My name is Katja Marie Engelage and I am majoring in International Relations with a minor in Management at the University Erfurt. As I am specializing my studies in the East Asian region I came to Korea as an exchange student for two semesters. After studying at Yonsei University for one semester I was met with more than 2 months of winter break before the new semester would start. Searching for something to do during that time I stumbled upon the internship at ACOPIA. As I am hoping to work for an NGO one day, I decided to give it a try and take part in the internship program at ACOPIA for a month.
The first few days of the internship I didn´t really enjoy it much and was actually considering quitting this internship. I was not aware that “able to work with minimal supervision” meant just reading a manual and then being expected to start working and knowing what to do. In addition, most of the other interns had already known each other for a while so it was hard for me to get into contact with them at first.
Then after a few days, I was finally getting the hang of it. After just 3 days I was the only intern present that day and therefore I was in charge for duty staff, meaning I had to answer all the emails and deal with the problems of the new incoming interns. As I didn´t really know anything yet, it was very hard, however, the supervisor was very patient in answering my questions and helping me out.
At first there wasn´t really much to do and it was kind of boring, but soon we started promoting the ACOPIA Free Talking Café. As we were just starting with this concept nobody really knew about our Café yet and we had to get creative on how to let people know about it. At first there was no one coming, but after a week of promotion we finally had a few customers and it was a nice experience to know that our promotions had been successful. Once customers came, it was a nice experience to talk to them. Not only did it give them a chance to practice their English but it also gave us interns a chance to know more about Korean culture as a topic that often came up during the talks was the differences between Korean culture and our own.
I also enjoyed the weekly Korean classes a lot. As I had been studying a little Korean during my first semester in Korea already, I already had a certain amount of knowledge. ACOPIA was able to find me teachers that could teach me on the level I needed and they did not have any problems in exchanging their books for the once from my university. Also, as the lessons were one on one, I was able to learn a lot during that time.
All in all I can say that the internship has been an interesting experience. I met a lot of nice people and learned a lot of things. It has not been really helpful in regard to my studies but it gave me a good insight look into the working world and gave me some ideas about my future career path.