Summer Internship Program in Japan

The Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies (RI) and the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs coordinate a wide array of summer internship opportunities in Japan for Harvard students of any concentration who are in good academic standing and are returning for the fall semester as full-time students. As interns, students learn about the local culture of their city and workplace while contributing to a project defined by the host organization. Since 1988, over 400 students have contributed their skills and applied their knowledge to consulting and financial firms, startup companies, top Japanese universities, offices of parliamentary members and NGOs, educational organizations, and even to a traditional luxury ryokan.

Internships last a minimum of 8 weeks, usually from early June until early August. RI has limited internship positions available and cannot guarantee placement. Acceptance is contingent on finding a fit between available positions and applicants. Some Japanese language ability is preferred by most organizations. Preference is given to students enrolled in Japanese language courses and to first-time Japan internship holders.

Self-arranged Internships: Because we have limited internship positions available, we strongly encourage students, especially those who are interested in doing very specific projects or tasks, to arrange an internship in Japan on their own and apply to the Program for funding support only. Self-arranged internships must meet the minimum 8-week requirement. It is highly recommended that students who are looking to self-arrange their internships start the search process as early as October/November. Self-arranging students can seek advice from various entities at Harvard, including but not limited to the Office of Career Services, Harvard faculty, and the Harvard alumni network.

Applicants who are placed into the program will receive a grant package put together by the RI and the host organization, which includes round-trip discount airfare, housing accommodation, and a small subsidy for some meals. Maximum grant package value is $5,000.


1. Apply using CARAT, Harvard’s web-based application tool, at: After logging in with your Harvard credentials, select “Reischauer Institute Summer Internship Program in Japan” to start your application. The application requires:

1) One letter of recommendation
2) Internship form
3) One-page cover letter
4) Itemized travel budget sheet
5) Current one-page résumé
6) Current unofficial transcript
7) Confirmation letter from the host organization (only for self-arranged internships)

2. Submit your completed application on CARAT by Monday, January 8, 2017, 5 PM.

3. Students who submit their application by the deadline will be invited for an interview at the beginning of spring semester. Following the interview, students will be notified of their tentative acceptance, pending actual placement, into the Internship Program after Spring Recess. Students have 1 week from the date of the acceptance letter to accept or decline the offer.


1. Application must be supported by one letter of recommendation from someone at Harvard (e.g. faculty, teaching fellows, house tutors, advisers) who can speak to your character as well as your skills, strengths, and abilities in the workplace, in a foreign country, or in tackling a significant academic project. If requesting a recommendation from a Japanese language instructor, please provide the instructor with the “Language Instructor Reference” sheet, which is available here. Letter of recommendation may be uploaded and submitted directly into CARAT by faculty or via a proxy, or may be emailed directly to Jennie Kim (

2. Internship form is available here for download. Upon completion, applicants should print/save as a PDF file and upload the PDF on CARAT.

3. Cover letter should indicate applicant’s interest in working in Japan and explain how the experience will enhance applicant’s personal, academic, and/or professional growth. Applicants should also describe in detail what types of organizations interest them, what kind of projects/tasks they would like to do, and what kind of abilities and skills they would like to acquire from the internship.

4. Applicants who arrange their own internship directly with a host organization in Japan must negotiate housing and other work arrangements on their own. Applicants able to make such arrangements must obtain a letter of confirmation (PDF file ONLY) from their host stating the following: (1) Duration of the internship (must be at least 8 weeks to qualify for funding), (2) Duties and expectations of the intern, and (3) Expenses to be covered by the host. It may be submitted in English or Japanese. Applicants, not the host, then should submit the letter to Jennie Kim ( The letter can be submitted at a later time, separate from the main application; however, the main application must be submitted by the January deadline and the confirmation letter must be submitted by Friday, March 30, 2018, 5PM in order to be considered for RI funding.

5. We understand that there will be students who will find out about our internship program after the deadline has passed. If you are one of those students and are still interested in applying to the program, you must contact Jennie Kim ( immediately and submit an application no later than Monday, February 26, 2018, 5PM on CARAT. We will not accept any application beyond this deadline. Please note that students who submit their application by January deadline will be considered first for the limited positions and funding available.

6. You must inform the RI if you receive any other awards for the internship after you submit this application.

7. Any incomplete applications, or those that do not follow the instructions above will not be considered.


Monday, January 8, 2017, 5:00 PM on CARAT.

For further information, please contact the RI Program Coordinator: Jennie Kim (