My name is Erika Evatt, and I’m a Gilman alumni ambassador for the 2021-2022 academic year.
When I was junior attending Ohio State, I wanted to do a yearlong study abroad in Japan for my senior year. In the end, Covid happened and my trip cancelled, but I was provided a different option. I ended up doing an online internship with a non-profit located in Tokyo called YouMeWe NPO. Its mission is to help orphans in Tokyo, the Philippines, and Ghana become financially independent to achieve higher education or to find a job. In addition, they provide educational and mental health services.
The thought of working virtually made me worried. I was worried that I would not make any friends or learn as much. To my surprise, I became close with everyone and this opportunity allowed me to strengthen my Japanese skills to communicate effectively with coworkers and customers, assist with translation, and better understand Japan’s work culture.
The non-profit I worked for was located in Tokyo, but there were many workers from all over the world. I really liked the work I was doing there so after my internship was over, I decided to stay and continue my work there.
My boss helped write a letter of recommendation to graduate school and I am now getting my master’s in business. I thanked my boss for his help and told him where I was planning to attend. To my surprise, an intern I have been working with also goes to the same school. After moving to my new University, we met up and now hangout regularly.
I am so grateful for my experience. At first I wished I was able to go abroad, but I gained so much knowledge and met so many great individuals. It made me realize that no matter where in the world you are, there are others who share the same passion as you and connecting virtually will allow you to meet those individuals anytime, anywhere.