Trainee program in Japan: Seven weeks in Tokyo
To immerse oneself more deeply into Japanese culture and everyday working life at Group headquarters (or at the research center), to network with colleagues on site and possibly prepare for new tasks - these are the objectives of the global trainee program, which lasts about two months and which three of our employees can complete each year in Japan.
Have a look at what Susan Kolac-Lang, Human Resources at Kuraray Europe GmbH, experienced during her seven-week trainee program in Tokyo.
"Very long working days, a foreign language, unfamiliar food, different customs, separation from the loved ones at home - these are the (supposed) challenges that my family and friends "warned" me about when they heard about my chance to take part in a trainee program lasting several weeks.
But far from it: As a trainee I had working hours roughly the same as in Germany and didn't miss anything, but enjoyed the many new impressions and experiences at work and in my free time very much and learned a lot. After all, I have had a soft spot for Japan for a long time, and a working stay there was my long-cherished wish.
Right at the beginning, Jennifer Murphy, my colleague from Kuraray America then on an orientation trip for a potential assignment, and I were able to experience the special "spirit" of nearly 100-year-old Kuraray during a tour of the largest production facility in Okayama and at the founding site of Kurashiki. This goes far beyond the company's significance as a renowned specialty chemicals manufacturer and attractive employer: after all, some of the social and cultural institutions donated by the founding family Ohara are still active today and make a significant contribution to the prosperity and preservation of the cultural heritage of the region.
50 days of exchange and cooperation with my colleagues in the Human Resources department in Tokyo were ideally suited to broaden my knowledge of the long-term global goals and operational processes of our parent company. My hosts were very open-minded and interested in exchanging on "best practice" so that we were able to support each other quite quickly, tackle challenges together and thus create a valuable basis for further cooperation.
On the weekends I took time for discovering the surroundings. With mostly bright autumn weather, I was able to be outside a lot and thus deepen my interest and joy in Japanese culture. After seven weeks, I returned to Frankfurt full of new ideas - and very grateful for this opportunity at a point in my career at which some people think of retirement rather than the opportunity for further development.
With the new skills and knowledge of the current conditions under which the company operates in its country of origin, I am confident that I will be able to make a successful contribution to solving global HR challenges in the future. I am very much looking forward to this!