unfortunately, my review of Meiji is not going to be the most positive, but hopefully people reading who are thinking of doing an internship with Meiji will take what i say into consideration.
i first contacted Meiji in September of 2022, and i wanted to start my internship in Japan by March 2023. i have never been to university and i was looking to do an internship in the fashion field because i was considering going to study fashion at a higher level after i finished the internship. upon meeting with Meiji they asked me if i had been to university, and when i told them i hadnt, they informed me i wouldnt be able to do an internship in the field i wanted because of my lack of university degree. in hindsight, i understand this, as fashion is a specialised subject and should require a bit of prior experience, however there was nothing on Meiji's website that could have informed me of this. they present you with a long list of possible paths for you to choose, only for you to be extremely limited in your options if you have not/are not in university. you may be thinking that the whole point of doing an internship with Meiji is to gain a university accredited internship, however in their FAQs they explicitly say that you do not need to be enrolled in a university or have a university degree, they only say you need to be between ages 17 and 30. so after being told i wouldnt be able to do my chosen internship, i was told i had 4 options; childcare, hospitality and tourism, PR and marketing, and business development. obviously none of these were what i had intended, but i decided to go ahead and continue with the internship as it would be good experience to put on my CV anyhow. after choosing my fields and paying the deposit to Meiji, i didnt hear anything back about an interview until late December. this was fine because i knew that contacting and setting up interviews with companies would take some time. my first interview with my potential host company unfortunately couldnt go ahead because of a technical fault, so i contacted Meiji to see if they could reschedule the interview. now its important to remember that the organisation of my internship fell over christmas and new year, so i was expecting some traffic around this time. i waited until the 7th of January to see if i got any news from Meiji but i hadnt received any emails from them. i waited another week just in case they were being unintentionally slow with getting back to me. after i had received nothing from them again i decided to email them, simply asking if they'd heard anything and that i'd really appreciate a response. after sending this email i wait a week but i still dont receive any reply. i sent them another prompt, being sure to not sound pushy or rude, yet i still didnt get a reply from them. after another week i sent them another email, this time i was pretty frustrated and annoyed considering it was the beginning of february and i was meant to be starting in March and i still had no solid arrangements in place. im not ashamed to say my email was angry considering they had left me in the dark for a whole month, while they had been active on their social media platforms, therefore telling me they were in fact working, and just ignoring my emails. after i sent this email i received a response a day later, confirming my rescheduled interview. after my interview i was really excited because i really liked the sound of the company that interviewed me and i was ready to go. 3 weeks go by and its a couple of weeks before i'm meant to start and i had no news from Meiji or my host company. i understand that the host company were probably just being unintentionally slow with getting back to me, but i now had no time left before i was meant to travel. after informing Meiji of my worries they told me that i would have to pay an admin fee of about £150 to change the date of my internship. i had to pay this because THEY were too slow to get back to me in the new year. i had to pay them for their incompetence. this was extremely out of line to me but i paid the fee nonetheless just to avoid any kind of dispute or drama. luckily in the next couple of weeks i was told that the company i interviewed with wanted to host my internship. i gladly accepted and paid the full amount of money to secure my accommodation. i booked my flights and contacted Meiji again to tell them my flight information. after sending it i received an email about a week later asking me to send my flight details to them. this was annoying to me but i sent the details again anyway. ANOTHER week later they send me another email again asking me to send my flight details. i send them one last time and luckily they didnt ask for them again. all through this i have not had any information about where i will be living. this makes me nervous because i believe it's an early foot that needs to drop when travelling abroad, and yet here i am 2 weeks from leaving for Japan, a country i have never been to before, and i have no idea where ill be living for 3 months. Meiji continue in this fashion until 5 days before my flight to give me the details of my accommodation. and this is after i have asked them multiple times to confirm my accommodation. this may have been completely my fault, but i was under the impression that i would be living with other Meiji interns after reading a lot of reviews, as well as Meiji's implication on their website that i would be meeting plenty of other interns/i would make plenty of friends. i emailed them to confirm this and they told me they had no idea who i would be living with, and that it could be anyone from foreigners to native Japanese people. at this point, i was strongly considering cancelling the whole thing because of Meiji's incompetence and slow responses. they consistently let me down with helping me, making me pay a fee because of their own issues, and then repeatedly leaving me in the dark. in the end i decided to see it through and go anyway because losing the money at this point would be a real problem. to their credit, Meiji did organise a car to pick me up at the airport and take me to my accommodation, and locate me in a great neighbourhood that was very safe and i was never worried about being a young solo female traveller. after i landed in Tokyo they kept their correspondence with me to a minimum. they pretty much dropped me in and left me to figure everything out by myself. they did supply me with a travel card and a japanese sim card which was greatly appreciated, but in terms of getting to my office i was completely left to figure it out by myself. i understand that natives of Japan don't realise that navigating Tokyo as a foreigner is extremely challenging and daunting, but i think they should have taken into account that i am a young woman in a foreign country to which ive never been and provided me with a little more support. in terms of my actual internship, i think it was pretty disappointing. their would be periods where i had absolutely no work, and my boss was near impossible to get into contact with as she was almost always travelling. when i did have work it was a pleasure and genuinely so enjoyable, but those times were few and far-between. bear in mind i was here for 3 months. the quiet moments were almost silent and the hectic moments were incredibly overwhelming and stressful. the things i enjoyed about my internship had nothing to do with Meiji, so i can't give them too much praise. the parts that were the best were the things that i had sought out and done myself. upon leaving Tokyo i received no emails from Meiji i expected some admin work i had to do for leaving my accommodation, or just a friendly email to say goodbye, but there was radio silence on their end. it was a very bittersweet end to my time in Japan because of this. i would say to anyone planning to go with Meiji to Japan that i think you'll have a better time going independently, or with another internship company, as Meiji really dont give you anything you couldnt have gotten yourself. i loved the country and Japan really is a wonderful place, but this isnt a review of Japan, this is a review of Meiji Internships. the one word i would associate with Meiji is disorganised. they consistently let me down and barely offered me any support. on the plus side, this experience is sure to make you feel more independent and help you grow as a person. im willing to admit that i'm an outlier, as almost everyone else ive seen who used Meiji absolutely loved them, but that just wasnt the case for me. i hope this review has helped potential travellers make a decision about using Meiji.