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00707012
2012.10
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KOREAN

Internship at Leading U.S. Museums and Think Tank/2012 KF Global Interns Discuss their Expectations

Five young Koreans, brimming with enthusiasm and anticipation, gathered at the Korea Foundation’s home office in Yangjae-dong, southern Seoul, on August 16. Selected for the 2012 KF Global Internship Program, this second group of interns will soon be dispatched to world-renowned museums and a think tank in the United States. I sat down with these new KF Global Interns, who survived a fierce competition to grasp an opportunity to pursue their dreams to become Korea’s next-generation leaders on the international stage, to hear about their plans.

For its second-year Global Internship Program, the Korea Foundation has selected five young scholars as of August, and is currently in the process of choosing two more for internship at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. The program’s significant benefits, which include round-trip airfare and a monthly living stipend in addition to an opportunity to acquire work experience at the world’s leading museums and think tanks, are attracting a growing number applicants.

Korea’s Next-generation Leaders

2012 KF Global Interns Discuss their ExpectationsThe two interns set to embark on their six-month stints at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars have great expectations about their “once-in-a-lifetime chance” to serve at a prominent institution and receive guidance from distinguished specialists on their specific areas of research. Kim Seokwon and Shin Hee young are scheduled to leave for the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. Established in 1968 by an act of the U.S. Congress, the center is recognized as one of the world’s foremost policy research institutions on global diplomatic affairs, serving as a link between academic research and real-world politics.

The Woodrow Wilson Center is especially renowned for its in-depth study of the Cold War’s development as well as a repository of huge volumes of diplomatic documents from various countries. The Korea Foundation has supported the center’s Korea-related research projects since 1991. “I think I was selected because the topic of my doctoral thesis is related to the Cold War era, which well matches the center’s research strength,” said Kim Seokwon, a Ph.D. candidate at Yonsei University. “I need to refer to East European documents for my research, and I expect to have access to plenty of source materials in English at the center.”

Shin Hee young, who is majoring in international peace and security at Korea University’s Graduate School of International Studies, said: “For my individual research, I intend to study in depth about the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) regime and get useful advice to look into its limitations in curbing nuclear proliferation.” She is eagerly looking forward to opportunities to exchange ideas with scholars and research staff at various security-related think tanks and research institutes located near the Woodrow Wilson Center.

Advocates of Public Diplomacy

Kim Na Jung, a doctorate candidate at Stanford University, has been chosen for internship at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. Asked how she feels, Kim said: “Competition is fierce even among American students in the same field to earn an internship at any leading U.S. museum. I can’t help but feel excited to have this great opportunity as a Korean student.”

2012 KF Global Interns Discuss their Expectations

Shim Chorong, a graduate student at the Department of Archeology and Art History, Seoul National University, will serve her internship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. “I began preparing for this program after seeing a senior at my school selected as an intern last year,” she said. “I couldn’t be happier to have this privilege myself.”

Park Kyoung-eun, assigned to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, is currently serving as an intern at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, a complex of five museums and a research library specializing in the art of the American West, located in Cody, Wyoming, in the United States. “I understand that some students have already begun preparing for next year’s KF internship program. This is really a great opportunity, so a lot of my friends envy me,” Park said

2012 KF Global Interns Discuss their ExpectationsParticularly, the three interns who are to serve at U.S. museums revealed their high expectations for chances to participate in endeavors to promote Korean culture in the United States. Shim Chorong said:

2012 KF Global Interns Discuss their Expectations“As a Korean art major, I’m especially excited over the possibility of helping to introduce Korean cultural properties to people in the United States.” She is particularly interested in a special exhibition of Korean art that the Metropolitan Museum of Art is currently preparing. Kim Na Jung expressed her eagerness to assist with an exhibition of Joseon Dynasty banquets and rituals, slated for March next year at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. She said she is also greatly interested in studying ancient paintings in the museum’s storage.

Meeting new people, encountering a new culture, and writing their theses, they will all have extremely busy days but disclosed huge expectations on their personal activities on off days. They said unanimously that they will visit as many think tanks, research institutes, museums, and art galleries as possible, so as to make the most of their time available for personal enrichment. Ready to meet their challenges as potential next-generation leaders of Korea, the KF global interns rounded up the dialogue with the following remarks:

Park Kyoung-eun: “I want to observe the conservation treatment of art objects conducted at other museums and art galleries, and visit as many exhibitions as possible.”
Kim Seokwon: “I will deepen my research through careful study of East European documents related to North Korea.”
Kim Na Jung: “With the question ‘What is a good exhibition?’ in my mind, I will try to expand my role and experience.”
Shim Chorong: “I hope to learn everything about New York City.”
Shin Hee young: “Aside from my studies, I hope to explore the meaning of American culture and lifestyle, and also learn a lot about the Washington, D.C. community.

Choi Kyung-sook Freelance Writer

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