How to make the most out of your internship opportunity in South Korea.
Alana’s experiences in Seoul, the close friends and memories that brought her here, and the fantastic opportunities she’s explored.
Feature Story Continued
Alana’s career goals, interest in the entertainment industry, and advice for foreigner’s travelling in Seoul.
Special thanks to the editors, writers, and DIOKOS team for making this interview possible. We grow together.
Hello!! I am currently a fourth-year, Marketing student at the University of Oregon with a minor in Media Studies and an interest in social media, the music industry, and fashion. I am looking to learn more about marketing strategies used to promote within the entertainment industry in hopes of being able to extend the same comfort I experience from music and artists to fans all around the world.
I am so grateful and excited by my opportunity to intern in Korea. This is an experience I will never forget and I have grown so much in my time here!
This was an amazing opportunity: I get to connect with wonderful people, work in an amazing environment, and experience a culture I have been dreaming of experiencing for the duration of my college career.
Interview with Alana Chen:
We had the opportunity to catch up with Alana a few days after her return to California. Missing Seoul but excited to be home, Alana reminisces on her summer in Seoul.
What brought you to Korea?
Before I decided I wanted to come for an internship, I was thinking of studying aboard here. I have been thinking about coming to Korea for a long time. A lot of my close friends were Korean, so I grew up with exposure to Korean culture when I was very young. In middle school, I remember one time during lunch, my friends were like, “Oh my gosh, after we graduate high school, I’ll take you to Korea and show you around and you can take us to Taiwan and show us around.” So I’ve always wanted to travel to Korea. I then found out that our school offered an interning abroad experience, and I thought it’d be cool to gain some professional development while in a foreign country. I thought that it’d also allow me to grow professionally and individually, so I decided to come to Korea.
What is your professional experience like in Korea?
I am a DIOKOS content marketing intern. I want to do social media marketing or entertainment in the future, so I feel like this work has kind of exposed me to the basics of what a job in this field would look like. I feel like it’s given me a lot of opportunities, and I enjoyed and appreciated how our boss Danny Han, has tailored our internship experience to what we want to do with our jobs in the future.
What interested you about a job in the entertainment industry?
I was exposed to pop culture pretty late in my life. I didn’t have a smartphone until my freshman year of high school, so I didn’t have access to the internet. I feel like a lot of people in the entertainment industry grew up listening to Queen or Journey, but I grew up listening to the radio. Once I found my niche or music that I liked, it became a really big comfort for me – it opened the door to new emotions I didn’t know how to express. A lot of people say music transcends language, and I think that is true. Especially after I started listening to K-pop, sometimes I will hear a song and have no idea what they’re saying but feel every word.
Did you have any expectations of Korea before you came that turned out to be true? False?
I feel like my expectations were pretty realistic. When I consume media, I try my best not to glorify it. I didn’t think that Korea was this perfect place with perfect people unlike what the media portrayed. I did a lot of research from people who had come to Korea or had made content about living in Korea, so I came into it knowing what to expect. It helped me to not experience as much culture shock as I could have. Of course, there were still some aspects of culture that took me a bit to get used to.
Do you have any advice for foreigners wanting to travel or work in Korea?
I would say being open-minded. Being open to trying new things and not judging things because you’re not used to them. I feel like trying new things and being open-minded, that is how you will get the most out of being here. Just deciding to study abroad is a way to grow individually, so just by going abroad, you’re already taking a big leap.
Do you have any plans to come back to Korea?
Yeah, I don’t have any set plans right now, but I would love to come back whether that be for work or just to travel. Considering we are here for an internship, we only have two days a week where we can travel and explore, so I would be interested in hitting places I haven’t hit. I haven’t gone to Namsan yet, and I think once I get home there will be food that I miss. So, if and when I come back, I will want to get some of these dishes that I can’t get at home for this good of a price. I have gone to Han River, I’ve gone to a lot of cafes, had a lot of coffee and lots of matcha. I’ve also had a lot of katsu here, which I didn’t expect. I usually just wake up and don’t have any plans and go somewhere based on how I’m feeling. That is what I would like to do if I come back to Korea again.
How have you adjusted to the speed of life here?
I really like it. One of my biggest pet peeves back at home is when I’m walking and the person right in front of me is walking super slowly. I will literally go around them and look at them, I will make it known that they are walking slow. It took me a bit to adjust, the bus – for example, will start driving before you are in your bus standing position. There have been many times when I am walking to a seat and they start driving and I am pushed forward a seat.
What took you the longest to adjust to in Korean culture?
One of the things is the weather. It’s not a cultural thing, but still. I knew it was going to be humid, so I knew what to expect, but it was still hard to prepare for it. I haven’t been in such humid weather for a long time. The public transportation was also a bit jarring. I knew it was going to be crowded, I knew I was going to be up in other people’s space, but it is very stressful. The other thing was the interviews. I am an I: very introverted. So when I talk to new people I expect them to hold the conversation. I understand that I can be very awkward sometimes, so having to do interviews, it’s been nice to learn how to do it and implement what I’ve learned
What’re your plans for your future?
I am going into my fourth year, so I am wrapping up school. I will be done by the end of the year. I don’t plan on going to work right after I finish, I wanted to take some time off and relax a little bit. The original plan was to travel, but I am not sure if that happens. Maybe I will go home, but overall I am open to many different things.