Thoughts · Work

My internship – Fighting stereotypes

Hello everyone.

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The main gate for the German Embassy.

Since thursday, I am an intern at the German Embassy. But don’t bother, even though you know now where I work, I am pretty sure you are not able to get inside without effort to disturb my privacy. As you would expect, you are going to be checked quite thoroughly.

My department is the department of culture and communication. But what does that mean for me?

On the cultural part, I help people connecting, for example a german orchestra that wants to visit a japanese school. This includes a lot of communicating with more german institutions that operate from Japan, like the Goethe Institut, the DAAD or the OAG. But don’t get confused, this is culture. For communication I help the embassy conveying an image of Germany in Japan and among the japanese people.

The general image Germany has in Japan is a bit dusted, you could say. We are associated with beer, engineering and seriousness. And although there are noticable overlaps with the stereotypes of other countries, it is not the rather negative stereotype of the humourless German, but more the positive sterotype of the punctual, hardworking and reliable German.

Therefore, we have a very high popularity among japanese men over 40.

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A german restaurant and bar in Akasaka. I have not been inside yet.

Unfortunately though, young japanese women go much more abroad – in fact, twice as much as their male counterparts of the same age-group. On their trips to Europe, they will most likely leave out Germany, because it does not appeal to them, and that is just such a pity and therefore our biggest problem with our image.

We definitely have much more to offer and this is what we want to convey at the embassy, through social media and various events we are hosting and supporting. To be very honest here, I would be impressed if we could achieve this change in our image. Stereotypes are persistent and often remain intact for several generations. To appeal to japanese women in their twenties, we most likely have to go 180Β° – from serious and stern to hip and cute.

I’m very excited to be a part of this, though. I will see Germany from a whole new perspective myself and from what I can tell so far, we might even have found a possible point of entry.

But what are your ideas on that?

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The german embassy as seen from the nearby park. Several works of art show Germany through the eyes of japanese artists.
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8 thoughts on “My internship – Fighting stereotypes

    1. Hey!
      Thanks for your comment. It is lovely, that you enjoyed Germany!
      How come you decided on living there? Did you feel reluctant at first?
      I’m looking forward to your opinion. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I had a lot of trepidation as I had heard that Germans hated Americans (which I am), and many other tales of woe. Though there were a few, I found that with most of the younger Germans speaking English already, my learning Germans and communication in general was easy. Over time, I saw things, did things, and have been places most people can only dream about. I miss the food, the people, the beer, OKTOBERFEST, riding the trains anywhere (and getting lost quite frequently πŸ˜‰), and the beautiful towns and culture as well as all the history around you. ENJOY! Don’t be afraid to talk to them, they will help. Oh… And the schwimbaad (German pools), yeah they don’t do modesty. That I about flipped on. Bathing suit, no bathing suit, it’s all good. That and the body hair were the only 2 things that really ever gave me even a half moments pause. But you know, when in Rome……..
        I hope to read about many adventures from you. Be bold! Be brave! You only get this chance once! (Oh, and mine was for school. I graduated there)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m very glad you enjoyed your time in Germany! Although, I think it is sad you had to hear so many bad things beforehand… It’s good to hear giving Germany the chance definitely paid of for you! You even graduated in Germany, that is amazing!
        Thank you for following me on here, I hope to keep you updated and entertained! πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I was a little bit surprised, while reading that, Germany is not a popular country to travel for young japanese people, because my personal experience says, exactly the opposit… the majority of people that I talked to (bascially all in their 20s) seemed to be very interestet to learn more about Germany and have been there or want to travel there. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey!
      Thank you for your comment. Of course, being Germans ourselves, our experience is slightly shifted…
      We often talk to japanese people our age that are currently living in Germany and hold a strong interest in that.
      It is a fact though, that France, Italy and Spain are much more popular among japanese girls and young women, than Germany ever was.

      I think it is a wonderful thing though, that your friends were able to overcome our image themselves and gave us the chance! πŸ˜‰

      Like

      1. Actually I wasn’t talking about my japanese friends in Germany, but random people I met here in Japan πŸ˜‰ but I guess you are right, the German Image is for sure not the best.

        Liked by 1 person

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