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04/09/2018 Interview > Alumni


Providing Hope for Students

Outstanding employment cases from Hanyang Work Experience Program


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According to a survey conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Korea’s youth unemployment rate was calculated to be 10.3 percent as of 2017. In comparison to other countries, Korea is ranked as the 16th highest, and has more or less maintained this level for the past five years. However, despite the fact that the rate of youth unemployment has remained at a similar number for a while, the difficulty of unemployment felt by young people was recorded to be the worst. As always in times of hardship, no matter how devastating they may be, there is hope. Two exemplary cases of employment by Kim Na-young (Department of Media Communication, 13’) and Lim Yu-jin (Department of Policy Studies, 10’), offer a ray of hope and encouragement to Hanyangian students.

The Hanyang Work Experience Program
Among the number of programs that Hanyang University has employed to address the challenges of employment for its students, one of the most prominent initiatives is the Hanyang Work Experience Program (HYWEP). Simply put, HYWEP can be explained as a program for providing students with internship opportunities. Every semester, a list of corporations with internship openings are posted online, along with the job description, number of positions, and the pay rate. A competitive edge of HYWEP is that as the program is co-established with the school, students can earn academic credits through the internship. Through this system, students can save a significant amount of time, since they do not have to take time off school to pursue work experience. Furthermore, the internships could lead to potential employment opportunities.
Lim felt that her first three months of internship had not been sufficient enough to learn about the job of an accountant; this led her to return for a second internship.

The path to employment
There are a number of similarities and differences between the stories of Kim and Lim. To begin with the differences, Kim works at an advertisement company. After completing her exchange student program in the United States, she applied for an internship through HYWEP. Although Kim’s aspiration as an undergraduate student was to become a television show producer, working in the advertisement industry was a dream she had held as a child. “I consider myself very lucky. I tried something I liked, found I was good at it, and one thing led to another”.
On the other hand, Lim works as an accountant. For Lim, a career as an accountant was a goal that had been set some time ago. After having completed an internship in an accounting department situated abroad, she felt the desire to work in Korea. Through the HYWEP program, Lim was able to find a firm that suited her conditions. After two consecutive internships, she was offered a position at the firm. Kim and Lim also shares some significant similarities. For one, they both work for an international company. The two students both pursued an internship period of six months in their respective firms prior to their recruitment. Finally, they both made extensive use of the Hanyang Career Development Center and the HYWEP program.
Some advantages of the HYWEP program that Lim mentioned were the kindness of the employees at the Career Development Center. When she had been contemplating which company to apply for, she brought a list of potential companies to the center, where one of the managers gave an analysis on each of the potential firms. After receiving counseling on her career path, she was given a final recommendation. Furthermore, since the internship was done through the school, she felt that the “Hanyang” title was attached to her throughout her experience. Thus, she had to work with a firm sense of responsibility. Kim added that another advantage of HYWEP was that it was a good source of information. Often times, internship possibilities require some research, and personal effort is necessary to find good openings. However, the list of openings that the HYWEP program provides is itself an extremely helpful source. Furthermore, as the application is done through the school, there may be a lower level of competition for the position.
Kim answered that working at an advertisement firm was an unexpected fortune. Working on the promotion of movies, every project was new, so she never felt bored.

Some room for improvement as suggested by Lim and Kim was that a wider array of positions from more industries would be desirable. According to Kim, although there is some variety in the offered openings every semester, there still lacks a fundamental variety to the types of industries that are open for application. She also added that an assessment of the firms would be extremely helpful for those contemplating which company to apply for. Although she was fortunate enough to have worked in a friendly work environment, she had witnessed others who having to work overtime, and generally be mistreated. Kim believes that having an overall assessment record could prevent such happenings. Meanwhile, Lim suggested that an interim evaluation would be helpful for students. In the current state, the Career Development Center does not engage with the students after the internship begins. However, some follow-up services thoughout the duration of the internship could greatly benefit the students.

Advice for students
Both alumna stressed the importance of a long-term internship. “Internships usually come in 3, 6, and 9 month terms, but 3 months is too short a time to really learn anything,” mentioned Kim. Lim also added that for foreign companies, an internship period is an opportunity to prove one’s competence. “Foreign firms especially have a tendency of not hiring people lacking any work experience. Therefore, the period of internship can act as a great window to prove your capabilities.” The two graduates also emphasize the importance of internships themselves, as there are striking differences in how a school and a company approach the same thing. “The academic and practical approaches to the same phenomenon are very different in terms of attitude and purpose,” added Kim. Lim also agrees that her internships were a great chance to learn the realities of a student’s desired career path.

Lee Chang-hyun           
Photos by Lee Jin-myung
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