Staff Spotlight: Betty Sighinolfi

Marketing Intern


Betty started her education in France, then moved to Japan and finally went to Sweden to complete her Master’s degree in Asian Studies. Having been an international student more than once, she perfectly understands students’ and young professionals’ expectations when it comes to studying abroad and internships. She now works at Meiji Academy and helps ambitious people start off their journey in Japan.

What is your favorite travel memory?

I think that my best travel memory was volunteering in Okinawa, Japan’s southernmost archipelago. I went to Okinawa for the first time when I was still a student at Kyushu University, Fukuoka. I spent two weeks working in a bed & breakfast run by a very charismatic lady. She was not only the best cook ever but also a very friendly person who taught me a lot about plants and their multiple uses.

I worked there with two other volunteers from Taiwan, and during our free time, we were exploring the nearby islands together, going paddle boarding, snorkeling, etc. For a few days, we also welcomed a group of young children, and we organized different activities for them like a huge barbecue and suikawari game (it’s like playing piñata but with a watermelon instead). The teachers, as well as the kids, were all lovely people. Getting to meet so many friendly faces on such a small island was an unforgettable experience!

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I think that my experience at Meiji Academy has taught me a lot about real-world challenges and how to deal with them in an efficient way. I’ve learnt that there are more than one or two perspectives and that it’s important to always see the whole picture of things. Also, I’ve learned a lot about the startup culture! It’s a lot of fun to work in a fast-growing industry. Especially in the case of Meiji Academy, it means that we are helping an increasing number of people to achieve their dream in Japan.

I did Study Abroad myself for a few years, so with this job, I really do enjoy helping students start their journey in Japan as I did once.

We as individuals have a lot to learn from others, and now I’ve come to realize that others can also benefit from our own personal experience.

International exchanges are the way to promote multicultural awareness and appreciation.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Living abroad even for a short period of time is always a life-changing experience. We’ve had some students who found love here or were offered a job upon completion of their internship. However, the best story I’ve heard from a student is that of a young professional who came to study Japanese in Fukuoka and meet his friend who married a Japanese woman. The young couple had recently settled in Fukuoka prefecture to run a farm.

Our student went there several times to help around so when local farmers eventually had a get-together kind of barbecue, they also invited him to join and indulge in some local delicacies. He definitely had a blast and said that he’d come back soon to work with those farmers. I think they have kind of adopted him.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

Although I have literally fallen in love with the sunny port city of Fukuoka, I would definitely choose the Explore Japan Internship Program. I myself came from a very small town, so even though I do enjoy Japanese big cities a lot, I’d rather live and work in a human size city where it is easy to build strong relationships with local people along the way. I believe this is the best way to have an authentic experience, and learn firsthand about Japan’s traditional culture and way of life.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

What is unique about Meiji Academy is that we provide fully customizable internship programs so we can ensure that people get a placement in both the city and industry of their choice. All of our programs are very flexible and tailored to the needs of people who trust us to help them land a rewarding internship. We want our students/interns to feel listened to; the team is genuinely passionate and devoted to helping students and young professionals alike to take on a leadership role.

During one’s education, doing an internship abroad is the first step of their professional journey, and I am proud that Meiji Academy has helped so many ambitious students achieve their dream of working and living in Japan.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I believe that there are two inherently linked factors in being a successful company. First, you have to believe in what you do, and second, you must always listen to your customers’ needs. If you are genuinely passionate about your job, and your passion is driven by the will to exceed your customers’ expectations, then your company will surely achieve amazing things, and you’ll gain the satisfaction of seeing your efforts pay off!