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Mathieu Rolfo

I had an incredible experience working and living in Tokyo this summer. As the only foreigner in the 200-person Global Energy Systems Integration Unit at NEC, I felt immersed in a traditionally Japanese yet forward-thinking business culture. Although I was not well-versed in the smart grid and electrical systems when I began my internship, I was treated as a full member of the team: I worked the same hours as my colleagues, attended important meetings and business trips to other NEC branches, and gave regular presentations reporting on my progress. I learned about the structure of Japanese businesses as well as the operation of large multinational corporations, knowledge that may be useful in working from the United States or internationally in my eventual career. Additionally, my colleagues were very welcoming and offered to show me many aspects of Japanese culture. With them, I visited traditional temples and modern cultural neighborhoods in Tokyo, ate delicious food, traveled to Kyoto by bullet train, and climbed Mt. Fuji. My stay in Japan was a pleasant balance between the autonomy of a adult traveler and member of the workforce and the excitement of being shown around a new landscape by the locals. By the end of my internship, I learned that leaving my familiar environment for an entirely foreign one, while not easy, is a rewarding challenge that opens doors both now and in coming years.

Internship Year: 
2 013
Company Name: 
Tokyo, Japan