Dr. Lorenz GranrathI was the representative of Fraunhofer in Japan from 2001 until the end of 2013. Fraunhofer is Europe’s biggest organisation for applied research, more than 23.000 people develop new solutions for the industry and in Japan many of the well known big Japanese companies were customers. The office in Tokyo was small and consisted in the beginning only of the representative and a Japanese secretary.

Between 2005 and 2012 we always had an intern, usually a student, who needed the internship for his studies and wanted to combine this with the experience to stay in an exotic country. The interns usually stayed for 6 months, a shorter duration was not very efficient, as the interns need some time to come to know the organisation before they could assist in some tasks as well as it takes some time to get accustomed to Japan to better enjoy living here.

Our experience was overall very good, especially in the beginning the interns were of big help. Some administrated the internet presentation of Fraunhofer in Japan by themselves, others organised conferences and helped at trade shows. In times, where not much activity was ongoing, I always tried to take the interns with me to company visits. This was appreciated by Japanese companies and was a very valuable experience for the interns. I am still in contact with many of them, some live and work in Japan, some come here on business trips. All gave me a positive feedback of their stay in our office, they had a valuable time to experience Japan and it positively influenced their further career and life.

In 2014 I moved to the Japanese National Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and are now also promoting internships, however for candidates with a scientific background.

Tokyo, June 2015

Dr. Lorenz Granrath

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