Interview:Du Xiaojun | Internship | Career | Sumitomo Electric Industries,Ltd.
PHOTO:Du Xiaojun
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Why did you want to intern in Sumitomo Electric?

I wanted to put what I had learned into practice. Last year, I came to Japan for the first time and studied in Kyoto for half a year. However, due to my heavy schedule of schoolwork, I did not have time to do internship. So the practice was lacking. After I returned to China, I heard that Sumitomo Electric would recruit interns from my university. I said to myself why not have a try, since it is a great chance to practice my Japanese and learn how to work in a Japanese company.

As I can speak Japanese and have studied in Kyoto for half a year, I have developed a great liking for Japanese society and culture. Because of this love and passion, I wanted to live and work in Japan. This internship was a warm-up for me, and through this opportunity I learned in advance what it was like to work in Japan.

What do you do in the internship?

The main objective of my internship was to make proposals on how Sumitomo Electric can be more diverse. To fulfil this objective, I did research on Sumitomo Electric's policies on diversity, brought up questions regarding the policies, and conducted interviews with eight foreign employees. From the interviews, I checked whether these policies had been carried out properly and find out what kind of support was necessary for these foreign employees to better live and work in Japan. Moreover, I went to the Yokohama Works for a meeting and heard the discussions and interviewed foreign staff members. On my last day at the company, I made a presentation in Osaka Headquarters. Every Friday, I submitted a weekly report, where I wrote what I had done in the week.

What has been the most interesting you have learned in this internship?

I learned Japanese business manners, which were very different from Chinese companies'. For example, in Sumitomo Electric, a briefing is held every morning to share the information about the tasks that we should do for the day, whereas there are no such a meeting held in Chinese companies. Also in the company, people write down their schedules (such as where they will be and when they will return)" on the whiteboard, while in China, few companies do so. In the factory, before crossing the street, staff members are required to point their fingers left and right in order to make sure there are no cars coming. This is a very interesting practice Chinese factories seldom do.

How can the internship help shape your career?

Cross-cultural communication has made me more diverse. During this internship, I worked with staff members and interns from different countries such as Japan, the United States, Singapore, India, and China. I find people from different countries have different ideas. Sometimes in a meeting we put forward our own ideas, which were quite different and disagreed with each other. But through discussions, better and more innovative solutions were created.

Such experience made me more adaptable to a different environment. Although the duration of my internship was only 7 weeks, I had a chance to work in many business locations such as Osaka Headquarters, Tokyo Headquarters, Osaka Works, Itami Works, and Yokohama Works. I learned how to adjust to a new environment and associate with people with different backgrounds.

PHOTO:Du Xiaojun

A message to students who consider participating in the internship.

This internship program is a great opportunity to experience life and work in Japan. During the internship, you will raise cultural awareness and get over culture shock. Through daily contact with Japanese staff, you will be impressed by their attitudes towards work?constantly striving for perfection. You will be unconsciously influenced and find yourself more attentive, meticulous and strict about yourself.

This internship will also have a lasting influence on your future life. Through the internship, I learned how to make a balance between work and life. Through my experience in Sumitomo Electric, I found that Japanese people are very serious when they work, but when they are off work, they are very relaxed and play a lot. Gradually, I found myself being able to make a better balance between work and life.

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