2024-05-13

From Thailand to Japan: A Robotics Student’s Journey Through Language and Internship

Summary

The story follows a Thai student fascinated by Japan’s rich culture and language. Initially drawn to Japanese through novels and manga, his interest deepened through self-study challenges and engaging with Japanese music. Studying robotics and AI engineering, he discovered an opportunity to improve language skills through FAST OFFER International’s free Japanese classes, without initially aiming for a career in Japan. However, an internship facilitated by his university in Yamaguchi Prefecture opened new professional vistas, showing him the potential of working in Japan. This experience was transformative, providing insights into Japanese corporate culture and boosting his language proficiency, solidifying his resolve to pursue a career in Japan. He is now preparing for a future job in Japan, where he aspires to integrate his engineering skills with their passion for the Japanese language and culture.

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Profile

Countries & Regions
Thailand
University
King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang
Major
Robotics and Automation
Education
Bachelor
Company
Japanese manufacturer of material handling dealing with logistics systems, automated warehouses, etc

Cultivating Interest in Japan through Culture 

My interest in Japan sparked from its fascinating culture. I love to read Japanese novels, usually in Thai, but I often thought they’d be even better in the original Japanese. I’ve always enjoyed reading manga, although I prefer the English versions for now. Comics are a lighter read compared to novels, providing entertainment with their illustrations and stories. 

This curiosity led me to start learning Japanese about four years ago, long before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. 

 

Navigating the Challenges and Joys of Language Learning 

Studying Japanese at a private tutoring school can be pricey, so I opted to learn on my own, scouring the internet for resources. I immersed myself in podcasts and Japanese videos to grasp native conversations, but without guidance, I struggled to measure my progress. There was no one to correct my mistakes, leaving me uncertain about whether I was on the right track. Despite my efforts, I haven’t managed to finish reading a Japanese novel yet; I’m still grappling with grammar and vocabulary. It’s a challenging task, but I’m determined to push through. 

Luckily, Thailand has a Kinokuniya branch that sells Japanese books, so I’ve been practicing by reading short articles and light novels. It’s challenging, but I find them intriguing. 

Recently, I’ve discovered a new hobby: listening to Japanese songs. Whenever I have free time, I head to karaoke to sing Japanese tunes with fellow enthusiasts. I particularly enjoy Japanese pop music and anime songs. My favorite song is Lion (ライオン) by May’n and Megumi Nakajima(中島愛), and I’m also fond of ‘Kanade’ () by SUKIMASWITCH (スキマスイッチ). I’ve been trying to read the lyrics in Japanese, which I believe has helped improve my pronunciation and listening skills. It’s a fun and rewarding way to enhance my Japanese abilities. 

Then, one day, a teacher at my university sent a poster about FAST OFFER International from ASIA to JAPAN in Line Group. They said if I studied Japanese for around 300 hours, I could have a shot at working in Japan, and the program was free. 

 

Joining ASIA to JAPAN for Japanese classes 

To be honest, when I first joined FAST OFFER International through ASIA to JAPAN for their free Japanese classes, I had no intention of pursuing a career in Japan. My primary motivation was simply to improve my Japanese language skills, as I was struggling with self-study. The idea of working in Japan didn’t even cross my mind at the time; I was solely intrigued by the culture

However, everything changed when I was offered an internship opportunity in Japan. It opened my eyes to the possibilities of working in the country and made me realize that it could be a fantastic opportunity for personal and professional growth. ASIA to JAPAN’s FAST OFFER International program played a crucial role in this transformation, providing me with the language foundation and support needed to explore new horizons. 

 

Learning and Determination from a Japanese Internship 

Through a partnership between my university and a Japanese company, I was fortunate to secure an internship opportunity in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. From July to December 2023, I worked in a manufacturing company as one of their first international student interns. This experience provided me with invaluable insights into both work practices and Japanese corporate culture. 

Despite being a relatively small company, I was warmly welcomed and immersed in a challenging yet rewarding environment. Only one person could speak English, so I had to use Japanese most of the time. It was tough, but also fun, and I made lots of memories. My manager used to play the song ‘Kanade’ while driving, and that’s how I got to know it. They helped me a lot with things like where to stay and food, and I’m thankful for that. 

Upon returning home, I was inspired to pursue a career in a Japanese company. I resumed my Japanese studies with renewed determination, aiming to enhance my language skills for future employment opportunities. Although the company expressed interest in potentially hiring me, I remained committed to finding my own path. Thus, I continued my journey with ASIA to JAPAN, determined to carve out my place in the Japanese workforce. 

 

New Experiences During My Internship in Japan 

During my internship in Japan, I encountered many new experiences. One of the most notable differences was how strictly people follow the traffic rules and prioritize pedestrian and cyclist safety. Coming from Bangkok, a bustling metropolis, I hadn’t even learned to ride a bicycle. Before my trip to Japan, I practiced cycling, but I found it challenging at first when I arrived. However, with time, I grew to enjoy it immensely. Riding a bike in Japan felt relaxing and fun, and I even began considering buying one in the future. 

 

My Focus on Robotics and AI Engineering at the University 

I’m currently studying robotics and AI engineering, which comprises three main areas: mechanical, electrical, and software. This field revolves around industrial robotics, integrating AI and machine learning technologies. After I graduate, I want to pursue my career abroad and have more experience in a job that uses industrial robots. Japan is my priority choice since it is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and robotics countries. Also, I’m very interested in languages and cultures and want to learn more.   

 

Future plan in Japan

With my company starting next April, I have a year ahead to prepare. My focus will be on learning Japanese, obtaining a driving license, and securing a visa. 

Looking forward, I envision a long-term stay in Japan. Immersing myself in Japanese culture and language is a top priority. I’m eager to explore and understand more about their way of life, from visiting castles to collecting stamps as souvenirs. During a trip to Osaka, I stumbled upon a stamp book titled ‘Hyaku Mei Jou,’ featuring one hundred Japanese castles. It ignited my desire to travel across different prefectures and collect more stamps.

Furthermore, I’m excited about the technical aspects of my work. Since the company I’ll be joining is international, there’s a possibility of transfers to other countries. I’m keen on embracing new challenges and opportunities for growth.
 

Unexpected Path to Interview and Job Offer 

Unexpectedly, my journey to securing an interview and job offer began with occasional emails from ASIA to JAPAN after registering for their Japanese classes. Despite ignoring these invitations for online sessions, I finally decided to attend one in January. Little did I know that this session was offered to those interested in working in Japan. Initially, I joined merely to practice my Japanese speaking skills with a native speaker. 

During the session, I found myself engaged in a conversation about my motivation and readiness to work in Japan. It was a casual interaction, and I had no inkling of its significance at the time. Had I known the purpose beforehand, I might have hesitated to participate, considering my incomplete final project. 

February turned into a hectic month as I juggled interview preparation with my ongoing project commitments. Despite the busy schedule, I pressed on, fueled by the hope of potential opportunities. Looking back, I realize that scheduling the interviews in April, coinciding with my project deadline, would be ideal.  

Reflecting on this unexpected turn of events, I am truly grateful for the decision to seize the opportunity in February. This allowed me to participate in onsite interviews and ultimately led to securing a job offer in Japan. It also introduced me to a diverse group of individuals from various backgrounds. Establishing connections with fellow students and the supportive staff at ASIA to JAPAN has been an invaluable part of this journey.

 

Advice for future candidates 

300 hours of studying a language is a lot. It is not easy. From mastering JLPT levels N5 to N4, N3, and beyond, each step requires perseverance and commitment. Reflecting on my own experience, I divided my Japanese learning journey into three distinct periods. During the first period, I attended 100% of the classes and for the second period, it gradually declined to around 70 to 80% because at that time I was in Japan for the internship and very busy. The Japanese classes were from 9:00 PM to 11:00 PM, which I had to attend after my internship in the daytime. It was very tough for me. And in the final period, I think I maybe attended about 60%. I missed a lot of classes. At the time it was very tough for me to continue my Japanese study with ASIA to JAPAN.
For aspiring candidates aiming to work in Japan, two fundamental questions must be addressed: Why are you learning Japanese, and why do you want to work in Japan? These questions serve as guiding principles throughout the learning process. My Japanese Sensei (teachers) often asked us these two questions. The answers must resonate from the heart, reflecting genuine passion and purpose.  

We all have our own answers. By understanding your reasons for learning Japanese and pursuing a career in Japan, you can stay focused and resilient in the face of challenges. With determination and a sincere connection to your goals, success in Japan is within reach. 

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