When everybody says “NO,” there is one who always says “YES.” Chung Hannah (
Working for the UN can be regarded as one of the most ambitious jobs among Korean students and thus, many people make a great effort in order to get the job. Among the many paths available, Chung chose a special internship program provided by her alma mater. “Since my junior year, I wanted to apply for the internship. But the program was open for seniors only, so I had to wait for another year,” said Chung.
As a result, Chung was selected as one of the 10 students to intern at the UN. She took a semester off and spent six months at the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) and UN Cooperation Department. She was the youngest and the only undergraduate college student to participate in the internship. Chung was in charge of examining applications and papers submitted by NGOs and evaluating their legitimacy to gain associate status with the UN. “It was a pretty heavy burden for an intern. I had to receive the papers sent by thousands of NGOs all over the world. It was sad to see the lack of participation of Korean NGOs that sent only a few compared to those other countries,” said Chung.
Chung dreamed of working for the UN since the eighth grade. “After witnessing the failures of Korean negotiations during the financial crisis, I thought earnestly of becoming an ‘international negotiator,’” said Chung. Now, she is half way to achieving her dream, since after all, she took advantage of her internship program and obtained a position at the UN DPI as a regular worker.
Chung’s success in such a short period of time compared to others was possible as she diligently accopmplished the tasks given to her. Being an intern, she also studied for the ASAT (Administrative Support Assessment Test) and NCRE (National Competitive Recruitment Exam), two exams those who wish to work at the UN must pass.
Yet, passing these two exams was not the main reason why Chung was accepted as the staff at the UN DPI. “There were a lot of people who passed the exams, but are still waiting in line to be located. If not chosen immediately, they just have to get another job until they are called,” said Chung. According to Chung, staying attached to the staff at the UN and voluntarily doing interviews greatly helped her in terms of stabilizing her status. “I think actively searching and doing the work I can do enabled me to obtain people’s attention and thus, build up my reputation, which definitely acted as an extra credit for me to get the job,” said Chung.
There is “something special” about the UN that made Chung work so hard. “One attractive feature that the UN has is that it provides you the opportunity to meet with unusual people, all of whom have their own unique characteristics. And most of them speak three to four different languages other than their mother tongue,” said Chung. “Moreover, whenever people like President Bush and the Pope visit the UN, it really excites me to be part of a historical milestone,” Chung said.
Chung has been working as a regular staff since September of this year. She wants to be a prominent international negotiator just like Kim Hyun-jong, the 21st UN ambassador of the Republic of Korea. Chung offers this advice for those who wish to follow in her footsteps to build human network. “I think building a human network is one of the most important requirements for success. Human networks are not something given. You have to make them on your own. So start expanding your relationships with people.