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Japanese internship program for Emiratis to enhance industry-academia collaboration

17 Oct 2019
Group photo after receiving the Internship Completion Certificate. (Photo/Supplied)
Group photo after receiving the Internship Completion Certificate. (Photo/Supplied)
During a cultural visit to Hiroshima. (Photo/Supplied)
During a cultural visit to Hiroshima. (Photo/Supplied)
 In the classroom for Japanese language courses. (Photo/Supplied)
In the classroom for Japanese language courses. (Photo/Supplied)
Interns at the Mistubishi Heavy Industries. (Photo/Supplied)
Interns at the Mistubishi Heavy Industries. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 21 Oct 2019
17 Oct 2019

Staff Writer

An internship program for the UAE aims to benefit Emirati talents and contribute to building long-lasting collaboration between industry and academia, said the Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE).

“We promote industry-academia collaboration under the framework of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Initiative between UAE and Japan (CSPI) and ties for the benefit of both societies. Intern students maintain networking, such as starting the business in collaboration with the accepting company,” Shigeto Aoki, general manager of JICE’s Abu Dhabi office, told Arab News.

“The internship program, which is sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, is now in its eighth year of operation, with a total of 81 Emirati students having been hosted to date,” Aoki said.

The program involves participants getting introductory courses that include basic Japanese language skills, business manners and etiquette. 

“A cultural visit to the Japanese city of Hiroshima was also included with the aim of enhancing the program by understanding the Japanese people and their experiences, prior to each of the interns transferring to their various internship company posts,” said Aoki.

The summer internship program is implemented in the UAE only, but every year about 10 students are hosted in Japan. 

“The program will bring the possibility of future business collaboration through interaction between engineers from both countries. It will also contribute to globalization of companies and expand employment opportunities for UAE engineers,” Aoki said.

According to JICE, various courses are available at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

It also coordinates Japanese language courses at Khalifa University of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi.  

This year, 12 Emirati students completed the program, which lasted seven to 10 weeks. Participants received invaluable work experience while conducting research at Japanese technological companies, immersed themselves in the country’s social and corporate culture, and undertook language classes. 

“The foundation courses provided by JICE were very helpful to understand Japanese culture. The basic language courses, and the lectures on work ethics and manners, were helpful,” said Fatmah Alkaabi, an undergraduate student at Khalifa University of Science and Technology who completed her internship at the Japan Oil Development Co. (JODCO).

“I especially enjoyed the trip to Hiroshima because I was able to learn more about Japanese history than what I read in books.”

She said the internship program at JODCO was an eye-opening experience. “People I met at the company were eager to learn anything related to the oil and gas industry. I’d like to study various aspects of petroleum engineering,” she added.

Sara Almahri, a master’s student at the same university who spent her internship in Hyogo prefecture at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, said: “I’d like to extend my gratitude to the project mentor, Takeshi Sano, and everyone at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and JICE. They were welcoming and made me feel at home.”

She added: “The internship made me realize that understanding cultural diversity is very important for engineers. I wish for future interns to experience Japanese culture like I did.”

Aoki said the internship program is an excellent example of the UAE’s brightest students furthering their technical, educational and intercultural acumen at some of Japan’s most prestigious corporations. 

“It’s our fervent hope that what they learnt in Japan can be applied for the benefit of the UAE,” he added.

“We’re delighted to see the success and growth of the program, and look forward to further mutually developing the human expertise and ties between our two countries,” he said.

“We’d like to provide Emirati students with a better understanding of Japan and Japanese people, and hope to bring further cooperation and partnership in the future between Japanese companies and those who participated in this internship.”

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