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Reports from Overseas Trainees
Kanna Terada

Kanna Terada
Terada pictured at left together with a coworker who visited during her time on assignment.
<Department> Automotive Sect. 2, Automotive Dept. 2

<Assignment Location> Sojitz de Puerto Rico

<Assignment Period> August 2019 – January 2021

Terada pictured at left together with a coworker who visited during her time on assignment.

Assignment Location and Work Duties

Sojitz de Puerto Rico, a fully owned Sojitz subsidiary, is a Hyundai vehicle wholesaling company located in Puerto Rico. With the aim of learning the basics of the vehicle distribution business and of business management, I took part in improving operations in each department, providing management support for projects, and also in exploring new business opportunities as part of the company’s business expansion efforts.

Challenges, Lessons Learned, and Skills for the Future
A photo taken on a road trip to the southwestern part of the island for a new car launch event to which we invited local journalists

Challenges, Lessons Learned, and Skills for the Future

In my section at Tokyo headquarters, we generally share and report project-related information and correspondence with other team members in great detail. In Puerto Rico however, individual responsibilities seemed to be more clearly defined and each person demonstrated confidence and professional expertise their area of responsibility. While this working style is efficient, it also has the disadvantage of leading to highly personalized work functions that depend on an individual’s expertise. One of the challenges I faced during this training was how to create greater transparency in everyone’s work functions while maintaining the local business culture of respecting one another’s responsibilities and duties, and this experience also provided me with an opportunity to reflect on my own work processes.

Challenges, Lessons Learned, and Skills for the Future
A photo taken on a road trip to the southwestern part of the island for a new car launch event to which we invited local journalists

Memorable Moments

Puerto Rico is a small island in the Caribbean Sea, and it is governed as a territory of the United States. The local culture allows one to experience a sense of both US and Latin American cultures, as the island has a vibrancy common to other Latin American countries, but with the US dollar as its currency and both English and Spanish used as official languages. The unique blend of cultures in Puerto Rico results from the island having been a Spanish colony for nearly 400 years, and colorful buildings from the Spanish colonial period remain standing in the cities.

In addition, Puerto Rico has a culture that stresses the importance of family. Celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas is of course a given, and many of my friends who are my age that live apart from their families make it a point to spend time with their families on weekends. This tight-knit Latin American culture has left a lasting impression on me.

Recommended Sightseeing in Puerto Rico

Gilligan’s Island, an outlying island located about 10 minutes from Puerto Rico by boat, has thick mangroves, pristine water, and a peaceful atmosphere that I love. I always imagined people in the Americas to mostly sunbathe at the beach, but in Puerto Rico, people enjoyed being in the water with drinks in hand while listening to music and chatting with friends.

Recommended Sightseeing in Puerto Rico
The grandmother in this picture had set up a beach chair in the ocean and was enjoying the water, which I felt really encapsulated the Puerto Rican way of life.
Recommended Sightseeing in Puerto Rico
Although Puerto Rico is known for its beautiful sea and beaches, the interior of the island is covered with tropical rainforest where you can enjoy hiking and river activities.

July 2021

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