In this interview,I interviewed Paola Andrea Plata Pacheco
who experienced an internship at Hitachi Ltd. By AIESEC.
She is Colombian,attends Universidad Militar Nueva Granada.
―― Hello.Nice to meet you.First of all,please tell me about Colombia your mother nation.
Colombia is a Spanish speaking country, in South America.We don’t have seasons, the weather change accordingto the cities or zones, for example Bogota my hometownand capital of Colombia has an average weather of13℃ to 15℃.
Basically, Colombia is between Panama at the north,Venezuela and Brazil at the east,Ecuador and Peru at the south. We also have two oceans,at north Caribbean Sea and at west Pacific Ocean.
Bogota is a modern city and the biggest in Colombia.Perhaps we don’t have train or subway like Japan cities,but we have a special bus called “Transmilenio”which is like a double bus,it has stations and special way in the streets,and also normal bus without stations and taxi service.
There is just one city in Colombia that has train,it is called Medellin,but I have never been there.
Colombia is famous because its biodiversity,as you see we have two oceans with many islandand also we have some of the Amazon Jungle.
Our main religion is Catholicism that is why most ofour traditional buildings are churches with colonialand Hispanic architecture.
Also we have many festivals some of them areCatholic festivals in which for example we rememberhow Crist give his life for us.Some people said Colombia has a festival per day ofthe year;it is because we like celebrations.
―― I watched your Facebook and found “Himitsubs” in career column.What is this? Is it your part-time job?
No. We don’t have part time jobs in Colombia.This is like a Volunteer job. Very fun.I like anime, so I translated from Japanese or English into Spanish.
―― Oh, very good. What anime in Japan do you like the best?
I know Doraemon, Pokemon. And others that maybe not many Japanese people know.
―― Why did you take part in Volunteer work?
Because my friend made this kind of group,so he asked me to help him since I know English.Not many people understand English in Colombia.
Encounter with AIESEC
―― Why did you choose Japan and HITACHI?
I wanted to go abroad. In Colombia if you go abroad,when you come back home you may find a good job and get a better life.I looked forward to many options, but all of them were very expensive or not reliable.
So, at University I talked with some AIESEC members.And they told me about their experiences.And I liked it, and then last year in March or April I joined AIESEC.
At the beginning I worked in marketing related activities for AIESEC at my University.By September I started looking for where I wanted to go, which country.Since I was learning Japanese I wanted to come to Japan.
Then I found that the AIESEC in Hitotsubashi University had an internship opportunityin Hitachi.By that time I didn’t know anything about Hitachi.So, I just said “Yes, I would like to”. And that’s why I worked in Hitachi.
―― Before you came to Japan, were you interested in Japan?
Yes!! Before I start university, I wanted to study in Japan.So that’s why I started learning Japanese.
―― Why did you want to learn Japanese?
I wanted to study in Japan. I still want to study here.
―― Why did you want to study in Japan?
Because, Japanese Nation has a scholarship for Colombian to come here.
Also it’s a family custom to go abroad,my older brother and my father went abroad to study for short time in the United States.
―― Do many people go to USA?
Yes, many Colombian want to go to USA.
―― Is few the number of people who come to Japan?
Yes. Because, Colombians think Japanese is very difficult.
―― In Colombia, is AIESEC very famous?
Yes. Many famous universities have AIESEC team.
―― Where do they go to?
Brazil, Africa, Poland, Russia, Turkey… Not many people come to Asia.
―― What do you think the reason?
I think Colombian people like too much USA and Europe. So they try to go there.
My friend and I changed a little bit it.My best friend from university is now with AIESEC working in NIGERIA.
Internship @ Hitachi
―― By the way, some questions about HITACHI. What do you do in HITACHI?
I worked in HITACHI for two months. From April 9 – June 1. Internship has two phases.The first one is working with social infrastructure groupand the second one is with public system information group.
―― What did you do concretely?
I go with my trainer to visit customer, propose Hitachi products, and attend some meetings.
I visit and observe and if I have a question my Trainer will translate it into Japanese.
―― Was there final task?
I had to make a presentation in Japanese to Hitachi members.
My final presentation was shorter than 30 mn it was just 15 mn and 5 or less minutesfor questions,so I was relived. My trainers helped me to translate and create aJapanese speech.They also share some of their time to practice with me the way to present and speakin public.I own them the good results of my last presentation. I am so grateful.
―― Can all people at office speak English?
Not all of them. But I am here to help them improve their English skills.
I have to motivate them to speak English and help them.
―― What did you find as a difference betweenColombia company and Japanese company?
I haven’t been in big company in Colombia. So, I don’t know.But the behavior of Japanese employee is to be always on time,they are hardworking even after 5:20 they keep working.
―― What are good points working at Hitachi?
I can learn how a big company works. I can get know-how about many products and functions.
―― Did your study at your university contribute to your task?
I think not. Although I am learning at the University Business Administration,what I learn at university is just theory.
―― What do you think Japanese characteristic?
Japanese people are very kind. Colombian people are also kind.
―― Please tell me a surprising thing in Japan.
I was surprised about trains.They are crowded and have very big stations, so I was afraid of getting lost.
Also when I entered the country I felt the difference with USA immigration procedures.
USA has many immigrants, so entering USA is very difficult,and Immigration Officers make a lot of questions.On the other hand, to enter Japan I only had to show my passport to the immigration officerand he didn’t do any question at all.
Can not speak Japanese, come to Japan
―― Please tell me your future dream.
My dream is coming to Japan and study here.I want to study about public policy or international cooperation.
―― What job you want to engage in?
I would like to work in the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Colombia.I want to contribute to Colombia social and economic development studying public policy.
―― Please give Japanese university students message.
Even if you don’t have good English or another language,just try to go to another country.Since I don’t have good Japanese,I came to Japan.
For example, I was so inspired by my friend she didn’t have excellent in English,but even so she went abroad.I wanted to go to Japan,but I was afraid because I thought that my Japanese skills weren’tenough.But know I understand that everything is about the experiences you can get in otherscountries.You shouldn’t worry much about language.
―― Next,last question.Could you look back to live in Japan?
Living in Japan was a dream!I was so happy here, sometimes take a crowed train was annoyingbut I was lucky because I didn’t have to do it very often.
Food was an amazing experience, many flavors and tastes different from Colombian food.Food is definitely something I am going to miss.
People were always kind to me, always trying to help me to feel comfortable.I also feel Japanese spirit of team work; it is also different from Colombia.
I learnt a lot about Hitachi, I am glad I had this opportunity here becauseHitachi is awesome,their employees, their work style,their products and services,it really is a big big big company!
I will keep studying Japanese.See you sometime!
【Special Thanks…AIESEC in Japan Hitotsubashi Local Committee】