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JICA Internship Report (Vietnam)


The JICA Internship Program (Consultant Type) is a program that enables university and postgraduate students with an interest in international cooperation to experience the realities of JICA projects run by Japanese development consultants, and to deepen their understanding of the work of Japan’s international cooperation and development consultants. Saki Kato, a 3rd year student in the Faculty of Letters and Education, sent us a report on her activities as an intern in Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, in September 2014.

JICA Internship Report

I set myself three goals when I began my internship, to:
(1) deepen my understanding of development consultants
(2) listen actively to people, even those outside my field of expertise, and broaden my perspectives
(3) deepen my knowledge in my field of expertise.

The company to which I was assigned, the Hanoi office of Almec Corporation, was at the time engaged in a project to build urban railways and improve public bus transport. At the beginning there was a briefing on the nature of the work of a development consultant from which I received an overview. When there were events I was allowed to go along and as I helped I achieved a deeper understanding; I saw not just theory, but was shown the reality of the type of work actually underway, and with whom cooperation was happening.

I was amazed to see how many Japanese players were involved in the Hanoi metropolitan bus transport improvement project, far more than I had imagined. I also experienced a sense of the difficulty and the importance of progressing projects that are cognizant of the locals while being of national benefit to Japan, where not everything is over in one project, there is always an eye to the next.

I was also taken to have a look at the Noi Bai International Airport Terminal 2 that was under construction. As it was the first time I had seen Japanese Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) in action first-hand, everything I saw and heard was fresh to me. Even among the Japanese there were representatives of a range of players working together, collaborating to progress construction, each with their own standpoints and ways of thinking, and it was fascinating to see and apprehend that up close.

There were lots of things I heard about during the internship that were valuable for me in thinking about my own career going forward. The WHO staff, the people working as junior professional officers (JPO) the people conducting surveys in specialized fields as part of ODA, the people active in international NGOs, the people from Japanese companies living in Vietnam, a professor at a local university, a young Vietnamese woman who had herself started an NGO and was working to improve the status of ethnic minorities and women in outer Hanoi: I had the opportunity to hear all sorts of valuable things from all sorts of outstanding people in all sorts of fields, irrespective of nationality. It was an internship that gave me cause to think about the career I can pursue that will enable me to continue to cherish this connection.

(Saki Kato, 3rd year student, Division of Global Studies for Intercultural Cooperation,
Faculty of Letters and Education)

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