PHOTO:Andrew Trinh
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Intern’s Profile

Andrew is from the United States of America, currently studying at the University of California, Berkeley. He is pursuing a Bachelor degree in Computer Science. Andrew interned with us at our Internet of Things R&D Center at Osaka Works for 10 weeks.

Why did you want to intern at Sumitomo Electric?

One of the things I enjoyed doing at school is research. This internship was not just relevant to the research field that I liked but it was also an opportunity to live in Japan for 10 weeks. I felt that in the future, it would be highly unlikely for me to be able to just get up and leave my life for 10 weeks to be in another country, so choosing this opportunity became a no-brainer. It was unforgettable and I certainly made the right decision.

What has been the most interesting thing you have learnt from this internship?

An aspect of this internship that I didn’t anticipate was the true variety of people from other places in the world. Conversation among the interns was often about our differences, similarities, and the small cultural nuances in each of our lives. So, in addition to being immersed in Japanese culture and working life here, I had a small window into life in other countries through each of the other interns. As a result of that, as cheesy as it may be, the most interesting and invaluable thing I obtained from this internship was a better understanding of my place in the world.

What was a typical workday like for an intern at SEI?

A typical workday was waking up early in the morning to catch the 7.00 am train where I am surrounded and cramped with several other people who are doing just the same. Arriving at work, I get dressed into a uniform and proceed with my tasks. Every week I had an incremental task to do that worked towards completing my overall objective. I interacted with my mentor and supervisor regularly, occasionally made presentations, and programmed a lot. My lunch was often with the other interns and the general grind of working towards tasks is rinsed and repeated until the end of the day at 5.15 pm.

How has the internship help shaped your career?

The internship was a glimpse into what deep learning research is like in the industry. As opposed to studying material purely for the sake of knowledge and understanding, the reality at SEI, was research for real world application. For some this could be a motivator but truthfully, this deterred me from application focused research. I tinkered with code and hacked software together to produce real theory-based applicable software but it lacked the rigor that I missed in academia. Regardless, I learned a lot during my internship and got familiar with new topics. From that, I have decided to stay with academic research and software engineering for industry.

What advice do you have for future students considering to participate in this internship?

The goal of any internship should be to learn and grow. There’s no doubt that you’ll achieve both during this internship. You’ll learn a lot about Japanese culture, your possible career trajectories, and above all else the lives of people from different parts of the world. The experience and knowledge I gained in my field undoubtedly guided my future. On top of that, the entire duration of the internship was a very culturally introspective experience.

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