Hayao MATSUI (Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA))

Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation
Interned at FORWARD Nepal (Nepal)(Sep-Oct. 2015)

1) G.ecbo Internship

Purpose of the participation

To conduct a survey related to my master’s research, and to see actual places in developing countries. I had a strong desire from when I first entered HU to go to a developing country and experience deep immersion there.

Outline of the survey

For the purpose of management of forest resources for the impoverished in Nepalese farming villages, I conducted a survey regarding the social preferences of the users and their household financial conditions. For the social preferences, I used a method of financial experiment with money as the measurement, and for the survey regarding household finances I used a questionnaire.

Event which left an impression !

At my final presentation at my place of internship, I was asked the question “How will your research help the local people?” I couldn’t explain my answer very well. My research may seem to be fairly theoretical and even I myself didn’t know exactly how this would help to resolve issues in the real world. I continued doing my research without a clear understanding of it. However from that question, I reaffirmed that the reason I decided to continue my studies in grad school was to contribute to resolving issues in developing countries. I am now able to fully understand the significance of my research and have decided to carry out research activities that will help developing countries even more.

2) The impact your internship had on your job-hunting activities

Reason why you chose this organization, this field 

(i) Because I wanted to contribute to countries still in the process of developing (from when I first entered grad school)
(ii) I want to do work that would make the world more aware of Japan (when staying in developing countries through the G.ecbo program)
(iii) I felt the attraction of being involved in deciding policies (through my internship at JICA)
I chose JICA because it was an organization that fulfilled these three points.

Used the G.ecbo internship for promoting myself. Then I obtained an overseas internship with JICA. Then I got a job!

I wrote about my G.ecbo internship on my application for an overseas internship with JICA, and I was accepted. Then, because I was able to participate in the internship, I was able to gain a deeper understanding of how JICA employees work. That is when I felt most strongly that I wanted to work for JICA. In my job-hunting, I was asked in detail about my experience of doing a survey with two investigators during my G.ecbo internship. Because many of JICA’s activities consist of doing things by collaborating with people of different nationalities, my experience in the G.ecbo program would have overlapped with working for JICA. At interviews for other companies, I often received comments such as “You had such an interesting experience” after I mentioned my G.ecbo internship experience and people were interested in hearing about it.

Future challenges

At JICA, I will really be expected to work like someone who can really get things done. However, I hope to keep my balance between both a business perspective and an academic perspective while considering jobs at work. Also, I hope to be the kind of employee that many people find approachable.

3) Advice for your juniors

A lot of students have had some experience in studying abroad but I don’t think many have had an experience like that of the G.ecbo program where you sent somewhere overseas on your own and get to experience trying to carry something out while involving local people too. Therefore, I think I think companies will be interested in job-hunters who have had such an experience. However, if you spend your time abroad without being conscious of your goal, you won’t have anything left and won’t be able to make the most of your experience when job-hunting. The good points about the G.ecbo program are that the person applying to be an intern can decide the content. You can be active with a purpose and the experience that you gain can be used in job-hunting while also being extremely useful in research activities in grad school.

I said lots of things but really, being proactive about things that interest you is the best of all. Even if you make mistakes, it will still be a good experience so give it your best!