昨年8月に行われた今年度の日本語弁論大会で、優秀な成績を収めたJacobさんが、ソフトバンク (ST Solutions Australia Pty Ltd.) でのインターンシップレポートを送ってくださいましたので下記掲載します。
After participating in the 2022 Victorian Japanese Speech Contest, I was given the opportunity to undertake an internship at ST Solutions Australia Pty Ltd. As I am studying Computer Science at University this was a very exciting opportunity for me as I would be working directly with Softbank’s social humanoid ‘Pepper’ robots.
My internship took place over the course of a few months with going in a day or two a week, and I was blown away by how accommodating and how invested everyone at ST Solutions was at not only my internship experience but in investing in my future. My role at ST Solutions was to investigate the current implementation of the software that Pepper runs on and look at how we could leverage IOT capabilities to provide clients with better service.
Something that surprised me was that that though I thought my role would mainly involve programming, I found that the work which I undertook was more far reaching and made use of the skills I had acquired over the years from different domains, including my other major, Linguistics. As Pepper is a human-to-robot interface, a key component of designing projects on Pepper is to consider how the clients might want to use Pepper, and how Pepper can meet those needs. In essence, I was looking at how to construct natural dialogue between people and machines, which is a key goal for Pepper, making people’s lives easier and making new technology more accessible. This involved participating in discussions in meetings with colleagues, undertaking market research, experimentation, and looking at things from different perspectives.
One of the key components of development was to investigate what made Pepper special, and how we could best meet the needs of customers, the manner which ST Solutions approached this keenly reminded me of the Japanese culture of 武将隊 (omotenashi) both in the manner ST Solutions aimed to treat clients, and how they provided for me throughout the course of my internship and beyond. For this I will not be able to express properly in words how thankful I am to have had the opportunity to work at ST Solutions.
From my internship I gained many things, a few of which I have outlined briefly below:
- The opportunity to integrate into a unique Japanese-Australian workplace culture, utilizing Japanese phrase to build rapport with colleagues such as ‘お疲れ様’ (‘thank you for your hard work’, or ‘well done’)
- Practical experience working in a professional environment, especially in a team-oriented and self-driven settings.
- Insight into Japanese cultural perspectives and values, such as 武将隊.
- Effective goal setting and project management skills, particularly when undertaking self-driven work.
- How a company such as ST Solutions undertakes work, interacts with clients, and builds industry connections.
- Learning how a company’s values are determined by participating in group meetings relating to the company’s vision statement and outlook.
At the outset of this internship, I had a very different idea of what working in a Japanese company might look like, and now I feel that my connection to Japan has grown stronger than ever with a desire to give back for the kindness I have been shown.
In my speech at the Japanese Speech Contest, I spoke about being an ambassador for Japan in Australia, and now having undertaken an internship at ST Solutions, that desire is stronger than ever as I am thankful beyond words for my colleagues at ST Solutions, my internship supervisor Izuharaさん, the people of JCCIM/JCM, Iwasaki先生 from Monash University and everyone else involved who made this all possible.