Internship Experience|Hana Toyosaki

Hana and Nonoka, who are currently doing an internship in Colombia, introduce what they have been doing since their arrival!


We have now spent about a week in Bogota starting from August 16th. While in Bogota, our main activities were to attend Japanese language classes at the Universidad de los Andes and to promote culture at Japan Center.

The campus of the University of Los Andes was vast, with cafes, accessory stands, and mobile stores selling things to eat and drink. Students can spend time on the lawn or in the cafes. Once I bought lunch from a store on campus, I was able to taste everything as I walked around, with bread at the top, pasta below that, and juice in a partitioned box further down. I thought this was the perfect lunch for students who need to move around the vast grounds.

What surprised me at the university was the reaction of the students when the earthquake occurred. When we were at the Japan Center, we felt a quake of about 1 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale. In Japan, earthquakes are not infrequent, so a little shaking does not make us think anything of it. But at that time, there was a big commotion, with students and staff all gathering outside the building to call their families and friends, and my friends sending me messages of concern for my safety. I was very surprised by the situation, although I was aware that earthquakes rarely occur in Colombia.

On the weekend, with my host family and friends, I visited a hill called “Monserrate” near the University of Los Andes. Monserrate is about 3,100 meters above sea level and has a large church at the top. We took a train like a cable car up to the top, which ran along the slope of the mountain, and enjoyed a panoramic view of the city at dusk. The view from the observation deck a short distance up after getting off the cable car was so beautiful, magnificent, and impressive that a photograph would be inadequate. I was out of breath walking to the top, but my host families were walking with calm faces as if nothing had happened, and I felt the toughness of people who usually live in a city at an altitude of about 2,600 meters. Of course, the view from Monserrate was wonderful, but I also felt the warmth of the Colombian culture, in which family and friends casually hang out with each other without knowing each other well.