The end of each class period sees a rush of students leaving their classrooms and entering the hallways. As each period ends, there is also a corresponding rush of interns from the school? administrative offices. These interns are students who have enrolled for the Intern Scholarship Program at Ewha. The Intern Scholarship Program is designed to allow Ewha students to develop their career skills by working in the school? administrative offices.
Internships are available in 81 offices, and about 850 students work during the semester and 650 during summer and winter vacations. Students can either work in university-wide or each departmental administration offices. University administration offices are again divided into two types, a special division and a general division. The special division pays 5,000 won per hour and the general division, 4,000 won per hour. Students in university-wide offices must work 150 hours during the semester and 80 hours during the vacation. Those who work in the departmental offices get paid 4,000 won per hour and are required to work 100 hours in total. Generally students manage filing and photocopying, with other tasks that differ from place to place.
Although studying and working as an intern at the same time is difficult, many students apply for internships, and their work helps the school to solve its labor shortage problem as well. Kim Mi-na (Statistics, 2) who works at the Centennial Library says that, ?he internship program is beneficial because students can work during their free time and get paid quite well.?As she works in a special division, she is paid 5,000 won per hour.
Nonetheless, complaints also arise among student interns, mainly because of scheduling and payment policies of the internship program. ?t is actually difficult to work during the exam periods and we only get paid at the end of the semester,?said An Hyun-jeong (International Office Management, 2). Kim Sung-hee (French Lang. & Lit., 2), who worked as an intern at the School of Continuing Education last semester, says she was asked to work for 13 and a half hours per week; though 10 is the official required time. When she refused to work extra hours, the person in charge of educating the intern students suggested additional payment as a condition. She also had to work at night, from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. ? was shocked because I didn? know that I had to work in the night as well. But I had to accept the hours because it seemed like everyone was doing it whether they liked it or not,?said Kim. She also mentioned that she didn? like the way some teachers in her office called students ?ey?or ?ou,?and not by their names.
Oh Ji-eun, Director of Scholarship Welfare for the Student Welfare Center, said that her office is trying to improve conditions for interns as much as possible. It tries to stop mistreatment of intern students by closely monitoring and listening to student feedback and comments made on the Ewhaian.com bulletin board and the bulletin board of the Ewha homepage. When the complaints come in, the office tries to reduce the number of intern students allocated to the offending division as a penalty.
But, says Oh, not all problems with the internship are the fault of the offices where students work. Many students drop out in the middle of their internship period. Because of that, says Oh, ?e have to get additional applicants because so many students quit during their work. But if students drop off in the middle they can? get the certificate and neither can the additional intern student.?In addition, she says, it is hard to pay students in advance because some students don? even give notice before they quit the job. ?tudents differ very much from one to another. Some are very responsible and work hard ,whereas some of them just decide not to show up,?said Oh.
Nonetheless, Oh says, those interns who get off to a good start, such as making photocopies well from the beginning, continue to work well and get good evaluations in the end. Ewha also provides a certificate to students who exceed 60 points out of 100 on their evaluations and have completed the internship course. ?his is a very unique system, as not many schools give out a formal certificate to acknowledge internship work. I hope students will continue to apply to become interns after deep consideration and work with full responsibility so that everyone can receive a certificate in the end,?said Oh.