Internship Program

Beginning in 2013, we have had a team of interns working with us. They receive credit for their work as well as a scholarship to study the Way of Tea here at Japan House. They develop and implement outreach programs, develop online resources, handle social media and communications and help with the garden. With the very first programs the students planned and coordinated, the level of interest and attendance by student population increased exponentially. This student-based initiative has strongly increased recognition across the student community and provided the interns with a powerful experience in cultural understanding and public outreach. It has been an absolute joy to work with these students and we are excited every fall to welcome a new group of interns!


Check out the Japan House Interns blog

Meet Our Interns

Fall 2015 — Spring 2016

Annie Chen

Jeffrey Elem

Jeffrey is a sophomore from Lake County, IL, majoring in Music Composition. In his free time, Jeffrey likes to learn new ways or methods to compose music. Jeffrey’s interest in Japanese culture stems from watching Hayao Miyazaki films. Those movies prompted him to read a few books about Japan to gain further cultural understanding. Jeffrey thinks that being a Japan House Intern will give him better organization and inspire his imagination. He plans to work in games, films, and television shows as a composer and sound designer. Interestingly enough, Jeffrey is great at making up random stories.

Ester Fang

Ester Fang

Ester Fang in a senior in Political Science from Naperville, IL. In her free time, Ester loves learning new languages and reading. Japan House has been on Ester’s radar since she was a freshman. A good friend of hers took “Chado: Way of Tea” class then and she was enraptured by her accounts about each class. Ester hopes that being at Japan House will engrain in her the art of slow appreciation. Each academic year can be so packed that the stress is overwhelming. Every time she arrives at the entrance path that leads to the main entrance, Ester suddenly is able to unwind and forget about the next appointment, looming deadline, or pressing demands. She feels as if she can take a deep breath and put her attention into the simplistic joy of serving tea, planning exciting events, or even folding a paper crane. Ester hopes to harness these moments throughout the year long program and in turn remember to slow down, exhale, and find beauty in every facet of her life even when this internship comes to a close. After graduation, Ester plans on going to graduate school for international relations or foreign service with an end goal of becoming a Foreign Service Officer. She would also love to go WWOOFing all around the world or work in the magazine publishing industry. Ester has traveled to over 20 countries and she doesn’t plan on stopping!

Xiaoyue (Della) Han

Xiaoyue (Della) Han

Della is a senior in Accounting and Finance from China. In her free time Della enjoys making handcrafts. She likes to collect discarded material such as nice glass bottles, paper boxes and gift wrap, and create things out of these materials. She also explores different art forms when she does handcraft or drawing. Della’s other interest is traveling, from which she can learn different arts directly from other cultures. Della’s interest of Japanese Culture starts from the influence from her older sister who is a manga fan. As Della got older, her interest in Japanese culture extended beyond animations. She started to take East Asian Cultural classes and learn Japanese. The deeper she learns, the more she likes the Japanese culture. For Della, the most direct impact of being a Japan House Intern will be improving her communication skills. The Japan House Internship program provides Della an opportunity to reach out to people from different age groups and different professions. This experience trains her to be a better communicator that can effectively connect with various of people. Della’s future plan is to pursue a higher education in finance and continue her passion of contributing to finance and economics research. Also, she will not give up her enthusiasm of art. Della hopes one day she can have accomplishments in art and handcrafts. In her spare time, Della likes to learn different musical instruments. She is currently a self-learner of Ukulele.

Stephanie Kohn

Stephanie Kohn

Stephanie Kohn is a junior in Specialized Chemistry from the Chicago suburbs. In her free time, Stephanie enjoys creative projects, reading both novels and manga, and dancing. Stephanie became interesting in Japan House when she was brought to a tea ceremony and fell in love with it immediately. Since her first encounter with Japan House she has been to many tea ceremonies, calligraphy classes, open houses and has joined the tea ceremony study group. She has always been interested in Japanese culture thanks to her parents for bringing her to a Japanese supermarket, and reading manga. Stephanie expects to learn leadership and good communication skills, as well as learning more about Japanese culture. Being an intern at Japan House will also boost her ability to work creatively with projects. In accordance with her major, she plans to earn her doctorate in chemistry and become a forensic chemist in the future. It has been a dream of hers for a long time to use science to solve crimes and she hopes to find innovative ways to speed up lab processing time. Stephanie loves all things adorable, from popular Japanese mascots to anything in pink.

Emma Li

Emma Li

Emma Li is a senior in Journalism from Taiwan. In her free time, Emma loves watching television dramas and movies. When traveling, she loves taking photos with her Canon camera. She also likes learning about other countries’ cultures. 
 An encounter with former interns Linna and Annie got her interested in the Japan House internship program. Coincidentally, both of them were interviewees of her journalism projects. They shared a lot about what happens at the Japan House and how they learned a lot through the program. Emma was amazed by their stories which later motivated her to seize the opportunity when Japan House was recruiting for new interns. One of the things that she finds fascinating about the Japanese culture is the politeness that she finds in every Japanese person. She thinks they are so welcoming and polite which is why Emma had a really good impression when she visited the country. Japan House internship program has encouraged Emma to be more outgoing and organized when it comes to event planning. Her biggest expectation of being part of the internship program is getting to know the Japanese culture in different aspects. She and the other interns have tried making sweets, serving tea, learning how to properly dressed in yukata, etc. Emma would like to work abroad and have a job that’s media and communication related. A perfect job for Emma would be helping with the communication between her boss and foreign businesses. Emma can speak multiple languages including Chinese, English, German and French. 



Ashriel Loh

Ashriel Loh

Ashriel Loh is a freshman in Computer Science from Singapore. In her free time, Ashriel likes playing and listening to music (piano and ocarina), learning foreign languages (Japanese and Korean), drawing, reading, writing fiction, ice skating, swimming, dancing and singing. She also enjoys working on her RPGs and/or video games. Ashriel has always loved Japanese culture ever since she was a child. The language, the music, the pop culture, the history and the lifestyle... oh, and the food! When she found Japan House she was absolutely ecstatic to discover they had an internship program! Although Ashriel’s interest in Japanese culture had led to a lot of self-research and involvement in Japanese cultural groups, she wants to immerse herself even more in the beauty of all things Japanese. Japan House is a great way to broaden her cultural horizons and help gain insight and knowledge into this culture that she has always been so fascinated by. The tea ceremony in particular has always interested her, but it can be difficult to understand and experience without seeing one in person. Now she even gets to participate in them, and hopes to learn a lot more about the tea ceremony and Japanese culture in general. She would love to work in the gaming industry. She hopes to pursue a minor in Japanese language and do a study abroad program in Japan sometime in during college life. Ashriel has a webcomic, which is both written and illustrated by her. She loves to sing in foreign languages (particularly Japanese).

Holly Situ

Holly Situ

Holly Situ is a sophomore in Advertising from Chicago, IL. In her free time, Holly enjoys biking, art and cultural events, local music shows, painting, photography, fandom conventions, collecting stickers and pins, and service. Holly went to Matsuri last year as a freshman when she saw a flyer for it. She was shocked to see traditional Japanese style tea house in Central Illinois and wanted to be more involved. Holly is interested in Japanese culture since she is a fan of the modern and pop culture of Japanese culture, especially through anime, manga, music, fashion and food. Being a Japan House Intern inspired Holly to be more self-reflective and more wary around her surroundings. Through this experience, Holly tries to refine her actions and take the time to do things well. Also, she has found a fondness towards the Japanese Tea Ceremony and traditional aesthetics in general. Holly had no expectations since she knew she would enjoy the program no matter what was thrown at her. In the future, Holly wants to take more classes and just be more involved with Japan House after this internship. She plans on study abroad in East Asia, hopefully to Japan, next spring. Holly’s future plans are to continue her major in Advertising and hopes to work at a design firm or non-profit organization, and having a small gallery or publication as a side. Holly had had two pieces of art displayed in two museums during her time in high school.