Anis calls Japan Home After Landing Her First Job in Tokyo
Currently Plying Her Trade in Japan, Anis Can’t Wait to See What Her Global Career Has in Store
“I started to look around for a job during my final year of study. From the beginning, I didn't limit my location, and I was always open to the idea of working abroad," says Anis Alia Mohamad Afifi, 25, a UTP Information Technology graduate.
Now in her third year working for Fujitsu at the company's main office in Tokyo, Anis says, Japan's strong commitment to developing talent has been a boon for her career growth.
After attending a career fair in Singapore back in 2015, Anis has since traded Shah Alam for Tokyo. She says, “It was an ASEAN career fair that assembled a wide range of Japanese companies for them to recruit ASEAN talents. But to attend it, you need an invitation, where your resume and a video presentation about you need to be submitted before hand."
At the career fair, Anis recalls that she was the only Malaysian around and she was competing with talents from other ASEAN countries.
According to Anis, after going through an 8-phase interview session following the career fair, she was called up again before her final papers. A few days after her final semester's last paper, Anis flew to Japan again to undertake a five week internship with Fujitsu.
“I was the only Malaysian among a batch of 12. There, we held Skype interviews with all the heads of departments. I told them I liked to do programming and development. As a result, they assigned me to the middleware development office," explains Anis.
She says, “It was a part of the terms and conditions that candidates have to fulfil before they are chosen for the full-time jobs they offer. After the internship, I had to wait for two to three weeks for the job offer. But then, it will only start in April next year. By the time it was only June," she shares.
While waiting to go back to Japan, Anis did not just lie idle. She worked temporarily for UEM's IT department to harness her programming knowledge in the lead up to her Japanese employment.
“In Japan, their fiscal year starts in April, or spring. School year starts in April. This is the common practice here. It's the opposite of the UK where everything starts in September or in autumn," recounts Anis.
However, when she first arrived, she says that it took her a bit of time to acclimatize to the then foreign environment. Communication, in particular, was a bit difficult at first, she says.
Since, Anis has managed to get a good grasp of the Japanese language. She shares that there are many lucrative job opportunities in Japan due to the country's greying population.
Additionally, she hints that the competition for talents will only get more pronounced both inside and outside of Malaysia as multi-national companies will scour deeper on the lookout for ASEAN's best talents.
However, she says, some Japanese stereotypes are still deeply rooted in their working culture. For example, Anis shares that until now, in Japan, it is considered rude to leave before your superior does.
But she laughs it off saying, “Because I am a foreigner, I get some leeway for not being able to fully embrace their culture yet." Nevertheless, while being there, Anis notes that she has become more tolerable of differences between cultures and races. “Over the years, Japan has become more inclusive towards celebrating diversity," says Anis.
According to Anis, she has grown fond of Japanese hospitality. “At first, I thought praying was going to be difficult. But even before I boarded the flight to Japan, I got a call from Fujitsu's HR department asking me how I would pray at the office so that they could provide a comfortable praying space for me," says Anis.
“I really like working here. Outside of work, life is really organized and the best part is, there is no traffic jam. Public transportation is the main mode of transportation in Japan. Although it can get highly congested on peak hours, it is the most convenient and everybody takes the train here," she says.
Anis says, she had been travelling quite a lot growing up. In turn, this sparked a deep interest in her to work abroad since she was little. She says, “Here, Japanese companies really take care of you. They are really focused on hands-on and collaborative training to make sure you reach your potential. They really invest in their people, and this has greatly accelerated my learning curve."
However, Anis says, celebrating Raya away from family has been especially hard for her. Thankfully, Malaysian friends at the Japanese embassy offer some consolation and warmth, as they gather on the first day of Raya every year to enjoy Raya delicacies. For three years in a row, Anis had celebrated Hari Raya in Japan. Despite this, she says that it is all worth the tradeoff.
Indeed, Anis is another prime example of UTP's profound career connected learning and industry collaboration. From the work we do, we foster long-term relationships with our global social-impact partners to prepare our students, people and researchers as global citizens.
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