Sunday, 27 October 2013

Internship Opportunities for Australians in Seoul

Where to find Internship opportunities in Seoul

Austcham Korea

There are generally little to no opportunities for a young Australian to find internships in Korea which is why I am pleasantly surprised and happy to see that Austcham Korea (The Australian Chamber of Commerce in Korea) in conjunction with Austrade (My former workplace) have received funding to support up to 6 young Australians for a 3 month period to undertake a Internship at a Australian or Korean SME in Seoul. Applications close on November 1 and the full details can be found at the Austcham Korea Website

I am almost a little jealous in the fact that I wish this program was around 3 - 4 years ago when I was looking for such opportunities. Anyway to give a little personal insight; The opportunities will more than likely be with an Australian company in Seoul. Most of Austcham Korea's member companies are non-Korean and it is unlikely that any of the major companies will join the program as they probably already have their own internship programs. So if you were thinking of working for Samsung, Hyundai, Hanwha, LG, Doosan etc then it is unlikely that this opportunity will provide that. If you check out the Austcham Korea business directory you can get an insight into what kind of companies might join the program. 

What is impressive is that the program claims it will sponsor the successful applicants visa's. I'm not sure what visa they will recommend - I don't think an E-7 visa or other working visa's are acceptable for an intern but I suspect there is some sort of training visa available (Probably amongst the C category -  my guess is C-4 temporary work visa). My advice to potential applicants is if you are not currently in Korea but plan on applying for this program then take advantage of the working holiday visa which affords you a year in Korea and you can work freely and also study. The H-1 working holiday visa was in fact my first visa to Korea and at the time I was one of only 20 odd Australians utilising the program! You can find the details of the H-1 Visa here. After your 3 month program it is likely you will want to stay on and learn more of the language and search for other opportunities later. If your language skills are still at beginner level then take the working holiday visa and use the extra 9 months to take a language course - It is the best decision you could make! 

Also, if you aren't on LinkedIn yet then I would also recommend signing up and seeking out the Austcham Korea group and trying to connect with other Austcham members! There aren't many young Aussies in Korea trying to get into the professional field so competition won't be that tough and you are likely to be welcomed with open arms! I was always surprised when even after 4 years of being in Seoul I was still one of the youngest guys in the wider Australian business community! I was always waiting for that younger version of me to come along to an event but it never happened! (Which is why I suspect they have created this program!)

Anyway get your applications in quick! They close November 1 - More details here.

Australian Embassy

I unfortunately dropped the ball on this one. A few weeks ago on the Australian Embassy website were advertising for potential intern applications. It is closed now but don't despair because they regularly re-advertise for new applicants every few months, so keep an eye out!

The program however has always been a bit stumbling for young Australians in that most Australians are overlooked for the positions! I don't think I know any young Australian to be given an internship opportunity at the embassy yet, something which really needs to change! 

This program also runs for 3 months and applicants are deployed to a certain section of the embassy. Duties include providing support to events and coordination of VIP guests, mail duties,  updating the embassy Facebook page and Blog. Media scanning is also a common duty which will require a high level of Korean and is probably why most young Australians are overlooked. One of my mates was short-listed once but then they never contacted him afterwards so...... 

That said, Korean language skills or not all young Australians should try their luck and send in an application. The internship doesn't pay but the embassy do provide a small daily stipend  for transportation costs and lunch. After the 3 months they give you a certificate to say you interned at the embassy and that's that! Some however have been known to extend their internship for another 3 month period depending on the requirements of the embassy section. 

Good luck!

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