Please give a brief introduction of yourself.
My name is Jai Eun Kim and I am currently a senior in the Korean Language Flagship program at University of Hawaii at Manoa. I was born in Korea and I immigrated to Hawaii at the age of six. Last year, I completed my study abroad capstone and also worked as an intern at VANK during my time in Korea.
How did you start interning at VANK?
The Korean Language Flagship Program includes a year studying abroad in Korea at Korea University and an internship of our choice. I was interested in interning at an NGO so the program coordinator suggested VANK to me. Before my interview at VANK I researched about VANK and learned how they correct distorted Korean history in the world and became interested.
What were your duties as an intern?
As an intern I did some translation work at times and assisted at VANK events. One of my main projects were to work on the VANK Story website. Some of the blogs that I uploaded were about Korean culture, issues regarding Dokdo and comfort women, and also about Korean history.
Another project that I did was to find information on Korean history through online websites. I would translate the content of that website into Korean and record information on that website. This project was to find out what kind of information there was about Korea in different websites.
Was your internship experience as you expected? Why or why not?
I started my internship worried about communicating solely in Korean, but as I worked at VANK that was not a problem at all. Everyone at VANK helped me to improve my Korean everyday as I worked there. If I had any questions they would spend time to explain things such as certain cultural differences. I didn’t expect anything when I started at VANK, but I left with experiencing a family-like environment rather than a work environment.
What have you gained from your experience as an intern?
From working as an intern at VANK I gained relationships with not only people who worked at VANK but also other students who interned at VANK. Everyone at VANK seemed like family and also treated me with the same kindness.
I also gained knowledge about things that could not be taught in the classroom such as issues surrounding Dokdo and comfort women. Also I learned that there are lots of distorted Korean history on the Internet. Some of the ones I found included the “Sea of Japan” instead of the corrected term “East Sea”.
Describe some of your short-term and long-term goals.
My short-term goal is to graduate with my BA next semester and start applying to a masters Korean program. My long-term goal is to continue to use Korean language in whatever field I go into. Also, I hope to find a job after graduating from my masters program to contribute back to NGO’s such as VANK that are promoting Korea globally.
Are there any last words you would like to say to VANK?
I don’t think I was able to express my gratitude towards the people at VANK during my last days of internship. I wanted to say I was grateful for the kindness they gave me during the year. I was able to comfortably work at VANK and get close to everyone because the people at VANK really do treat you like family. A year went by so quickly but I will cherish the moments I had with the VANK family. Thank you again for everything and I will always cheer on VANK in the future!