They say a person's college days are her only chance to purely explore and experience life without restraints. This golden opportunity given to students will no longer be available when you graduate, have serious jobs to do, and have financial burdens to meet. Nonetheless, due to the continuous high rate of unemployment among Korean youth, students tend to take the safer road and spend their summers on career-development. International internship during the summer is a combination of two savory things: experience and career-development, efficiently put together in one attractive dish.
There are several advantages for Ewha students to internship abroad rather than in one's own country. First, Ewha provides students with the flexibility to earn three academic credits for an internship. Also, students who study abroad have a distinct advantage when starting their careers after college. "Having had an overseas internship experience shows that the individual is motivated, inquisitive and willing to try new experiences, which are all very appealing qualities to a new employer," said one representative of the JobKorea at the Internship Seminar.
Generally these internships abroad fall into two broad categories: ones held by private companies and ones in the public sector sponsored by either the government, or by international organizations or NGOs. As there are always two sides to a coin, there are positive and negative factors to taking each type of internship abroad. Yet, for both types, the benefits seem to surpass the losses according to Ewha students.
One of the possible merits of working for a private company is the chance to learn practical job skills related to the student? major or interests, skills that could be directly applied to his/her future career. Yoon Jung-pil (Life Sciences, 4) worked as an international intern for Norwest Labs in Canada last year by taking a semester off. An advertising company that introduces internships to students called, "Intern Carrier," was where Yoon first found out about the program. In Norwest Labs, Yoon did office work in the morning and participated in experiments in the afternoon. "Experimenting in an actual lab with experts was an exhilarating experience for me because it would be an unthinkable thing to do in Korea, where in many institutions only college graduates are given the opportunity," said Yoon. Her stay with a conservative Christian Canadian family was also a warm experience for Yoon, who truly enjoyed her twenty-six week stay in Canada as an intern. Yoon concluded by saying, "All in all, it was worth leaving school for one semester because this opportunity gave me insights into Canadian culture, improved my English and taught me working skills for my biology-career."
Internships provided by government institutions and NGOs also help students gain valuable experience, and often provide them with financial support and a well-planned program. Lee Ha-na (Political Science & Diplomacy, 4) took an international internship job at the New York branch of the Korea International Trade Association, which is funded by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Energy. In New York, her job was to take care of documents, do research, and update the official website for the Korea International Trade Association office in New York. Due to unaffordable prices of rents in New York City, Lee decided to find a room in Flushings, a town reputed to relatively unsafe, and share her flat with another intern student.
Despite some minor inconveniences, the experience of working at the hub of the world, New York City and getting a picture of the real nature of trade work seemed good enough compensation for Lee not to regret her leave of absence from Ewha for a semester. "The most important condition for making your internship experience worthwhile in a foreign country is to actively absorb, explore, and understand the cultural values as well as learning the real facet of the profession she wishes to pursue," said Lee.
The Global Career Management Center (GCMC) held its first seminar program for undergraduates and graduates titled "Internship & Community Service: Going Global."
The internships explained at the workshop were divided into four groups: internships as community service, internships at international organizations, internships at public organizations, and internships at multinational corporations.
A global internship agency called "Intern Carrier" gave lectures to give more insight to students regarding internship opportunities.