2020 Summer Internship
Saehyun Lee, Yonsei University
Looking Back on the EAI Internship: A Short Summary
The summer of 2020 will surely be memorable with my wonderful internship at the East Asia Institute. Thanks to the researchers who understand the interns’ skills and interests, I was able to take part in different projects, from reading journals and attending symposiums to making promotional materials for upcoming events. There was also an added benefit of traveling to various restaurants in Euljiro with your EAI family. After eight weeks, I can confidently say that I became knowledgeable of Korea's current socio-political trends and became confident in my designing skills. Thank you, everyone—researchers and fellow interns; For making me feel like being in a family.
My motivation for applying for the East Asia Institute (EAI) internship stemmed from last summer when I worked as a research assistant at the Woodrow Wilson Center. While I gained much insight, most of the research was specifically focused on the US-North Korea relationship, even though I wanted to know about the different socio-political issues surrounding the Korean peninsula.
Thankfully, the EAI Internship program let me fulfill this intellectual curiosity as I was appointed with the following tasks in the course of 8 weeks. First, I participated in forums and webinars, whose topics ranged from Koreans’ changing identity to the decline of democracy amidst the COVID-19. Writing minutes of meeting in Korean/English was also helpful in attaining an in-depth knowledge on these issues, as I was able to go over the discussions for the second time and ponder upon them. Secondly, I was assigned with translation works, where I came to read some fascinating articles. An interesting article among them was “North Korea’s Building of a Civilized Socialist Country,” which analyzes the multifaceted changes in North Korean society to keep up with the international trend. In the process of translation, I had to search for primary resources and relevant news articles, through which I honed my research skills and attained further knowledge on the issue.
Another reason why the internship was so memorable is because of all the designing work I participated in. Concerning most of the EAI events held between July and September, I was granted the chance to help design the posters, pamphlets, and banners. To use my designing skills on such on-site tasks was an eye-opening experience, as I learned to work in a timelier manner and become more cautious about the details. In addition to the official promotional materials, I contributed to the EAI Instagram page; Here, based on the remarkably brilliant ideas of my fellow interns, I created layouts that can make the site more visually appealing. Doing the designing work made me feel encouraged and appreciated, knowing that I could contribute to the organization other than my academic knowledge.
Overall, this internship was truly memorable, being able to grow both intellectually and artistically. I give thanks to all the wonderful researchers in the EAI for recognizing all the interns’ talents and giving their best support. I am also thankful for all the interns for helping me adapt to the work environment with their kindness and warm heart.