Sangeun Yeo interned at the National Endowment for Democracy during her Summer and Fall Semesters. She graduated with a MAIR degree in December of last year. Next, she is heading to Timor Leste as part of the United Nations Volunteer programme with UNDP.
Summer in Washington, DC was a critical period in my life. I had an invaluable opportunity to work as an intern at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and acquired practical knowledge related to civil society, democracy, and governance, which are my academic interests. I deepened my practical knowledge about civil society through assisting with project implementation in my division. The “Right to access the resource”, which is one project to promote civil society organizations by offering grants, required me to investigate bilateral/multilateral aid, national budget distributions, and military aid as well as researching civil society organizations in our target countries—India, Bolivia, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Egypt, Jordan, and Ethiopia.
Furthermore, working at NED offered many fruitful things to me, and I was satisfied with this intern experience. First, I had an opportunity to experience the different business culture between South Korea and the United Sates. I have worked at internships in Korea, and I disagree with the strict hierarchy which deters active interaction between staff. Compared to the Korean hierarchical culture, I felt more freely interactive relationships with managers and directors, and it was easy to mingle with teammates in my department.
Interning in DC provides an excellent environment that builds networks with experts, which leads to advice about careers. Working at NED was an exact fit with my academic interests, and I accumulated an expertise related to civil society and assisted in promoting civil society organizations through grant delivery. Moreover, I was usually working on parts of projects focusing on Asia, allowing me to broaden my geopolitical interests and understanding. Also, I met and talked with professional experts related to Asia while I worked at NED. I acquired valuable advice about my career and built networks with them. Lastly, it is not difficult to meet people in other organizations and talk with them to ask for their advice and about their experiences to reflect on my career path. I have also been excited to develop and refine myself by continuing in the Maxwell in DC program during the Fall Semester.