Japanese Host Company Frequently Asked Questions

(Japanese version)

This page provides answers to Japanese host companies' frequently asked questions. If you have additional questions, please contact Program Coordinator Dr. Ritsuko Hirai. We are happy to assist you in exploring and developing an internship program.

I. Background of the Japan Internship Program

Q1: How long is the internship?
A: The internship lasts approximately 10 weeks. (Because of the Caltech academic calendar, most internships last 10 weeks.)

Q2: Can the internship be longer or shorter than 10 weeks?
A: Yes. Companies may consult with the student intern if they wish to work a longer or shorter term.

Q3: When does it begin and end, and why does it fall on those dates?
A: The internship begins the middle of the third week in June and ends the last week in August. The start date is determined by the end of Caltech's spring quarter and commencement. The students also need time pack up their rooms and leave campus.

Q4: What is the main purpose of the Caltech internship?
A: Since Caltech is a premier research institution, our students have excellent academic credentials and research skills. Students work with Japanese companies on industrial projects and they, in turn, learn about Japanese culture, advance their language skills, and develop friendships with colleagues.

Q5: How do students find out about the Japan Internship Program?
A: The program is advertised on the Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences website, posters around campus, and an information session in early October. Students who are taking Japanese 1 (Elementary Japanese) are also encouraged by the instructor to attend the information session.

II. Background of Intern Applicants

Q6: What are the students' majors? 
A: The options (majors) available at Caltech are (subject to change):

Applied and Computational Mathematics
Applied Physics and Materials Science
Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics
Business, Economics & Management
Chemical Engineering
Computer Science
Electrical Engineering
Engineering & Applied Science
History and Philosophy of Science
Inorganic Chemistry
Mechanical Engineering
Organic Chemistry
Planetary Science
Political Science
Process systems

Q7: Which options are most popular for the internship?
A: Popular options are:

  • Computer Science (CS)
  • Chemical Engineering (ChE), Biology (Bi), Computation & Neural Science (CNS)
  • Electrical Engineering (EE) and General Engineering (E)
  • Physics (Ph), Math (Ma), Chemistry (Ch), and Aeronautics (Ae).

Q8: What type of student is interested in the Japan internship?
A: Students interested in the internship are usually very eager to learn about Japanese business and culture. They are highly motivated students who are quick learners and excel in any tasks they undertake.

Q9: What kind of academic training do they have? 
A: Students typically have completed their freshman and sophomore years at Caltech, have completed all of their core courses (math, physics, chemistry, and biology), and have begun taking upper-level courses in their specific option.

Q10: Can they perform research? 
A: Yes, Caltech is a world-class research institution specializing in developing future scientists. Most students have already conducted fundamental research in courses and with faculty research projects.

Q11: Do they have a background Japanese language and culture? 
A: Students must have basic Japanese language capability (approximately two years at Caltech). Only those students who are capable of living in Japan without difficulty will be accepted.

III. Selection Procedure & Pairing of Interns with Host Companies

Q12: How are interns selected? 
A: Interns must apply to the Internship Program Office by mid-October. Those applicants that meet the program requirements are interviewed by faculty and staff in November. Students are chosen based on their academic background, research capability, and Japanese language skill.

Q13: How are students matched up with companies? 
A: Students are matched with companies based on their option (major) and the research project of the host Japanese company. Resumes are sent out in late October to companies that have committed to host a student (minus contact information). The companies then rank the resumes. Please note: Interviews take place after resumes have been submitted to companies, so some students may be disqualified in the interview process.

Q14: Can a company turn down a student based on his/her nationality, gender, etc.? 
A: No. U.S. law prohibits hiring discrimination of employees based on race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation.

IV. Contract

Q15: How does the company learn whether the student accepted the intern position? 
A: The company makes the job offer in writing or verbally, and then the student sends a letter to the company formally accepting the position.

Q16: Who is responsible for the student contract? 
A: This is a contract between the company and the student; therefore it is the student's responsibility.

Q17: What does Caltech do when the student doesn't follow the contract? 
A: This would violate Caltech's Honor System and will be handled internally.

V. Internship Compensation

Q18: What is the average compensation to the intern?
A: The average compensation to the intern is room and board, meals, transportation to/from dormitory to work, and approximately 100,000 Yen per month.

Q19: How does the company notify Caltech of the student's compensation? 
A: Companies submit a completed Company Data Sheet. The data sheet (provided by Caltech), outlines to the student about the internship project, transportation, meals, housing, etc.

VI. Meetings

Q20: What is the Intern Information Seminar and what is its purpose? 
A: The Intern Information Seminar is an open house for Japanese companies to learn about Caltech and its students. The program is introduced and former student participants present slides and an overview of their experience to faculty, staff, prospective interns, and companies. Japanese companies are invited to attend if travel permits, but they usually send local representatives if available. Interested Caltech faculty, the Dean of Students, and administrators often attend the seminar to hear about students experiences in Japan.

Q21: What is the Luncheon in Tokyo and what is its purpose?
A: Caltech hosts a luncheon in Tokyo for all of the interns, their company hosts, and supervisors. Its purpose is threefold: 1) To show appreciation to the Japanese companies and the supporters of the program; 2) to review how well each company and their student intern are doing (in the beginning stages of the internship); and 3) for Caltech students to get an opportunity to get together.

Q22: Who is responsible for the students' transportation to the Luncheon and accommodation in Tokyo? 
A: The companies are responsible for the student's transportation to/from Tokyo. Caltech will arrange accommodation for the students.

Q23: What other activities take place after the Luncheon? 
A: Supporters of the Internship Program take the students around Tokyo to places such as the Kabuki Theater.

VII. Visa Procedure

Q24: How does the student apply for his/her visa? 
A: Students submit to the Internship Program Office a Visa application form, two photos, and their passport. The IPO in turn, will submit this with Visa documents from the company, and a Certificate of Studentship to the Japanese Embassy. The Japanese Embassy will then put a Visa stamp in the student's passport and mail it back to the IPO.

Q25: What kinds of documents does the company need to prepare? 
A: Caltech will provide the companies with an outline of documents necessary for the Visa (examples available upon request). The company would then prepare the documents with detailed information about the internship.

Q26: When does the company turn in their documents to Caltech? 
A: Documents should be submitted as soon as possible. (They should arrive no later than 2-3 months prior to the start of the internship.)

VIII. Health Insurance Policy / Student Departure

Q27: Does Caltech cover an intern's health insurance in Japan?
A: No. Interns themselves must provide health insurance that can be used in Japan.
Note for students: Check with your current provider for details on coverage overseas.

Q28: How are students prepared for traveling to Japan? 
A: The students will attend a pre-departure meeting where handouts and checklists are reviewed. At that time, students would ask any last minute questions they may have about their internship.