Every year, many MSU students look forward to spending their summer break attending an Education Abroad program, visiting exciting new countries, and learning about different cultures and languages. This year, however, the COVID-19 pandemic caused all education abroad trips to be canceled or postponed. One MSU student, Elaine P., however, did not allow her summer plans to be rearranged.
With graduation approaching, Elaine has been working toward completing the needed credits to cross the finish line at the end of the upcoming fall semester. Having recently been awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, a nationally competitive scholarship funded and sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, Elaine planned to use the funding to fulfil her education abroad credits. Unfortunately, the credits she would earn from the Japan Center for Michigan Universities, her intended study abroad program in Hikone City, Japan, had taken a backseat. Considering her time restraints, Elaine set a goal to find another opportunity to keep her on track to graduation.
Throughout her childhood, Elaine had a passion for other languages and cultures, and was inspired by media such as Sailor Moon and Pokémon, which focused her interests in Japanese origin stories. Now as a graduating senior in the College of Arts and Letters with a major in Japanese Language and Literature and a minor in French, Elaine remains immersed in Japanese culture, with a passion for the customs and traditions of Japan.
In light of her interests and a connection she found with CRCC Asia, a leading global provider of internships abroad, Elaine landed a remote internship with PaylessGate Inc., a technology company in Osaka, Japan. With a mission to “make the world happy with seamless experience,” the PaylessGate Inc. internship has provided Elaine with an opportunity to translate company materials and presentations from the Japanese language to English. With her help, the company will be better situated to market in the United States post-pandemic by localizing applications and branding to be easily converted to the English language. Considering this is a remote opportunity, Elaine finds herself immersed in the language, despite the time difference, by speaking and emailing directly with the CEO, Yasuhiko Adachi.
Elaine is in awe of the cultural experience she has gained. “At one point, I thought: ‘well I guess I’ll just enjoy my summer, and hang out,’ but I am really glad that I chose to find something else, and that I found this opportunity,” she says. “The work itself has been very challenging. Technical translation is something that I had not had experience with before this, and specifically within the technology field, which I was also unfamiliar with. Over the course of the last three weeks, I feel like I have learned so much.”
Although the work itself has been challenging, it was also rewarding and Elaine expresses appreciation for the remote experience in translation. Despite the change from her original plans, Elaine was able to attain both her personal and professional goals, and the internship provided the preparation she needed for the Japanese-language proficiency test that she will be taking in December. Hoping to work in Japan post-graduation in the field of translation, Elaine looks to the Japanese Government's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) scholarship, which provides students the opportunity to enroll in Japanese universities, which will enable her to complete a master’s degree for free.
“I think the biggest take away from it right now, is how accessible it can be to have an international experience. I think as somebody that has a chronic disability, and mobility issues, thankfully I am in a spot right now where going abroad was a possibility, and it would've been fine,” said Elaine. “But having those issues does make it difficult, and so knowing that there's programs like this is really amazing. I can be here in the comfort and safety of my own home, but still have a connective, immersive experience in another culture, language, and country. Technology really is magical.”