Global Perspective Through Internship Experience

Hannah Reynolds ’17 Gains Global Perspective Through Internship Experience In Korea

Do you think it would be difficult to study abroad and complete an internship? It can be done! Hannah, who's majoring in East Asian Studies and Business Management at Wittenberg, is now studying in Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea, while also gaining important professional experience as an intern.

“There is no Korean department or class in Wittenberg, how did you get this opportunity?”

Hannah Reynolds“We do have a connection with ISEP (International Student Exchange Program) in the international office. I just talked to the ladies in the office to see if I can find a way to come to Korea. They were so helpful in the application process and they were very good at helping me.”

“What are you learning in Korea?”

“Last semester, I studied the Korean language for 20 hours a week, which was a really intensive Korean class. I also took business and some Korean literature classes that I really loved.”

“Have you had any struggles?”

“Ah, so many! In the U.S., I look like a lot of other people around me and I never feel like I need to be really conscious of my own presence. However, in Korea, I can’t hide anywhere. I am different from everybody and I have felt much more conscious of everything that I do. It makes me more polite, kind and sensitive to cultural things because if I’m not, I’d be reflecting a bad image of international people in general. I don’t think that is a bad thing but it’s good to know the impact you have on other people.”

“How have you grown or adjusted since you first arrived in Korea? Do you feel more comfortable?”

“Oh yeah. I’ve gotten better at the language so I can interact more easily now. When I first got here, although I knew basic stuffs, I was afraid to just order food, but now I just do it. I’ve gotten accustomed to the culture in a way that it comes naturally now. When I came back to the U.S for Christmas, I was about to bow to a total stranger in a train station in Chicago! The culture comes very naturally just like that.”

“Do you think studying in Korea can be a good resource for your future job?”

“Yeah for sure. I’m definitely learning things in the classroom that are helpful, but it’s even better to get them directly from Korean professors or friends. As soon as I leave class, I get to see the concepts applied in people around me. So, I had a class that was about cultural and ethnic diversity within Korea and I learned about Gyopo, which is like a person who left Korea, moved abroad, and came back to Korea. Because of their background, they have an interesting relationship and cultural division with Koreans who never left Korea. You can learn about it in class as much as you want, but as soon as you leave the class, I actually get to eat at restaurant which was run by Gyopo so I got to talk to them and ask them about personal experiences. What I want to say from this experience is, in addition to the awesome education at school, I can also get to see everything I learn about Korea, which is so difficult to find anywhere else.”

“Have you had any experiences that have prepared you for studying in Korea?”

“I got to intern at a human resources department at a technology company in Michigan, called Dematic. I worked specifically in Global Talent Management there, so I could use my language skills every single day like sending e-mails in Chinese and Spanish. I also worked with people from 25 different countries. It was a good experience to work in an international team, and that is what I want to do in the future!”

“So, how do you think your experiences in Korea your previous internship will help you in the future?”

“In terms of getting a job, it definitely helps because I have a lot of language experiences now. That is a big impact on jobs for sure. Especially in the internship, my employers and co-workers were very happy to have someone who can speak at least a little bit although it’s not required. I think it was because of the image of American companies that people from other countries have. For example, they might feel we just think about ourselves and we’re expecting them to always fit us. However, just sending an email in their language not our native language can show that we really care about them. I think that’s very helpful and could be partially why they hired me. Also, an experience of living abroad can show that I’m very flexible. Especially if I want to go into international business type jobs, just being aware of different cultures and knowing slight differences of cultures can be vital.”

“Do you have any advice for other students thinking of studying abroad?”

“I think I would say - Take every opportunity that is presented to you even though you are in a small school and a small town! There’s so much opportunity both inside and outside of campus that you can use to help your experience or to follow an interest that you want to learn more about. There’s so many opportunities around you, but if there aren’t, just make one!”

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