Intensive language courses combined with an internship at a Japanese or German company to provide a springboard into the employment market – that is what sets apart the DAAD’s Language and Practical Experience in Japan programme, which will be sending off its 40th yearly intake of scholarship holders to Japan in October 2023. “Its business-oriented approach is what makes it a rather unusual programme within the DAAD’s portfolio,” says Axel Karpenstein, Director of the DAAD Regional Office Tokyo. It is also what makes it so successful: “So far we have had only positive experiences. Participants find great internship places despite this kind of work experience not being the norm in Japan.” Many of the 450 graduates who have completed the programme to date hold important positions and today serve as bridge builders in bilateral relations.
Scholarship holder Luise Stoltenberg has a PhD in sociology and is taking the intensive Japanese course in Tokyo. Soon she will begin her internship at a Japanese start-up in the tourism sector. “Ever since I went on holiday to Japan a few years ago I have been captivated by the country. I wanted to engage with Japanese society on a deeper level. I have learnt a great deal in my eight months here.” Though the programme is fairly small, providing only around ten scholarships per year, “every participant has a long-term influence on German-Japanese relations,” says Kiyofumi Horita, programme administrator at the DAAD Regional Office Tokyo. —