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My internship with The Korea Herald is over.
Gwanghwamun Gate. Photo: Aaron Yip

I'm no fan of K-pop and K-drama. Nor am I a foodie or fashionista. But there is so much more to Korea. Its complex historical-cultural dynamic contributes to many unique struggles and stories. One such topic is the welfare of foreign English teachers (there is always new developments such as changes to labour law or working condition).

It’s not a prerequisite to be an expert on Korea affairs in order to find good stories, but it helps to stay updated on the latest societal-cultural developments and trends. Being a non-Korean-speaking reporter on an English-language newspaper means many good pitches can be non-feasible because of a struggle to find leads who speak a proficient level of English. But I learned to work with that challenge. The internship is an opportunity to work creatively by developing ingenious alternative methods.

Press pass from the dessert fair. Photo: Aaron Yip

To the interns who come after me to Seoul, I say please prepare your taste buds for spicy food. This is especially pertinent if you plan to eat out most of the time. Most options range from slight spicy tinge to spice that will cause an insane amount of sweating and lip swelling. It’s difficult to avoid; I once bought a packet of sausages from a convenience store, and despite its innocuous packaging, it was of a challenging spicy level .

Korean BBQ, best way to enjoy Seoul (Aaron Yip)

Kakao Talk is the preferred app for communication in Korea, so install it to ensure a smooth integration to Korean working and social life. Beyond the messaging app, the Korean app eco-system is very different to Australia’s. Google Map doesn’t work well in Seoul. Instead, locals use Naver Map . Similarly, Google Translate doesn’t translate Korean to English or the reverse with high fidelity, so people turn to a programme called Papago (recommended by my supervisor at the Herald). Lastly, when you find yourself in a foreign part of town with no public transport, taxi is a perfect option but requires perseverance and persuasion. For those who don’t want to wave your arm like a mad person for 20 minutes, an app called Kakao Taxi, offers the same functions as Uber.

Night view of Itaewon (Aaron Yip)

This internship has been an unforgettable experience - a rewarding process of professional development and personal growth. Given my lack of industry experience, I was tentative to apply because I thought I was unqualified. Looking back, simply having the courage to apply for the fellowship was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

I want to thank The Korea Herald, University of Sydney , and The Australia-Korea Foundation for this amazing month.

This is all from me. Bye.

Paul Kerry (chief copy editor and my supervisor) and I

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.