My name is Julia Kuntscher, I am currently working as an intern in Japan, Yokohama. My internship at the HR department at MANN+HUMMEL JAPAN began on May 15th. When I arrived here I was already very excited to find out what would be expected of me and how I would cope with my new environment, as this was my first time in Asia.

The differences between Germany and Japan

The Japan site is much smaller than plant 5.1/5.4 in Ludwigsburg where I worked before I came to Japan. This means there is only one office, which is shared by approximately 40 employees. From the beginning, I liked the small distances you have to take to approach your colleagues from other departments. This facilitates the communication a lot. There is one manager and one associate representing the HR department in Japan. Thus, it did not take very long to get to know my direct colleagues. They offered me a warm welcome and I felt integrated into the team from the first day. Organizing my life in Japan would not have been possible without their support, as at the beginning even the simplest things such as going to the supermarket, parking the bicycle on the right place or withdrawing money from an ATM represented a challenge.

Working in the HR department of MANN+HUMMEL JAPAN offers me the possibility to get to know the differences between HR work in Japan compared to Germany. Many local circumstances must be taken into account when trying to implement global HR standards. It is interesting to see in practice to what extent HR related topics are culturally influenced, such as recruiting procedures or social media activities. Having the advantage of already knowing the HR system in Ludwigsburg, I can contribute to support the communication between headquarters and Japan.

Japan is a fascinating country and there are a lot of things I could write about in this blog. However, maybe there is one outstanding aspect that must be mentioned: the country’s service culture, which influences all areas of business and life. For daily life, this means that public transport is never late, the shop assistant in the supermarket wraps your food in bags and you never have to wait for a waiter to come in a restaurant.

Living in Japan

My advice for any intern going to Japan would be to spend a lot of your free time with local people because this is the best way of getting to know the Japanese culture. I am very lucky to have colleagues who are willing to share some of their free time with me to show me the real Japanese life. Last week, my MANN+HUMMEL colleagues celebrated my 25th birthday with me and we went to a karaoke box after work. It was an unforgettable moment!

Working as an intern for MANN+HUMMEL is a great experience because you are offered so many possibilities and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported me at MANN+HUMMEL in making this internship possible!