Daegu college intern program encourages excellence
DAEGU GARRISON -- "There is no substitute really for learning about the world of work and being in the world of work. You can do that through internships. You can do it through summer job experiences or even from volunteer jobs in your local community. Strive early to get some kind of practical work experience." For the more than 60 Korean students who make up the current cycle of Korean university interns assigned throughout U.S. Army Garrison Daegu and Area IV, this quote from former United States Secretary of Labor, Alexis Herman, resonates loud and clear.
Having celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2013, and with its 11th year fast approaching, all signs suggest that the USAG Daegu Intern Program is a formidable force on the road to excellence. Just ask intern supervisors like Quinten Russo and Mandy Fuller at Daegu American School; Alan Thomas, USAG Daegu Child, Youth, & School Services; or Marc LaMontagne, Defense Logistics Agensy-Energy, who like many other supervisors, have experienced firsthand just what it is these young students bring to the table.
"Daegu American School has been proud to host interns since the inception of the program," russo said. "Because of our size and needs we usually host about 10 to 12 interns per semester. These university students not only assist teachers daily in the classroom, but bring a lot to the table - assisting the school in extra programs such as Origami classes, and sponsoring some after school activities. We have seen the intern program morph into a more uniformed program in the last year. I think the key to the success of the program is that of showing these interns that they are both needed, and valued as an equal colleague. Equally, we do a lot of site training, communication, and monitoring of our program at the school level. We are excited to see this unique program continue."
"The Intern program is a win-win situation for both the Daegu City university students and the USAG Daegu installations," said Gladys Colon-Algarin, USAG Daegu volunteer corps program manager/intern program manager, said. "The program encourages an understanding of American culture with the future generation of Korean leaders. Many Korean university students that are interested in the American culture have the opportunity to travel, study and work in the US. However, not all Korean university students have the financial means to do that. For those that cannot afford the cost of traveling overseas, the USAG Daegu Internship program allows them the opportunity to work in an American environment and learn skills related to their future careers."
USAG Daegu Commmander Col. Jim Bradford joined Korean university leaders and the Garrison Army Community Services (ACS) representatives in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing ceremony last November that reaffirmed the importance the program has in strengthening and maintaining a strong relationship between the U.S. and South Korea.
Students currently enrolled in the USAG Daegu Intern Program represent Kyungpook National University (KNU), Keimyung University, Daegu University, Daegu Haany University, and Yangnam University. These students make up the Fall session of the program which began Sept. 4, 2013, and will run through Feb. 21. Their majors range from anthropology to textile design, and their desire to increase their professional knowledge and experience is no less diverse.
"As the intern coordinator my main task is to support interns in things like coordinating access to computers, acquiring installation access passes, mediating conflicts between supervisors and interns, and compiling critical information regularly so as to ensure that interns are not deviating from the established intern guidelines," said ACS Intern Coordinator and KNU student Sin, So yeong. "I know how important it is to support the USAG Daegu internship program. Through my work and in dealing with lots of tasks that require attention to detail and sharpened skills, I've gained experience in a professional business atmosphere, and 'real world' situations. Thus, I can enhance my academic and career goals."
Working diligently to ensure participants in the intern program seize every opportunity to broaden their experiences and pursue excellence, is Assistant Vice President for International Affairs at KNU, Lorne Hwang. Hwang has been a strong advocate and supporter of the USAG Daegu intern program since its inception.
For the current iteration of interns, their six months with the USAG Daegu Intern Program will soon be coming to an end. The closing ceremony will be Feb. 27 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Daegu Haany University.