Considering possibilities for personal growth through an internship at international organizations

Naho Kimura
3rd year, Department of Liberal Arts, Faculty of Liberal Arts (at the time of study abroad)

Destination: Asia External Representation Office, African Development Bank Group
Type of Study Abroad: Global Internships (Short term)

Every year, many Sophia University students study abroad in countries all over the world outside of Japan. How did they manage to find their way through the differences in languages, cultures, and lifestyles? Here are some voices of students who studied abroad.

I participated in a three-week internship at the African Development Bank’s Asian External Representative Office from August 24 to September 11, 2022. The African Development Bank is one of the financial institutions called MDB (Multilateral Development Bank) that aims for sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction within 54 African countries. The Asia External Representative Office oversees four Asian countries; Japan, China, Korea, and India.

I have been interested in humanitarian assistance in war zones and support for women and children, victims of sexual violence, since I was a high school student. I have completed a six-month internship at a humanitarian organization during my sophomore year in college. As I learned about the mechanisms of emergency support, I strongly felt the need for long-term support to promote economic and social independence. Thereby, I decided to apply for this program at the African Development Bank to learn how to improve the quality of people’s lives financially.

I was involved in four main tasks during my internship. The work included drafting a Japanese article for the annual meeting of the African Development Bank Group and updating information in a brochure to the latest data. Throughout this work, I was able to deepen my understandings on the Bank’s institutional profile and activities as well as funding. We also created a fact sheet that shows how Japan has contributed to the operations of the African Development Bank since its accession in 1973. I was also given an opportunity to write a Japanese article on a project to support female entrepreneurs as I had shared my interest in gender diversity. On the last day, I made an overall presentation on my experiences and findings during the internship. This was a great time for me to reflect and think about how to apply them in the future.

Even though I was working online for half of the time due to COVID-19, I received very detailed feedback from the employees. I believe I was able to improve my translation, summarizing, and writing skills in a short period of time. Receiving career advice, even from employees I did not have much interaction with, made me recognize the wide range of future careers such as a specialized researcher for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, YPP, or JPO.

I am currently preparing for graduate school. At the same time, I am seeking opportunities to make use of the skills, knowledge, and career design skills I gained from this internship so that I can improve. Through this program, I have recognized the importance of communication and problem-solving skills that go beyond language skills, as well as the significant roles that development banks play in poverty reduction and gender equality.

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