High School Internship: Quarantine Edition


My fellow interns and I met regularly to discuss our goals and agenda. I had the time of my life!

Internships and community service are key when it comes to applying for colleges. But what happens during the pandemic? What is a senior to do? Just as my IISJ classes had moved online, I had to find an internship online as well. 

I searched for opportunities, doing simple Google searches. I entered word combos like “online internship,” “high school student allowed,” and “held in Japanese.” After a few clicks, one internship caught my eye: SDG’s Online Internship. If accepted, I would be working with a nonprofit on sustainability. It was going to be held completely in Japanese and aligned perfectly with my interests. 

At first, I wasn’t sure about an online internship. In my head, I had imagined anxiously stepping into the company building wearing formal attire, sitting in a big hall with new people, watching demonstrations performed by mentors, and engaging in passionate group discussions.

Reality could not have been more different: Anxiously waiting to enter a Zoom meeting, wearing a formal shirt with sweatpants, waiting for 85 people to work through their technical issues, and exchanging massive amounts of group texts.

I had the time of my life. 

Through the internship host Deeppeople, I chose to work with Alaise Group, which runs various recycling companies across Japan. Among other things, It teaches people how difficult yet essential it is to recycle oil. 

With my fellow internees, we researched waste disposal and prepared ourselves to teach others. We had weekly meetings and presentations to report our work. Because we were completely online, we promoted our message on various social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter. 

“The people who work in recycling companies are like heroes, “ said Mr. Kaichi Okano, my mentor, and the CEO of Alaise Group. “They perform tough but crucial jobs that not everybody is willing to do,’ he said. “I have nothing but respect for them and I want more people to do so.”  

The internship lasted for two months. Weekly group meetings were held twice a week and the rest of the time was spent creating and presenting ideas. In the end, it was very impressive how the hosts maintained the professionalism and legitimacy of the internship. I am grateful to them for creating opportunities to meet and work with CEOs of various organizations. Although it will require a bit of research to find one that you feel comfortable with, I highly recommend applying for online internships during tough times like these.