Hi! My name is Jezel Christine N. Quevada but you may call me Jezzie. I am currently on my last year in my Master’s Degree in Political Science in De La Salle University – Manila in the Philippines.
Since my field of interest is International Relations, I decided to look for an
internship program that caters to this specific interest of mine. Upon looking up for various opportunities in the internet, I came across Asia Hope Camp Organization (ACOPIA)’s internship program and became interested about it, especially because its main focus is on Korea and Japan – two countries that are covered by the area of specialization under my degree. Although my course does not require its students to do internships, I decided to partake on this endeavour to gain experience in working in an NGO abroad and be able to
know how it is to live and work with different people from different background and culture.
With my background in International Relations through my Bachelor’s Degree and experience in working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of my country, the Philippines, I have long been interested in knowing more about Korea and its rich history, culture,
background and people. Likewise, I have always wanted to do a voluntary work or engage in an international exchange. As such, being accepted in the internship program of ACOPIA then has become a channel for me to fulfil these desires.
As a Project Management intern, I was mainly assigned to promote ACOPIA and its programs in various social media sites and pages. In line with this, I maintained ACOPIA’s various websites, updated the information written on them, translated, edited and improved the contents, and organized and rearranged the designs in the social media platforms so they would be more readable for all, timely and relevant. Apart from this, communication has become my chief responsibility especially after ACOPIA started the “Duty Staff” program for interns. As a Duty Staff, I performed tasks that are usually done by regular staff such as communicating with interested intern applicants or other program participants (i.e. KPOP camps) and responding to their queries, assisting in the financial and accounting undertakings of the company (particularly on payments received from intern applicants), helping in the management of ACOPIA’s café (i.e. taking customer’s
orders, serving drinks, and recording sales) and of the Share House (i.e. doing the inventory for essential house furniture and machines), and providing logistical and administrative support particularly during work camps or KPOP camps.
Aside from these things, I was also assigned to handle a one-on- one English class where I had to teach Koreans who were interested to learn and improve their English language and speaking ability. One English class lasts for two hours. During the class, I not only correct
my students’ grammar and teach them English words to improve their vocabulary but I also try to talk to them about various topics that interest them such as their personal life, their ambitions, their country and essentially anything under the sun. While I am able to
help them learn English, I also have gotten to know them, recognized how they think and perceive things and learned from them as well.
In return for teaching English, as an intern in ACOPIA, I am privileged to learn Korean language for free. This Korean language class they provide usually lasts for two hours and I take it once a week – something that is really very helpful for foreigners especially when living in Korea as it helps you to know the language and eventually be able to converse with Korean locals. I liked my Korean language teacher because the way he teaches me is really effective and because of him, I was also able to learn more about Korea and the way of life here.
As ACOPIA’s internship program requires its interns to work with minimal to no supervision, I have become more independent and I learned how to explore and figure out things that I do not know how to do and come up with simple and fast solutions. Through
the activities being done, I know I have become even more dependable and persistent as I strived to deliver what is expected of me and even beyond. If I were able to come up with solutions, I did not hesitate to teach it to my co-interns and even the staff and I helped
make things easier for everyone since I believe my role is to aid in the betterment of the organization. Working with people from different races and cultures taught me how to become more patient and understanding. Such an experience allowed me to broaden my
horizon of how I see and perceive people – that there will be a lot of things that will seem odd for us or unknown to us about other people, but we must always have an open mind about everything and let respect and kindness reign instead of resentment or indifference. It is amazing to discover that despite the many differences you may have with other people from other countries and races, there will be bits and pieces of similarities as well. And I realized, knowing these knick knacks can somehow be the start of a great friendship. I also realized that if you become friendlier to people and approach them with a smile, they will smile back at you and the atmosphere will be lighter. Although there might be a language barrier in expressing one’s self in order to be understood, kind actions brings people closer together. As such, I can truly say that “actions [indeed] speak louder than words.”
Staying in South Korea for over three months and having this experience is something really memorable. I have gained friends from different parts of the world which I will really treasure. This opportunity also allowed me to visit and explore various beautiful places of
this country and eat sumptuous meals I have only seen in Korean dramas and movies before. Although the internship program is not exactly what I expected, I can say that I was able to make the best out of it and would not regret this experience as I have enjoyed the
journey nonetheless. If there will be something I could recommend, I think there should be more fruitful activities for interns that would make them more engaged in the activities of the organization and not just keep them sitting in front of their computers. I think, aside
from marketing and communication, they should also be given tasks that will really stretch their skills such as administrative and logistical assignments. I also think there should be more interactive activities for them where they can really share and exchange information
and experiences about their cultures to other people. Overall, I am very thankful for this wonderful chance of working in ACOPIA as its intern and living in Korea to discover its soul. Truly, Seoul is soulful and there is something deep in store in this country and in its
people that one must discover to be able to understand how the country has been able to rise as one of Asia’s tigers. This trip and internship program is really a humbling experience. Korea and ACOPIA, Jeongmal kumapsumnida! Daeume bwayo! 정말고맙습니다.