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Thoughts on the KF-European Parliament Traineeship Program
A View of Korea from the EU

Wouldn’t it be great if Northeast Asia maintained a cooperative network similar to the European Union (EU)? Although they say relations between China, Japan, and Korea are fraught with innate historical and political challenges, when it comes to matters requiring collaborative responses, such as environmental issues, isn’t it possible to create solutions together? I enrolled in a graduate school of international studies because I wanted to research solutions for transboundary disputes between neighboring countries, and near the end of my first semester, I discovered that the KF–European Parliament Traineeship Program was accepting applicants for training abroad.
This past February, I was fortunate enough to be able to work at the de facto headquarters of the European Parliament (EP) in Brussels, Belgium, where was I assigned to the External Policy Department (DG EXPO). As a trainee from Korea, I was asked to conduct research and write briefing papers on matters related to North and South Korea, in addition to China and Japan, and I was even called on to write reports on ASEAN member countries. The most notable discovery that I made while working at the EP was that I needed to know my own home country better. Upon hearing that I was from Korea, the first thing people asked about was my country’s relations with North Korea, my opinions about unification, and even matters concerning the comfort women issue. People were curious about Korean youths’ views on unification, their thoughts on Japan, and a desirable direction for Korea-China relations. Such questions made me determined to always have Korea at the axis of my graduate studies.
Although the three months flew by, it was both a pleasure and source of pride to work among a group of people who strove for something they truly believed in. I’d like to thank the Korea Foundation for helping me to take a giant leap forward in my career, and I hope that many more can continue to benefit from this kind of valuable experience through the KF Traineeship Program.

- Trainee of 2015 KF European Parliament Traineeship Program Yoon Ji-yeong

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