Michelle Vu

How would you describe the internship in three words?

I’d say unforgettable, unique, and open-minded.

What were your expectations from the internship before you came to Obubu?

I thought there would be a bit more structure on how each day, week, and month would look like. Instead, the schedule could fluctuate at any moment. I also thought there would be more time spent catered to formal intern education from only the staff members, almost like a tea school. However, it was more hands on from the beginning where the older interns who have been at Obubu longer would facilitate a lot of the training with oversight from the staff members. This also meant more intern driven learning. If you want to learn outside of the core topics the program covers, it is up to you to take the initiative. Not what I had expected.

Did the internship meet your expectations?


If you can change anything in the internship, what would it be?

The internship can be hectic depending on when you join. I think it’s important to explain on the first day the work style of Obubu (set expectations) and get interns to advocate to carve out more time on projects. Because things get crazy busy most periods, it’s important to check in on the intern’s personal goals too!

During which period have you been to Obubu?


Which year have you been to Obubu?


How was a typical day during your period?

Jan-March: Construction, construction, construction! My period worked on renovating the new office / tea house. We also worked on building the tea machine museum. We got the weekends off during this time so we were able to spend a lot of time doing personal projects.

March-April: Tea tours, Kyobancha harvesting, and being a senpai. Worked 5-6 days a week depending on the rotation. A typical day could be start at 9 am to prepare for the tea tours and run them from 11-3:30 PM. Afterwards (4-5 PM) clean up after the tea tour and from 5-6 PM run tea discussion (class). Afterwards would be free time.

What was your best memory at Obubu?

Hand making tea with Matsu-San. We set up stations to make our own Gyokuro and black tea. Then we got to dry them using a pan drying method. It’s amazing to be able to make and drink your own tea!

What do you do now?

Working on building my tea business in Los Angeles! I want to work at events selling craft tea drinks and Vietnamese sandwiches!

Did the internship help you to reach your goals?