had the chance to travel to places such as Nara, Uji, Kyoto, Himeji, Osaka, Nikko, Nagano and cities in the Ibaraki prefecture. Among all the activities I experienced, there is a special one that I will probably never forget – climbing Mount Fuji. We went there on the first week-end it opened and the weather conditions were not the best. It was cold, windy and pouring with rain from the start of our nighttime climb. Ours was a big group. Some students (about 14) came from CJCP and others from NIMS. We got separated because we were climbing at different paces but most of us made it to the top. The hard weather conditions of this adventure made it even more memorable for me. At sunrise we couldn’t see much because of the clouds, but at sunset the landscapes were majestic and spectacular!!!
École de Technologie Supérieure
Fukui Byora Co., Ltd. from May 2009 – April 2010
It was a great surprise to receive the prestigious Canada-Japan Co-op Student of the Year award. Not only has the past nine months in Japan been an incredible experience, this award makes me feel that I really accomplished something great. Knowing that I was able to contribute to my host company is very gratifying. I am truly thankful for this internship that gave me a considerable amount of experience both on technical and personal levels.
I really had a great time here in Japan mostly because of the people in my department. They gave me a chance to live the experience I really wanted to live – that of the everyday Japanese person. During work and after, I always felt like someone was there to help me or simply give me something to do. I joined clubs such as the soccer club, volleyball club and mountain climbing. I have been able to make many friends even though my Japanese language skills are not that good. Of course with all these sports clubs there were lots of parties. (We must not neglect the fun factor!) If I had one piece of advice to give to future candidates of the Canada-Japan Co-op Program, it would be this – don’t be shy. Ask your coworkers, “Hey guys, so what are WE doing after work?” I promise you won’t regret it.
I wish the best of luck to all future candidates and please enjoy this tremendous opportunity to value life from a different angle.
The University of Waterloo
Taiheiyo Cement from June 2008 – April 2009
Applying for The Canada-Japan Co-op Program was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Even though I am used to constantly moving and living in different places, Japan has truly offered the most unique and exciting experiences I would never have experienced anywhere else. Challenges exist everyday, from problems as big as over-coming language and cultural barriers at work, to things as minute as struggling to find the right train to take at the unbelievably complicated Tokyo Station, or how to properly sit, talk, and eat the Japanese way at different drinking parties. Traveling and interacting with locals have not only broadened my visions, but most importantly given me the opportunity to learn more about the real Japan and its people, something I would never have known through books or movies.
I would definitely recommend to anyone who has thought of joining the program to apply. Don’t hesitate, because wherever you end up going in Japan, it will be a once-in-a-life-time experience!
Yamatake Corporation from June 2008 – May 2009
Having been to and worked in Japan in the past, I was excited about being able to return to do a technically related job. It was a great chance to expand on studies and language skills. As it is my second time here and I have already toured the country, I was more interested in experiencing the Japanese lifestyle than site-seeing. Thus, I made more effort trying to meet Japanese people and Japanese friends, rather than traveling. It was a great experience and I hope to continue my friendships here in the future. During my time in Japan I have gained valuable experience and knowledge that I could not have gained through an internship in Canada.
I am thankful to the Coop Japan Program staff for the opportunity they provided. It was an excellent first step for me to begin my career in Japan; otherwise I would have had a much harder time getting started. I would highly recommend this program to any undergraduate student in engineering.
Kam Chi (Edward) Kan
Thompson Rivers University
Advanced Telecommunication Research Institute international (ATR) from May 2008 – September 2008
I am grateful to have participated in an internship in a research organization such as The Advanced Telecommunication Research Institute International in Japan through The Canada-Japan Co-op Program. It was amazing experience for me to learn about the Science and technology in Japan. The knowledge I acquired and personal relationships I developed with my supervisors, co-workers and friendships made along the way, have greatly impacted me and I have learnt a great deal about myself through this experience. I met many Japanese people developed lifelong good friends and learnt about the Japanese Culture. I shared experiences in a new environment, travelled in Japan, and would say this was an exciting adventure in my life.
I would like to express my deepest gratitude for every co-worker in (ATR), and other individuals who made my presence welcome. Special thanks to both of my supervisors for their care they made my stay comfortable in Japan. The experiences I had in Japan have changed me and I am appreciative. The Canada-Japan Co-op Program definitely was a good opportunity to develop myself confidence and is valuable for my future career; I highly recommend the program to any student who is interested in going to Japan. これからもがんばります
The University of Toronto
Mitsubishi Chemical Group from May 2007 – April 2008
How much did I know about living and working in Japan did I know before applying through The Canada-Japan Co-op Program? Not very much. Of course, I had watched the wacky videos from Japan that have managed to make it to Youtube. I knew better than to expect more of the same, but at the same time, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. It all seemed like a grand adventure.
So, I began a few hurried months of Japanese language study and the long flight over the Pacific. It was exciting to arrive in a new country, use the bit of Japanese that I had learned, enter a company, and meet coworkers from a completely different culture. It was a struggle, but the exoticness only made it more fun and exciting to me.
I had a wonderful year in Japan. I had to work hard and persevere, but the effort was definitely worth it. In return for the long working hours and an earnest effort to integrate into their culture, I was given the opportunity to make contacts in Japanese industry and to experience the entire Japanese history, culture, and people.
I have several recommendations for people going on co-op to Japan.
Firstly, the drinking parties (“nomikai”) are the best way to meet and talk to Japanese people because everyone is much more relaxed, and protocol is no longer as important. Secondly, I highly recommend going to the hotsprings (“onsen”). Thirdly, there is a very large difference between living in rural or small-town Japan and urban Japan, much larger than there exists in Canada. The experience will definitely be different. Finally, go out and try random things without preconceptions and expectations. The guidebooks will never have every adventure in Japan, so relax and see where the winds and trains take you.
The University of British Columbia
Osaka Gas January 2008 – August 2008
I was fortunate to be invited to a 2008 Canada Day Celebration, put on by the Kansai Chamber of Commerce. My supervisor and I were the guests of Trade Commissioner Peter MacArthur, and he proved a gracious host. It was a delight to be able to celebrate Canada’s 141st birthday with so many other Canadians and Canada supporters, despite being all the way across the world! I met many people from both Canada and Japan, enjoyed a delicious dinner, and learned more about the connection to Canada from the Kansai region – it is stronger and has been around longer than I thought! It was also a pleasure to be able to also meet and speak to Ambassador Joseph Caron, as well as several other representatives from the Canadian government. My supervisor and I were lucky in the prize draw, both winning (appropriately) authentic Canadian maple syrup – and my supervisor won an entire barbeque set. The evening was a great chance to meet some interesting and engaging people, and celebrate Canada on it’s birthday!
Albert Kengo Watai
Wood Product Processing
The University of British Columbia
KEYTEC Co., Ltd. September 2007 – June 2008
The day I received news that I was accepted to work at KEYTEC Inc. in Japan, I was told from my Forestry faculty: “Congratulations, you’re the first student to ever go to Japan from our program.”
Being a second generation Japanese with Japanese parents, I was able to maintain the Japanese language. I was raised in Canada so, the first 2 months in Japan was full of culture shock due to my lack of knowledge in all cultural aspects. Though I arrived in Japan with nervous thoughts, they were dissipated very quickly as the people in Japan welcomed me with open arms. Though the cultural barrier definitely existed at first, I slowly and steadily managed to open up to the differences; by the end I found myself enjoying finding out about the differences in our culture.
The past four months here in Japan have been an amazing learning experience for me, and I plan to gain a lot more in the next 4 month that I am here. For those who are contemplating whether to come to Japan or not, I say, “come to Japan” and you will realize why I said “come to Japan”. It is something you will never understand until you come here.
The University of British Columbia
Aso Juku Educational Foundation January 2007 – December 2007
Where else in the world can you have fresh and authentic ramen 3 times a day everyday during your internship? Nowhere other than in Japan of course! That was how I sort of pictured my daily diet when I applied for the program. However during my one-year stay working in Fukuoka, I definitely feel that I developed, matured, learned and ate more things that would not have been possible anywhere else.
Living in Japan is one of those life-altering experiences that allow you to open your eyes a bit more and really get to understand yourself. For me, being stranded in a foreign environment with little knowledge of the culture and language was one of the most fun and rewarding challenges. Every single thing of every single day whether at work or not was an adventure – travelling around, meeting new people, even grocery shopping!
The Canada-Japan Coop Program offers a wonderful one-of-a-kind opportunity that I encourage anyone who is interested to apply. Working in Japan has been an unforgettable experience for me and I am sure it will be too for those who will be going.
The University of British Columbia
J. Morita MFG Corp July 2007 – March 2008
SUBARASHIKATTA! (Splendid) This is how I feel about my experience in Japan for nine months. Living abroad in a completely new environment is surely an awesome and exciting adventure. You get the chance to feel culture shock, struggle with language barriers, interact with people that are living a different lifestyle and background and travel to the most exotic places you have yet to see. This unique opportunity has benefited me in a lot of ways: I gained a much better perspective on my career path; I met many wonderful friends who had been very kind and friendly to me; my values, visions and habits have expanded into new territories that I have never imagined before. As an electrical engineering student, the technical knowledge and hand-on skills I learned from the research and development work are massive and definitely they make me a more competitive candidate in the future when I pursue my first job. The Canada-Japan Coop Program is not merely offering an ordinary job that just happens to be outside of Canada, but a chance for a fun, thrilling and life-changing experience that would mark a spectacular chapter in your life.
The University of Alberta
Sansyu Finetool May 2006 – December 2006
Of all the experiences in my life, the time I spent in Japan as a Canada-Japan Co-op Program intern has had the most impact on my goals, future job prospects, and understanding of the world.
When I applied to The Canada-Japan Co-op Program, I was looking for international work experience and a challenging environment in which to develop both cultural understanding and technical experience relevant to my mechanical engineering studies. In these respects, my experience as an intern at Sansyu Finetool was greatly fulfilling. I was fortunate to be placed with a company whose work is directly related to my field of study, and to work in an entirely Japanese work environment with very helpful and understanding co-workers.
The Canada-Japan Co-op Program provided professional training, guidance, and continued support throughout the placement – this, of course, made my parents a lot more comfortable with the thought of their daughter being an ocean away! While in Japan I spent two weeks in hospital following surgery for acute appendicitis. During that time I had support from many, including a former Canada-Japan Co-op participant now working full-time with the company and The Canada-Japan Co-op Program staff.
Gaining international work experience has given me an edge over some of my peers in engineering as I look for future employment. Being able to work and live in a foreign environment shows a person is self-reliant, intelligent, and unafraid to seek new challenges. The language skills and cultural understanding gained during my placement will serve me well in many industries including a career in the automotive industry, or any industry dealing with Japanese manufacturers and suppliers.
Prior to leaving Canada, I had little or no interest in world events outside of my own small spheres of influence. While in Japan, and upon my return to Canada, I have become increasingly aware of events, people, and places around the world. I can only see this broadening world view resulting from my experience in Japan as an improvement in myself as a Canadian citizen.
If you are considering applying to the Canada-Japan Co-op program, you have so much to gain through an engineering internship in Japan that I urge you to apply as soon as you can; if you have already been accepted by a Japanese company, Omedetto gozaimasu and I know you will have a wonderful experience in Japan!
Simon Fraser University
Yamatake Corporation June 2006 – May 2007
The 10 months that I stayed in Japan was definitely a life-altering experience, changing my values and habits. It also gave me new inspirations and insights about my future career possibilities; and on a bigger scale understanding and tolerating something that is different…completely different. Looking back in retrospect, I would say that this adventure would probably be one of the best decisions I have made in my life. It opened up my eyes to how another part of the world operates and how the unique business-culture has lead to Japan’s success.
The Canada-Japan Co-op Program, in partnership with JETRO, does not simply provide what a regular international internship has to offer, but also encompasses invaluable opportunities to meet new people, learn a unique culture and language, enjoy the exotic Asian cuisines, and also travel to various places. Needless to say, the ground-breaking and industry-leading technology that I was exposed to broadened my horizons in the technological field I study. For those who are looking for a similar life-altering experience, it is definitely a program worth considering.
Simon Fraser University
Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd June 2006 – December 2006
Comparing myself before and after going through The Canada-Japan Co-op Program, it was incredible how much I benefited from this amazing journey in my study, my career and my personal development. As an electronic engineering student, the research and development work experience was certainly one of the best I could ask for from an international co-op term. I deeply appreciated the program and the Japanese company, for a unique opportunity to gain insight into this specific engineering topic which has inspired me. My interest continues to grow after coming back to Canada, and I am looking into this field at school. I was also able to experience Japan in such great depth, its culture and people during the half year I stayed. I am still in contact with many people I met in Japan. I will never forget all the wonderful friends I made in Japan, and all the remarkable traveling I did. There were so many pleasant memories left in Japan that will always stay in the Japanese chapter of my life.
The University of Alberta
Yamatake Corporation June 2005 – December 2005
Co-op Japan has been the most enlightening and wonderful journey I’ve ever been through. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to be able to experience Japan in such depth, as I have come away with many valuable new insights and perceptions – both personally and professionally. Although learning to survive in a foreign country seemed somewhat daunting at first, the support of Co-op Japan and all the other interns definitely allowed me to enjoy my time there more. I give my highest regard to the program, and think they are creating a tremendous opportunity students in Canada.
Simon Fraser University
ATR International June 2005 – April 2006
My co-op Japan experience was indeed an once in a lifetime experience. It not only turned my life up side down, but also changed my personal perspective in many different ways. It provided me with an oppurtunity to open my eyes and submerge myself into the rich and historic Japanese culture, and be amongst one of them, which you simply cannot experience no matter how much money you spend on a vacation. From the constant warm welcome of “irrashaiimase” when you step into each store, to the fascinating nature of Japanese people sleeping on trains and being able to wake up instantly at their stop, to my personal experience of stuffing myself with 41 plates of sushi in conveyor belt sushi all you can eat, these were all the enjoyable experiences I had the fortune of having that only happens in Japan, and will always stay in the Japanese chapter of my life.
The University of Toronto
Yaskawa Electric June 2005 – May 2006
The Co-op Japan Program has been a pivotal experience for me in terms of my studies, my career and my personal development.
During my time in Japan I have grown substantially as a person and have gained experience and insight into engineering that I could not have gained in a conventional Canadian internship. It has made me consider the future of my profession in a global scale.
I have worked in engineering R&D in three countries and two continents at this point and aside from the knowledge and technical experience I have gained, the comparision that I have been able to perform first hand of both the two social and business cultures has been one of the most fascinating experiences in my life to date.
I will always be grateful to the CJP and JETRO Program administrative and support staff for their unwavering support during this last year. It is through the hard work of these academic support staff that students like me would have this opportunity.
I would highly recommend this program to any undergraduate student in engineering.
The University of Victoria
Taiyo Industrial Co., Ltd. June 2006 – April 2007
Being a third generation Japanese Canadian, both my parents as well as my grandparents are Japanese but were all born in Canada. My Japanese heritage has therefore been nearly non-existent and the majority of my extended family members are not able to speak more than a few words of Japanese. When The Canada-Japan Co-op Program presented itself, I thought of it as a perfect opportunity to try and regain some Japanese culture and learn some of the language. Little did I know, what else lay ahead for me….
My grandfather, from my mother’s side, spent some of his youth growing up in Wakayama-ken, Japan, before returning to Canada to continue his life as a fisherman. Coincidentally, from the many possible work locations on the Canada-Japan Co-op website, I was somehow chosen to work in Wakayama city. Mid-way through my internship, I received a phone call from my mother back home in Vancouver. She had recently spoken to one of her uncles and was calling to inform me that we had some distant relatives (my grandfather’s cousin), who owned a cosmetic shop, in Wakayama city. The most surprising thing was that the cosmetic shop turned out to be located a mere two minute walk away from my company and dormitory. Shocked by the news, I went over to investigate later that week, and sure enough, the information was correct. That night I met my grandfather’s cousin, Nishida-san who is now 94 years old and as healthy as a 60 year old, his daughter and her husband Mr. and Ms. Yukawa, their daughter Akari-san and her husband, as well as their two children. Akari-san had once done an exchange at UBC for one year, and she remembered visiting my parent’s house for a party when I was very young.
Since meeting they are now my second family; I have been invited to dinner several times and have been shown around the southern part of Wakayama-ken, not easily accessible by train. I am happy that I have learned some Japanese so that I can converse with them with relative ease. I will never forget their kindness and favours provided to me during my stay in Japan.
I am forever grateful for this incredible experience and encourage everyone considering joining The Canada-Japan Co-op Program to go for it. You really never know what kind of adventures you will have and what kind of opportunities will present themselves.