NKSC wants to deeply thank our interns who worked with us from September – December 2014. They were very fun and hardworking and will miss them a lot! Before they left we asked our interns to write a brief paragraph about their experiences interning with us at NKSC. Here’s what they had to say:
My internship at NKSC was nothing short of amazing. From day one, I was invited to participate in meetings with high-level members of the organization. What initially started as an internship based around promoting a fundraiser, quickly ballooned into finding ways to increase the organization’s international visibility. This was a great opportunity to learn about the inner workings of North Korea, as well as discuss the social issues not commonly featured in the media. Being able to interact with North Korean defectors helped me gain a greater understanding of the difficult lives many people face while living under the control of the Kim regime. This internship was a truly fulfilling experience and I would recommend it to anyone interested in humanitarian issues. – Brian
I first became interested in North Korea from an international relations/security perspective and when there was an opportunity to take a class on South and North Korean Politics with Professor Andrei Lankov a couple years back, I jumped at the chance to learn more. In the years following, I had other chcance encounters with those that worked on issues related to North Korea, such as Adrian Hong and a few board members of PUST. As I continued to learn more about North Korea, however, it was impossible to not develop a heart for the human rights issues as well. So when a friend introduced me to NKSC for a possible internship during my time in Korea, I took a shot at it.
Before starting, I wasn’t sure what to expect since I had never worked at an NGO before. In the beginning, there was a lot of translation work – proposals, reports, etc. – which was to expected because there aren’t many Korean-English speaking staff members at NKSC. In the end though, translating so many pages of content was a great opportunity for me to improve my formal Korean and to learn new things about North Korea that I didn’t know before.
Soon enough, there were other more interesting projects that I was able to get involved in! For example, I helped out a fellow intern with the second of the Speaker Series which featured a number of defectors, all of whom brought to light a new aspect of life in North Korea. More recently, I was able to get involved in the planning stages of bringing together bold new programs for better engaging the international community on the North Korean issue, and I think NKSC will only continue to grow in its effectiveness and vision. At the moment, most of my time is being spent on a concept paper outlining new technologies that could be introduced into North Korea for better access to foreign media. And all of this only a portion of what NKSC has in mind for what it wants to accomplish in 2015!
As a mechanical engineering major who also has interests in international relations, green tech, sustainable urban development, and now human rights issues, I’m not sure exactly where my life will end up in the next few years. However, one thing that I do know going forward is that I’ll carry with me the life stories of the North Korean people that’s I’ve met and that I’ll continue to support the freedom of the North Korean people, whatever shape or form that may take. – Joseph
While I lived in the U.S., my exposure to North Korea was mostly political (nuclear disarmament talks and the like). Then last year, I watched a documentary on the conditions of North Korean prison camps, which made me start thinking about North Korea as a human rights issue. I first heard about NKSC through my supervisor at a former internship who knew that I would be in Korea for the year and recommended NKSC as a great NGO to work at. NKSC stuck out for me as I wanted to learn concrete solutions for the human rights problem in North Korea. While other North-Korea related NGOs focus on food aid and refugee work, I was interested in what would help the North Korean people in the long term, which NKSC strongly emphasizes in its vision. I wanted to help using previous skills I gained from working on advocacy campaigns before and hoped to raise awareness of NKSC and North Korea through social media.
At NKSC I mostly did translations for grant proposals and reports. I also helped NKSC run their first crowdfunding campaign. Going over reports on NKSC’s activities did offer me long-term solutions to North Korea’s human rights problem – disseminating media among the North Korean people to make them aware of democracy, training defectors to become future leaders, etc. The crowfunding campaign also taught me what worked and didn’t work when it came to raising support from the online community. In the U.S., meeting defectors are like meeting celebrities, since there aren’t many, and escaping North Korea is such a difficult thing to do. At NKSC, I met defectors who added a human side to my understanding of North Korea. They all have incredible stories, but I also realized they are ordinary people with their own families, favorite food, etc.
NKSC’s media dissemination activities made me aware of the black market in North Korea and the people’s desire to know about the outside world. That gives me hope that the North Korean people will realize the injustices of their government and work to change their country from within. I would recommend NKSC to anyone who has a passion for human rights and North Korea. Also, the people are absolutely great! –Miriam