10 Things to Know Before Interning in South Korea

Internship in South Korea

10 Things to Know Before Interning in South Korea

Interning abroad is one of the best ways to complement your academic experience with real-world, international business exposure.

Not only will you be able to immerse yourself in a different culture and gain valuable work experience, but you’ll also dramatically expand both your personal and professional horizons.

If you’re considering where you should spend your time, South Korea may have come up in your list of searches. It’s not hard to see why. This country boasts a dynamic economy, a rich cultural heritage – and it’s also at the forefront of business and technological innovation.

Before you pack your bags and hop on a plane, there are a few key things to know about interning in South Korea.  From the language and cultural norms to financial considerations and professional etiquette, this experience requires careful preparation if you want to enjoy your time there.

Let’s dive in. 

Can Foreigners Intern in Korea?

The short answer is yes, it’s entirely feasible, and the number of international internships offered in South Korea continues to grow by the second. 

Nonetheless, navigating the process can be complex, as you’ll need to secure the appropriate visa, understand labor laws, and potentially address cultural and language barriers.

Perhaps the best news we’ll tell you is that interns in South Korea can work on any type of visa – as long as they are unpaid, of course. 

What Are the Benefits of Interning in South Korea?

If you’re thinking about an internship in South Korea, congratulations! You’re about to embark on an amazing journey.

South Korea’s centuries-old culture and traditions coexist with its modern, high-tech society, offering a multifaceted experience. You’ll have the opportunity to eat delicious food, learn the Korean language, and explore historical landmarks and natural beauty.

Plus, interning in South Korea puts you in the heart of a vibrant business community. You’ll have the chance to forge relationships with professionals in your field, opening potential doors for future job opportunities and collaborations.

Living and working in a new country provides an invaluable experience of different work styles, cultural norms, and lifestyle practices. Because of this, you can enhance your global mindset, which is becoming increasingly important in jobs of all kinds.

You can’t overlook the exposure to innovation you’ll get, either. South Korea is a global hub for innovation, particularly in sectors like healthcare, artificial intelligence, and robotics. Interning in this environment can provide front-row access to groundbreaking projects and technologies.

Finally, you’ll boost your soft skills – we’re talking cross-cultural communication, adaptability, and emotional intelligence are just a few of the soft skills that are honed when interning abroad. These skills are highly transferable and can set you apart in a competitive job market.

What You Should Know About Interning in South Korea

Internship In South Korea

Getting excited? You should be! Interning in South Korea will no doubt be one of the most exciting experiences of your life. Here are a few things to be aware of before you head out on your trip:

1. Do Your Research

Before you commit to an internship in South Korea, take the time to do some extensive research. Understand the type of company or organization you are interning with, the role you will have, and the city where you will be living. This information can help you determine if South Korea is the best fit for your personal and professional goals.

2. You May Want to Learn Korean

While most people you encounter in the workplace may speak some English, making an effort to learn Korean can greatly enhance your experience. It will help you navigate daily life, form deeper connections with locals, and stand out professionally.

3. Get Ready to Move

We’re not talking here about the process of moving to Korea – working with a partner like Absolute Internship can make that step a bit easier for you – but instead, about actual movement. South Korea is known for being an incredibly fast-paced country where people walk quickly and aren’t afraid to push you out of their way if you’re going too slow. 

4. Don’t Be Put Off by the Stares

South Korea is relatively homogeneous, and as a foreigner, you may find that you receive more stars than you’re used to. Don’t interpret this negatively – staring is not considered rude. 

5. Take the Time to Explore Your Neighborhood 

Squeezing every bit of cultural and personal enrichment out of your experience means exploring beyond your office and your temporary housing. Spend some time getting to know your local area, trying new foods, and visiting local attractions.

6. Create a Budget Before You Go 

South Korea tends to have higher prices for groceries, living expenses, transportation, utilities, etc. Create a realistic budget that accounts for these higher costs and stick to it to avoid financial stress during your internship.

7.  Plan for the Weather 

The weather in South Korea can be quite variable, with hot, humid summers and cold winters. Make sure you pack for all seasons, and perhaps invest in appropriate clothing upon arrival.

8. Respect the Hierarchical System

Korean work culture is known for its strict hierarchy. It’s important to understand and respect this system, as it can greatly influence your interactions with colleagues and superiors.

9. Don’t Leave the Office Before Your Boss

It’s considered respectful to remain in the office until your superior leaves unless instructed otherwise. 

10. Respect Kibun

This term doesn’t have a direct English translation, but it encompasses an individual’s overall mood, feelings, and the balance thereof. It’s highly respected in Korean society, so be aware of how your actions may affect the “kibun” of those around you.

How Much Does an Intern Get Paid in Korea?

Intern salaries can vary widely, but you need to go into this experience with realistic expectations. 

For many interns, the primary compensation of an international internship is the experience and connections gained –  rather than the paycheck. The vast majority of interns in Korea are not paid at all, or just paid a modest stipend. 

Tips for Making the Most of Your South Korea Internship

An internship in South Korea can be what you make of it. Here are some tips to make sure you get the most out of this unique experience.

  • Be Proactive: Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you – seek them out. Take on extra tasks, ask for more responsibility, and participate in events and outings to maximize your experience.
  • Engage with Colleagues: Forge relationships with your colleagues, both professionally and personally. Your coworkers can be invaluable sources of knowledge, support, and friendship.
  • Immerse Yourself in the Culture: Take language lessons, participate in local activities, and be open to new experiences. The more you immerse yourself in Korean culture, the richer your experience will be.
  • Keep an Open Mind: Flexibility and adaptability are key when interning abroad. Things will not always go as planned, but being open to change can lead to some of the most memorable and rewarding experiences.
  • Capture the Experience: Document your experiences through photos, a journal, or a blog. Not only will this help you process your time in South Korea, but it will also serve as a powerful memento of your international adventure.

How to Work Abroad in South Korea

Whether you’re drawn to the country’s cutting-edge technology or its vibrant culture and history, interning in South Korea has something for everyone. So why not take the leap and explore all that this dynamic country has to offer? With the right preparation and mindset, your internship in South Korea could be the start of an exciting and successful international career. 

Absolute Internship is ready to help you get where you need to be. Our internships offer all the support and guidance you need for a successful – and enjoyable – experience with interning in South Korea. 


No Comments

Post A Comment

Get 800€ off by enrolling before August 15