Despite the coronavirus pandemic, several students at Ewha decided to pursue their career overseas. Kim Da-in, a senior from Ewha’s Division of English Language and Literature, is an intern at a global e-commerce company located in the Greater Los Angeles area in California.
After Kim’s departure on March 10, she has worked in the United States for five months as of Aug. 22. She gained interest in the business-to-consumer e-commerce area after the COVID-19 outbreak. With huge increase in online sales around the globe, Kim wanted to examine the mechanism of e-commerce and understand its comprehensive procedure.
Kim’s decision to work abroad was supported by her childhood experience of a yearlong stay in the United States, which contributed greatly to her English skills and allowed her to look for jobs outside of Korea.
“My experience in the States when I was little allowed me to broaden my perspective on a global scale,” Kim said. “Ever since then I was always longing to live abroad. As soon as I saw the job posting recruiting interns to work in the U.S., I felt this could be an opportunity for me to build my career as well as fulfill my dreams of working abroad.”
When asked if Kim had a reason for choosing California as her location of work, she pointed out the West Coast’s beautiful scenery and appetizing food. What captivated her the most was the unique vibe that saturated Los Angeles (L.A.).
Kim liked how she could head out and feel the ocean breeze whenever she wanted to in L.A. Beautiful sunsets and easy access to Korean food also captivated her greatly. Due to these characteristics, Kim always had so many things to enjoy in L.A. during her free time and weekends despite COVID-19.
Regarding U.S. companies’ working methods during the pandemic, Kim’s company mandated every worker to work on site. This was because of the small size of Kim’s company and the need for immediate in-person communication. However, Kim felt that the tendency now seems to be shifting toward offering both working from home and on-site options.
The only difficulty Kim had to face due to the pandemic in the United States was having to wear a mask indoors. Kim said she had more luck than difficulties in the United States as she was able to get vaccinated earlier than she would have been had she stayed in Korea.
One thing that surprised Kim after arriving in the United States was how the government dealt with foreign visitors. Unlike South Korea, the U.S. government did not track her activity or physical conditions. Immediate self-quarantine was the only process Kim was recommended to do after her landing.
The biggest change Kim went through after coming to the United States was awareness of diversity and respect for others. Transportation was another difference between Korea and the United States as it was almost impossible for Kim to get around without a car in California.
“Participating in an overseas internship program is a great experience because it has helped me gain both work experience and important life skills including cooking, buying groceries, saving money, and driving,” Kim said.
Kim recalled that taking a leave and preparing to spend time working abroad was painstaking. Her coworkers, however, were always kind enough to have a company dinner with Kim. They even started having Korean barbecue with soju and beer, which gave Kim emotional support and made her feel like she was in Korea.
As a piece of advice to Ewha Voice readers seeking overseas internship opportunities, Kim recommended planning carefully before applying, especially because of the expenses.