Most of you probably have no idea what that says but some may have figured out that it’s the Japanese hiragana script. Well, it says ‘Konnichiwa‘ which means hello in English. I won’t lie, six months ago I wouldn’t have even known that was language - I would have guessed they were drawings of some sort. Thankfully I opted to go on an international Co-op to Japan and now know what that means and so much more.
In a nutshell, my experience working as a Component Engineer in the Gasoline Systems Division at BOSCH has been extraordinary. Despite coming from a Biomedical Engineering background, I am very glad that I pursued an internship at a company centred in the automotive industry. This provided me with the opportunity to expand my knowledge regarding automobiles along with gaining in-depth information on how the exhaust system operates. My primary work entailed working with lambda or oxygen sensors which are often underestimated in their importance to the functioning of a vehicle.
Along with the numerous technical things I learnt, I also got my first taste of how things work in a global company. With over 306,000 employees in over 50 countries, the true meaning of multi-national was realized. The confidential topic I was working on required communicating with colleagues in Germany, India, and China, all of which was done over teleconference. The unique accents further confirmed and added to the international atmosphere.
Since I can’t share details on my work, I would like to give you a glimpse on the Japanese working culture. Long days at the office are quite frequent here in Japan but having said that, late night parties are also not uncommon. ‘Nomikais’ are popular work events which involve indulging in unlimited amounts of alcohol followed by other shenanigans. Regardless of what happens the night before, attendance at work is expected with no mention of last nights’ activities. As an intern, I highly valued these events because it gave me a chance to interact with my normally reserved colleagues. To warn other individuals who are keen on doing a Co-op in Japan, although the workplace language may be English, I would strongly recommend learning the local language for a more enjoyable experience. The Japanese are fun people but often shy about speaking English with foreigners. The remedy is often alcohol but it doesn’t hurt if you meet them halfway with basic Japanese language skills.
Part of any International Co-op is an essential requirement to travel the country and explore the cuisine, culture, and traditions. I took this component very seriously and opted in many adventures only available in Japan. Not to make anyone jealous but in the last six months I climbed Mt. Fuji, rode rides at DisneySea, watched the Tokyo Bay Fireworks, ate fresh sushi from the Tsukiji Fish Market, saw the Imperial Palace in Central Tokyo, partied all night in some of Tokyo’s hottest nightclubs, cheered on Sumo wrestlers in the Grand Finale, took in the night view from Toyko Tower, relaxed at a beach in Enoshima, went to ….
Sorry for trailing on there but if it’s not obvious, I thoroughly enjoyed my International Co-op experience in Japan at BOSCH and I highly recommend for you to explore such opportunities for yourself!
(Sayonara! – which means goodbye)
Beyond the Blog
Learn more about the Engineering Co-op Program.