Name: Minsun Hong (DIS, 2010)
Internship: US Congress – Korean National Assembly Exchange Student Program
Duration: 7/8/2013 – 8/9/2013
Q: Why did you apply for this internship?
I was nominated by Assemblyman Ik-pyo Hong (Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee) in the exchange program, and after an English interview and Korean interview, I was chosen as one of the final ten students to represent Korea in the United States’ visit.
Q: How did you prepare for the internship/ international activity?
Before leaving to America ten Korean students from respected universities gathered in the National Assembly Building located in Yeouido and received lectures on the U.S. political system. I also prepared a 20-minute presentation on the function of the National Assembly and the three branches of government.
Q: What did you mainly do in this internship/ international activity?
The main focus of the program was to improve understanding of two countries’ political, economic and cultural differences. The program ran in three states; Washington D.C., Chicago, and Los Angeles. During my stay in D.C. there was a short internship program in a Congressional office. With my American counter-part I spent some time in Senator Jeff Flake’s office. It was an amazing opportunity to learn how the senator’s office operates on a daily basis. I talked with a few of the staff members and also sat in the hearing of the closing down of Guantanamo Bay detention camp. Later on, there were a lot of special meetings with influential people such as Victor Cha, former Director of Asian Affairs in the White House’s National Security Council and James W. Fatheree, senior director for Japan and Korea at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Also during my stay in D.C. there was a 60th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice where I was able to show gratitude to the U.S. Veterans and also hear president Obama’s speech honoring the special year. In Illinois I visited the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to hear how it operates and also visited the Naval Station Great Lakes, learning more about the military. Finally in L.A. the mayor of Irvine shared his inspirational stories of succeeding in America as a first generation immigrant.
Q: What did you learn most from the experience?
After my stay in the U.S. the biggest lesson I received was about the vibrant nature of American politics, economics, and culture. This trip was the first time I visited the states and it made me understand why America was renowned as a superpower. I am now more determined to study in America than ever before.