12 Emirati students have successfully completed summer internship programmes at leading Japanese technological companies coordinated by the Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE). The internship programmes were set up by JICE exclusively for the development of promising Emirati talent specialised in the fields of chemical, electrical, mechanical and engineering, petroleum engineering and renewable energy. The 7 to 10 week internship programmes are unique in that participants not only receive invaluable work experience while conducting research at some of Japan’s cutting edge technological companies, but they also allow the interns to immerse themselves in both societal and Japanese corporate culture as well as undertake Japanese language classes.
The internship programme, which is sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), is now in its 8th year of operation, with a total of 81 Emirati students having been hosted to date. 2019 saw 12 Emirati students, 8 of which were female students, participating in the programme. They hailed from Higher Colleges of Technology and the Main Campus, SAN Campus and Masdar City Campus of Khalifa University of Science and Technology (KU), and included internships at Japanese companies such as; Frontier Research Center for Applied Atomic Sciences at Ibaraki University, Japan Oil Development Co. (JODCO), Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and the Yokogawa Electric Corporation.
Through JICE’s coordination of the programme it is hoped that the development of Emirati talent will not only benefit the individuals hosted, but also contribute to the building of long-lasting Industry-academia collaboration under the framework of CSPI (Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Initiative between UAE and Japan) and ties for the benefit of both societies.
Upon arriving in Japan the participants of the internship programme were initiated to their new environments with introductory courses that included basic Japanese language skills, business manners and etiquette. A cultural visit to the Japanese city of Hiroshima and its Peace Memorial Park was also included prior to each of the interns transferring to their various internship company posts.
Feedback from both intern participants and the Japanese corporations was extremely positive, with the Japanese corporations commenting on how well prepared, eager to learn and dedicated the Emirati students were.
Ms. Fatmah Alkaabi, an undergraduate student at Khalifa University of Science and Technology, SAN Campus who completed her internship at JODCO said: The foundation courses provided by JICE was very helpful to understand Japanese culture. The basic language courses and the lectures on work ethics and manners were helpful for the smooth internship participation, but I especially enjoyed the trip to Hiroshima because I was able to learn more about Japanese history than what I read in books. The internship program at JODCO was eye-opening experience. People I met at the company were eager to learn anything related to oil and gas industry. I would like to study various aspects of petroleum engineering.”
Ms. Sara Almahri , a Master’s student from KU Masdar City Campus, who spent her internship in Hyogo Prefecture at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries commented, “It was a fantastic opportunity for me to experience a different culture and to be able to learn about an artificial lift method called Electrical Submersible Pump which can be applied to various viscosity level of fluids. The knowledge will be helpful for my master thesis and beneficial for my future career.”
Ms. Almahri continues, “I would like to extend my gratitude to the Project Mentor, Mr. Takeshi Sano and everyone at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and JICE. They were welcoming and made me feel home. The internship made me realise that understanding cultural diversity is very important for engineers. I wish future interns to experience Japanese culture like I did.”
The UAE ambassador in Japan attended the final report on the last day and was impressed by the students’ enthusiastic participation in the internship program and the results. Also Dr.Khalid Al Ali – Assistant Professor of Khalifa University, who came to Japan for an interim evaluation, visited the host companies and appreciated their well-organized curricula.
Mr. Shigeto Aoki, General Manager JICE Abu Dhabi Office said: “The JICE Internship Programme is an excellent example of the UAE’s brightest students furthering their technical, educational and inter-cultural 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. We are delighted to see the success and growth of the programme over these last seven years, and look forward to further mutually developing the human expertise and ties between our two countries. We would like to provide Emirati students better understanding of Japan and Japanese people, and to hope to bring further cooperation and partnership in the future between Japanese companies and those who participated in this internship.”