Program: Bachelor of Applied Science Honours Mechanical Engineering Co-op with Aerospace Option
Co-op/Internship: Mujin Inc. Tokyo, Japan
I have always known that real life experience (alongside academics) is the key to succeed as an engineer in the future. I also viewed co-op as a way to travel the world early on in life, as I would probably not be able to have a similar experience in the future. I had built an impressive resume, and was presented with the opportunity to choose a company based on the location I preferred. I thought living in Japan would be a great experience. I found a perfect fit with Mujin, an English speaking robotics company based in Tokyo.
I would absolutely recommend doing an internship/co-op to all engineering students. Not only for the experiences of living abroad, but the practical engineering knowledge is invaluable towards any career in engineering. It is not enough to have academic knowledge alone, one must have practical experience, proving they are able to apply there knowledge effectively. Once an engineer hits the job market out of university, they will be competing against many qualified individuals with experience, so not having coop/internship on your resume will put you at a disadvantage.
- My project was to develop an multi-featured dynamics identification tool for Mujin supported industrial robots. I was able to finish many aspects of the project. The feature I worked on, will be shipped with Mujin controllers to many large multi-national companies whom use the controllers for their robots
- I was able to participate and prepare a demonstration cell for our booth at one of the largest robotics exhibitions in the world, IREX (International Robotics Exhibition 2017) at Tokyo Big Sight
- I had the opportunity to work and learn with world-renowned roboticists from top universities around the world, who worked at major tech companies in the past.
- My work even had lunch provided everyday, cooked by a private Michelin rated chef just for our staff
Life in Japan
There were many positive outcomes from my co-op, aside from the practical engineering experience I gained. I got the chance to experience life in Japan, not as a tourist, but as a local. Being able to live there for a long duration allowed me to have the time to travel to many places, pick up the Japanese language, meet many new and friendly people, and experience a life I built all on my own. It gave me the opportunity to start fresh in a new country where I got the chance to build my experience. Japan is a great place, and I made many life-long friendships and memories that will live on with me forever. I learned how to snowboard, gained knowledge of Japanese culture, tasted many wonderful foods, heard many stories from Japanese people, and overall made me a better person for it.
- I traveled to many places around Japan, including Tokyo, Nikko, Hiroshima, Kamakura, Enoshima, Osaka, Kyoto, Kagoshima, Tanegashima, Kawaguchiko, and many many more places! All of which are unique and have there own sights to see.
- I learned how to snowboard, which I went a total of 5 times. I knew nothing and went on trips during the winter season with my coworkers (many of which became my close friends). I became pretty good, going on progressively harder courses and visiting many different resorts around japan.
- I got to experience true 夏休み (Natsuyasumi - meaning summer vacation). My Japanese friends and fellow Canadian intern friends all went to my friends childhood home in Niigata. The home was a traditional Japanese style home with tatami floors. We had a pool, went to the beach, bbq'd everyday for 3 days. It was truly one of the best summer experiences of my life.
- The food was amazing, Tokyo is very compact so there is always a new dish and restaurant to try anywhere you go. My favorite dish (miles above any other) is Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き), also referred to as Hiroshimayaki.
- I night climbed Mt. Fuji!
Atilla is also the President and founder of the University of Windsor's Space and Aeronautics Team. WinSAT is a multi-disciplinary team composed of UWindsor students from various faculties. The team will be taking part in the Canadian Satellite Design Challenge (CSDC), where they are tasked to build and design a 3U Cube satellite for Low Earth Orbit.
WinSAT will be recruiting new members this September; for more information, visit www.winsat.ca.