Yuna Kang is a model student. We’re not making that claim because she also happens to be a model intern at Alliance Abroad; the South Korean Education Ministry and OSIT selected her as the very best student from the second round of 70 students participating in the WEST program. Yuna will become an example for other South Korean students hoping to participate in the program.
The distinction is a great honor, and will bring more positive results for the Korea WEST Intern program, a joint venture between the U.S. State Department and the South Korean Ministry of Education. The program’s purpose is to foster international relations between the U.S. and South Korea.
Qualification Criteria and Application Process
The qualification and application process for the award was intentionally rigorous, so that current and future WEST participants would focus on achieving the goals for the program: improving English language skills, deepening cultural understanding, and enhancing education and job skills. Interns were required to submit an essay, a certificate of language training, evidence of excellent performance in language training and internships, two recommendations (Yuna provided three), and examples of how they were participating in cultural and community activities.
Why Yuna Won
Yuna exceeded the award criteria and wowed the judges with her essay clearly showing her commitment, leadership and enthusiastic participation, as well as her advice and insights to future participants.
Her experience is exactly what the program is intended to accomplish making her the model student for the program.
An Essay Excerpt
“… the WEST program is a process of melting into American society, learning the culture of the country, developing a broader vision, and making a positive impact on the country and the community. To do this, it was important for me to be constantly taking in new stimuli critically and filling myself with various experiences.”
Contributing to Bettering Communities and Countries
Yuna essay describes her volunteer work at an Austin food bank and her thoughts about American volunteerism – donating time, involving families and how it differs from the Korean donation culture. The practice of introducing children to volunteerism and the idea of teaching them the importance of helping others made a big impression on her.
Her work as a U.N. research intern and involvement in Rainforest Partnership (RP), opened her eyes to societal and environmental issues. Participation in both efforts gave her new perspective and passion for these causes.
Yuna became concerned about issues of the underprivileged in Korea and elsewhere, sharing in her essay: “I reflected on what rights of the socially disadvantaged are not being protected, and the methods communities and society could use to solve them.” Yuna created “Rainforest Facts,” sharing the information about why rainforests are environmentally important through social media outlets.
A Different Perspective of Cultural Exchange
Her internship work at Alliance Abroad has helped Yuna understand more about the behind-the scenes-work assisting foreign students and interns with cultural exchange visa programs. Outside of work and volunteering, Yuna created physical fitness and cultural activity goals, participating in several 5k runs and local cultural exchange activities.
Congratulation to a Model Student and Global Citizen
Yuna concludes her essay sharing that “every moment provides me with opportunities to learn the people around me.” And it appears Yuna has made the most of every moment of her internship program.
As a model student for the Korea WEST program, hundreds of other Korean students will be learning a great deal from Yuna’s experience and insights.
Congratulations to Yuna for taking the opportunity to learn, grow and contribute and for making the most of the experience as an exchange visitor. All of us at Alliance Abroad applaud you for the difference you’ve made in our organization, our community and to countless other people from other nations.