Australia Korea Internship Program
Spend two months in Korea and advance your career prospects. Initiated by the AKF and operated in conjunction with the Research Institute for Asia and the Pacific (RIAP) and the Korea-Australia Foundation. This selects and sends up to 10 business and finance students to Korea for a two month placement in a major Korean company. Details of the program andapplications through the Research Institute for Asia and the Pacific, University of Sydney
Testimonial from 2009-10 Intern Mr Michael Omeara
A Seoul Searching Experience – Working and Studying in South Korea
At the end of last year I was accepted to complete an internship at Hyundai Corporation followed by an exchange to Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. I was placed in the Legal Department of the Hyundai Corporation, a subsidiary of Hyundai Heavy Industries (the world's largest shipbuilder). In my role, at Hyundai, I primarily researched and advised on international contract law and commercial transactions with a focus on letters of credit. The main insight I achieved through this internship was a greater understanding of the Korean business culture. This was also the most challenging part of the internship because it underpinned all interaction and everyday communication. The highlight was a trip to the POSCO Steel Mill in Pohang with the other interns. Witnessing firsthand how the steel production process worked was fascinating and the scale of the enterprise was truly awe inspiring.
After completing the internship, I started my exchange semester at Yonsei University. It was here where I truly realised what it would be like to be brought up in a country of around 50 million people. This makes the environment slightly competitive and hard working. By slightly competitive I mean that every high school graduate strives to make it into one of the three Korean 'Ivy League' universities where students have regular 8 hour study sessions, commonly repeat subjects to upgrade to an A (even if at first, they received a B) and simultaneously complete CPA or CFA while studying 6 subjects (the standard workload).
Other highlights from my time in Korea include:
- Living in Seoul – just amazing.
- Appearing on Korean national television as one of those foreigners experiencing Korean culture.
- Joining my local taekwondo club where the average age was around 12 – of course I usually won the sparring sessions.
- Eating Korean food – food that you have never eaten before and cannot always identify. For example, live octopus, silk worms or pig intestines.
- Embracing Korean culture, including K-Pop.
In conclusion, my time in Korea has been an amazing experience that I will never forget. I was supported by the Australian Government through the Australia–Korea Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and these opportunities would not have been possible had it not been for their support.