a Public Health, Social Work, and Crisis Support in Japan | IE3 Global
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Public Health, Social Work, and Crisis Support in Japan | Tokyo, Japan

More photos from this internship can be found here.

More photos from this internship can be found here.

TELL (Tokyo English Life Line) has been serving the international community in Japan since 1973, and interns will gain valuable experience in a fast-paced, multicultural environment. Ideal for interns looking for a real-world perspective of how non-profits operate within the field of counseling, mental health services, fundraising, event planning, and public relations.

Internship Start Dates:

  • Flexible start dates each term

Duration of Internship:

  • 10-24 weeks

Since its establishment in Japan in 1973, TELL has been dedicated to providing world-class, effective support and counseling services to Japan’s international community and helping to address the country’s growing mental health care needs.

An accredited and certified non-profit organization, TELL’s vision is to be a leader in services and education by practicing state-of-the-art standards of care in the mental health field. Services include free phone counseling, professional face-to-face evaluations and therapy, and community-wide programs. For more information, visit TELL’s website.

Interns can expect to support a wide variety of areas during their time with TELL. All interns will help provide administrative and office support, participate in staff meetings, liaise with TELL partners and sponsors, participate in and help organize special projects and outreach programs, and support general website and media updates. Depending on the applicant’s availability and qualifications, TELL has a need for further support in the areas of marketing/event coordination and for their Lifeline counseling program.

Marketing and Events Intern (available all terms)

TELL holds a number of fundraising and awareness-building events each year, including: the TELL Charity Walk and Runathon, the Annual TELL Connoisseurs’ Auction, Band Nights for TELL, and other events in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe. Interns will work closely with TELL staff and volunteers to coordinate and provide administrative support before and after events, and to represent TELL during planning and execution. Interns may be involved with:

  • Planning and organization of events
  • Support for fundraising activities
  • Donor database management and donor communication
  • Promotion of special projects (suicide awareness programs) and community outreach programs (school awareness visits)
  • Social media and website updates, especially related to events

Lifeline Counseling Support Intern (minimum 12 week commitment required, only available in fall and spring)

TELL’s primary service is free, confidential telephone counseling available for anyone in Japan looking for anonymous and non-judgmental support in English. TELL holds phone counselor training sessions over four month periods in the fall and spring, welcoming new volunteers to the team. Please note that interns are primarily on-site for support and will not actually be taking part in the training program. Interns may be involved with such activities as:

  • Support coordination of training program, including preparation of the training manual and trainee workbooks
  • Participation in telephone counselor interviews and selection process
  • Assist with facilitation of small groups by supporting and guiding trainee counselors throughout the training program
  • Participation in evaluation of trainee role-plays, as well as mid-term and post-training evaluations
  • Attend group supervisory meetings led by experienced phone counselors
  • Co-present training sessions (depending on intern’s background and qualifications)
  • Observe phone counselors during shifts on the Lifeline

Academic Background

  • No specific academic background is required, but experience or coursework in the following areas is preferred: event planning, public relations, international studies, Japanese, psychology, social work, public health, or other related fields.


  • Ideal applicants will be effective communicators, proficient computer users (MS Office required, Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator a plus), detail-oriented, able to work independently, and have experience with event planning or working in the field of mental health services.

Language Requirements

  • This is an English-language internship. Applicants must have very strong written and spoken English skills. Japanese language skills are a plus.

Other Requirements

  • Interns must sign a confidentiality agreement. Interns are expected to join events and training sessions, some of which may take place in the evening or on weekends. Interns should be interested in learning about cultural and mental health issues in Japan.

Estimated One-Time Expenses

  • IE3 Global Program Fee: $3,450
  • Host Site Fee: $1,000 (offsets the costs of arranging the internship and includes in-country orientation and support)
  • International Travel: $1,600
  • Visa Fees: $100 if longer than 90 days
  • Recommended Immunizations: $300

Estimated Monthly Expenses

  • Housing: $900
  • Food: $500
  • Local Transportation: $300
  • Recreation: $200
  • Personal Expenses: $100

Interns arrange their own housing, with the assistance and recommendations from a local contact. Interns have the option to stay in shared houses, apartments, or dormitories.

12 weeks to 6 months

“I can clearly see the connection to the tasks I am given and the end goal in regards to the counselor trainings. It has definitely given me a better picture of what the clinical realm of psychology looks like in contrast to research, which is where most of my experience is. I also feel like I am having a positive impact on the community here, even if it is in an indirect way. Cross-culturally, I feel like I have been able to immerse myself rather fully into the opportunities that have presented themselves. I constantly keep my eyes out for festivals. They have proven to be a real treat. I also feel as though I have been welcomed with open arms by the expat community, which has allowed for great conversations and discussions over topics far broader than the differences between America and Japan.”

- Christopher, University of Montana, Spring 2016


Fall | Winter | Spring

Application Deadline

Fall: April 15

Winter: September 1

Spring: November 15

Basic Requirements

- Excellent English communication skills

- Previous cross-cultural experience strongly preferred

- Experience in event planning, fundraising, public health, mental health services, or related fields encouraged