Challenging but really Rewarding – Jonathan Freiermuth

 

I began my tenure as an RIJ intern in January of this year, and I feel
that it has truly been one of the best professional decisions I’ve
made in my working life. I had experience in researching topics
related to refugees, humanitarian assistance, and developmental aid
programs in my time at university, but I had very little knowledge
about how an NGO which works on such issues actually operated. Because
of this, I was delighted when Jane gave me the opportunity to work
with RIJ so I could see first-hand the role which non-profits play in
delivering meaningful change to people’s lives.

Strengths of working with a small-scale NGO/NPO like RIJ, availed
themselves to me more and more along the way of my internship period.
One of the most noticeable features of the organization which I feel
sets RIJ apart from larger organizations is its ability to more
quickly adapt to emerging humanitarian crises around the world. I also
really enjoyed the amount of freedom which a smaller-scale operation
like RIJ has in choosing which projects it chooses to fund, whether
they be humanitarian assistance in Myanmar, human capital development
in Kenya, or education assistance in Lebanon. RIJ has a much broader
range of possibilities for its future programs when compared against
other NGO’s with a more specific focus, and this really makes me feel
that RIJ’s programs can be tailor-made for different communities, and
that will ultimately lead to the most effective change for their
resident’s lives in the long-run.

The effectiveness of working in and with a small team was really
great. Everyone I met at RIJ was extremely committed to doing their
best, and it really showed in the quality of the work they were able
to achieve. We all had the option to choose a task which we felt most
interested in to help RIJ continue to succeed, and this really helped
to highlight our individual talents and interests. But equally so, I
was also able to combine the work I was doing with my fellow intern’s
and this lead to some really effective collaboration along the way.
Because of this, there is a high chance that individuals who choose to
intern at RIJ will be able to develop their personal abilities and
strengthen their competency in translating their personal interests
into a private sector environment, while also becoming a more
effective team player in the process.

The task which I chose to undertake during my time here at RIJ was
Corporate Social Responsibility – or CSR – research, and I believe I
was able to apply my skills as a researcher in a really effective way.
I primarily conducted corporate research of small, medium, and large
Japanese companies to discover if they would make good candidates to
reach out to for our corporate fundraising program. While it was time
consuming, and at times challenging – especially when I ran into
dead-ends – I feel that in the end, I was able to find a number of
really good companies for RIJ to be able to work with in the future.
I’m glad to know that my research work could someday translate into
someone’s life being meaningfully changed for the better. It really
does make me personally feel like I’ve made a difference.

Working with RIJ has provided me with an invaluable experience which I
will take with me to my future work environments. I now feel like I’ve
learned a lot about how NGO’s operate, and this gives me confidence
that I will be able to enter this line of work again in the future.
But equally, my comfortability level with a private-sector work
environment has also been rapidly developed in my time here. All in
all, I am now far better equipped to handle a broader array of
challenges in the working world than I was when I stepped into the
office 3 months ago, for that, I only have RIJ to thank, and I look
forward to working with them again when I return to Tokyo in the
not-too-distant future.

 

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