Tiffany Chua’s Japan Experience

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At the start of the year (2010), I never thought that I would become an intern at Kyoto Shinkin Bank. I was interested in learning about economics and banking but I thought that I would only learn about these concepts from books. It never occurred to me to apply for an internship at a bank.

Until February of this year, I was an exchange student at Nagoya Gakuin University. When I got back from the short-term exchange student program, I received an email from my friend who is part of AIESEC at my university. He told me that there’s an internship in Japan and that it’s related to banking and economics. Since he knew that I was interested in marketing and economics, he thought that I might be interested in this kind of internship.

Being in Japan a second time felt so different from before. This time, I was going to the office everyday and writing reports about the things that I learned. I felt more independent!

Because I had no previous background in economics, I had to be taught even the most basic of concepts. On top of that, I had to learn these concepts in Japanese. Since I was interested in how economics and banking affect how people act, being able to interact with everyone that I encountered in the internship became a priceless experience. Through my everyday struggle with the language and learning about economics and banking, I believe that I have grown as a person.

Doing an internship with Kyoto Shinkin Bank made me realize that not only can I learn about concepts, I was also able to learn about relationships as well. Kyoto Shinkin Bank prizes its relationships with its customers more than making a profit. That, for me, is very noble.

When I trained with the different departments at Kyoto Shikin Bank, I realized that everything that the bank did was either for the environment, for the Japanese culture, or for its customers. Just last month, Kyoto Shinkin renovated one of its branches, Hirakata Branch, to include solar panels and a device that utilizes the wind to generate power. In addition, the bank supports small and medium sized enterprises (SME) that are environmental in nature, and enterprises that promote and maintain Japanese traditional arts, crafts, and culture. These include Japanese fans, different kinds of tea, pottery, kimono, traditional textile dyeing methods, temples, art restoration, and more.

From its relationship with its customers to its bigger role in Japan’s banking and economics, Kyoto Shinkin Bank does its best to excel.

Even among its customers, Kyoto Shinkin is very highly regarded. All the people that I have talked to regarding Kyoto Shinkin have emphasized again and again how valuable the bank is to the community. More than being just a bank, it’s like a friend that you can rely on. A friend who will be there not only to deal with your financial needs, but who is also there to listen to your problems and other needs.

Because of this internship, I learned more about money, banking, and economic, and even about different kinds of relationships (between a bank and its customers, between employees of the same institution, and so on…). I was also able to experience being in a different kind of environment, thus helping me have a wider view of the world.

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