Stories of Life as GIC Intern

January 09, 2021

From Daegu to Gwangju, from Student to Intern

I come from Indonesia and did my master’ degree at Keimyung University in via a Korean Government Scholarship Program. Before graduated, I asked myself many times about the future, and I decided to challenge myself by getting work experience in Korea.

I had never lived in Gwangju before, but did visit twice in 2019: first, to participate in the ASEAN-Korea Special Exhibition, which was run by the Asia Culture Center; and second, for sightseeing related  to May 18 and Gwangju’s neighboring city Damyang. Those experiences encouraged me to try a new part of my life in Gwangju. So naturally, I was glad to find out that I had gotten a Gwangju International Internship Program (GIIP) Second Half 2020 at the Gwangju International Center (GIC)

From the middle of August 2020, my life in Gwangju started. I began by spending two weeks doing a homestay experience with a Korean family while taking an introductory class about my internship. The homestay hosts and I shared many things, like trying Indonesian food. They were so warm, they even picked me up to take me to my new home. I am so lucky to have a new family in Gwangju! 

My internship started in the beginning of September 2020 while Korea was at 2.5 social-distancing level for Covid-19. I spent my time mostly at GIC or home at that time, as the pandemic affected various events happening around the GIC. The events at the GIC started to change from offline to an online platform, and I was naturally a part of this historic transition.

My days as an Intern at the Gwangju International Center 

The Gwangju International Center (GIC) is a non-profit organization for Korean and international residents of Gwangju to join together and collaborate on community building. In other words, it is a place for support that offers exchanges between Korean and foreign residents to improve their life in Gwangju. I was part of International Support Team, responsible for Korean-English translations and interpreting, the Gwangju Newsletter, SNS promotion, and supporting events.

In September 2020, the first month of my internship, I started to learn more about the GIC’s operations and employees. I tried to write articles in newsletters and explored ideas for GIC’s SNS promotion. Beside that, I participated in some programs to introduce Indonesian culture and food to elementary school students and homestay families, then let them experience these. That was my first time to have a online food class.

Introduce Indonesian Culture to School

Cooking Class by online

Along with the start of the autumn season, I started working with others on ‘2020 Asia Culture Plaza Online’, an online collaborative event put on by the Asia Culture Center and the Gwangju International Center. I had the responsibility to support the event through SNS promotion and filming on-site. Although this was not my first experience working with film, but introducing ‘angklung’ (Indonesian traditional music) and ‘wayang’ (Indonesian traditional puppets) through video were new for me. I was so excited and proud to be a conduit to introduce Indonesia to the people of Gwangju.

Participate in '2020 Asia Culture Plaza Online' Promotion

Participate in '2020 Asia Culture Plaza Online'

In addition to the above, the GIC also held its annual ‘Gwangju International Community Day’ (GIC Day) event in November. This event was held online with real-time classes and film videos, so we called it the ‘2020 GIC Day Online’. I supported both platforms from preparation to finish. We had to prepare the ingredients and tools for real-time classes and sent them to participants the day before. Also, we had to accompany the speakers in doing real-time classes. 

For the film videos, I needed to prepare cooking utensils, accompany on-site filming, and do subtitle and translation works on the video. It was quite a busy month, but I found it interesting on the other hand. I became friend with the speakers, got know-how to perform online events, and got used to staying flexible in every situation.

Fun and Sweet Memories at Gwangju International Center

I remember when the GIC International Support Team and I went to the team’s workshop in early December. I never thought that I would have workshop time with GIC members. It was a healing and fun time to spend with everyone. I tried to cook Indonesian food called ‘nasi goreng’ and another dish called ‘shrimp cracker’ for them. I was so happy to know that they liked it!

I would like to express my gratitude for the four-months internship opportunity given by the Gwangju International Center. Finding a job during Covid-19 pandemic is a pretty hard thing to do, but fortunately I was selected to be a member of GIC this fall 2020. I think I made a good choice to challenge myself at the GIC. I felt that the GIC was very open to foreigners and provided a space for them to develop in every way.

I was not just an intern, but also a participant and speaker who introduced Indonesian culture to people in Gwangju. I learned about the GIC member’s work attitude and their best services on offer to everyone who visits the GIC. I feel their warmth, which is something I will remember and carry with me everywhere I go.

What is 'Gwangju International Internship Program' (GIIP) ?

Based on the program name, it is internship opportunity for international students live in Gwangju City. The organizer for this program is Gwangju International Center (GIC), collaborate with other organizations and companies in Gwangju City, so the internship is not limited only to work at Gwangju International Center. There are Gwangju International Center, Gwangju Youth Cultural Center, Gwangju Community Radio Broadcasting, Gwangju Trauma Center, KDJ Convention Center, Cheonnam University Language Education, Padiem as work place required in GIIP Fall 2020.

The internship period is only 16 weeks or 4 months, with 18.5 hours working days, which means this is not full-time internship. The stipend also based on working days. But for me, the internship fee was not big concern cause the purpose of internship was to get work experience in South Korea. I strongly recommend this opportunity for international students live in Gwangju City.

Don't forget their internship period, before spring and fall semester begins. Good luck!

Gwangju International Internship Program Second Half 2020 Participants

Gwangju, December 18th, 2020

*This story also published in 'Gwangju News' January 2021 edition.

#gwangju #gwangjuinternationalcenter #internship

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