Chang Zhang

Applied Physics

Intern at Transmission Devices Laboratory

Zhang Chang is from China, currently studying at the National University of Singapore. She is pursuing a Master degree in Applied Physics. Zhang Chang interned with us at our Transmission Devices Laboratory at Itami Works for 10 weeks.

Why did you want to intern at Sumitomo Electric?
I have always focused on my studies and never participated in an internship before. Since I would graduate next semester, I thought it might be necessary to accumulate some work experience through an internship. I also wanted to learn how to flexibly apply the knowledge I have learnt in school to actual production. Sumitomo Electric is famous and their manufacturing technology is very advanced. In addition, the description of the job is closely related to my major so I was sure that this global internship program could provide me with some professional training. Another point is that I like watching Japanese animation and dramas. Japanese culture is attractive to me so I wanted to experience it for myself.

What has been the most interesting thing you have learnt from this internship?
Our department's laboratories are very huge and well equipped. In order to test the performance of the materials, I needed to start from making samples by myself and learning how to operate all the relevant instruments. I am very fond of precision instruments, both their usage and construction.

But most of my work during college is simulating the experimental results through computer programs. Even with the opportunity to experiment, the instruments I used were not so diverse.

What was a typical workday like for an intern at SEI?
The work starts from 8.30 am and ends at 5.15 pm, so I always arrived at Itami Works a little bit earlier for some preparation and got off work on time. The transportation from the dorm to the company is convenient. There is one hour break at noon every day for lunch and rest. Every morning there is a simple safety education in my team because the company attaches great importance to production safety. Due to my research role, I spent more time experimenting in the lab’s clean room. The workload is determined according to the actual progress. While waiting for the results of the experiment, I can go back to the office to process the data, or learn how to operate other precision instruments in the lab. There is not much entertainment time at night because I need to go to bed early to ensure that I can be mettlesome the next day.

How has the internship help shaped your career?
First, the work schedule is regular and compact. In the university, especially as a graduate student, the timetable is more flexible, I can freely arrange daily research content according to the actual situation. The difference between weekdays and weekends is not obvious. But as an employee, I have to do my best to accept strict work arrangements, and spent time on personal interests only on weekends. Before this internship, I had some psychological preparation for this situation. Then, after being an intern, I am more certain that I am interested in hardware, instead of programming or data analysis. This is very meaningful for my career planning.

What advice do you have for future students considering to participate in this internship?
First, do not be afraid of language barriers. I am not a native English speaker, and I can’t speak Japanese at all. This is an opportunity to try, and the staff will try their best to help you from any aspect. If you get the internship, please take it seriously and respect the corporate culture. Finally, you will have enough time to visit nearby cities and enjoy Japanese culture during the weekends, so it’s better for you to collect related information in advance.