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Gosh, I get so stressed at the store when they ask me more than ‘do you need a plastic bag?’

Fuzzy thoughts. Photo: Kurt Achin

You see, I usually get mistaken for a Korean at stores (understandable) but I’ve been learning to recognise the usual things they ask me – “how many people?” “do you need a receipt?” “do you need a bag?”. It’s when they get to other things, things like, “eat in or take away?” and especially when they start to explain their selection of whatever they’re offering, that I start to feel bad for not knowing more Korean. Sometimes I am guilty of not knowing the moment to stop them, trying to pick out bits that I do understand, and then it becomes awkward when the person realises I haven't understood 70% of what they just said.

I am so grateful to be interning at a radio station, particularly in such a dynamic and tightly-knit team working to produce each week’s program. The hardest part isn’t finding the story; it’s finding talent – especially talent that speaks English. I'm not left alone to take care of every part of the segment, which relieves a lot of pressure, and I don't have to worry about needing people to translate for me.

At an ice cream shop. Photo: Linda Jeon

However, it can be difficult to find talent with broadcast-worthy English. I almost had my pitch on recycling and waste-free living in Korea canned because it was so hard to find English speakers in this area. Because of this, the viability of my pitches depends on finding talent.

Beekeeping class. Photo: Kristi Cheng

At the end of this week, producer Linda and I headed to a beekeeping class, another field assignment from one of my pitches. At the back of a classroom, we listened to all sorts of bee facts the teacher taught to children and did further Googling ourselves. (Did you know worker bees are all female, and only live for 45 days, when the queen bee can live for years? And that when the queen bee loses her virility, the worker bees crowd around and cause her to die by overheating? Talk about a fall from grace!). However, interviewing the teacher, the parents, and the children, had to be in Korean, which Linda did after we discussed the questions. I’m particularly thankful to her for coming with me on the weekend so that I could cover the story I wanted to.

Linda to the rescue. Photo: Kristi Cheng

Another field assignment, another sauna suit. Photo: Linda Jeon

About the Blog

Parallax records the experiences of final year students of the B.A. (Media & Communications) degree who have won competitive overseas internships to work in Asian, Indian and Latin American media organisations.