University of Utah Asia Campus (UAC) opened the Career and Internship Development Center during the past semester.
UAC hired Jinnie Park as an assistant director for the Career and Internship Development Center in late March. The Dean of Students office organized the interviews for this position so that students were able to attend both interviews with the two candidates who applied for the position. Park received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Incheon, Korea and has more than 15 years of experience in the education field.
The UAC Career and Internship Development Center signed a Memorandum of Understanding with both Blackstone Records and Westco, companies for students who are interested in media and PR marketing. With the signing of the MOU, UAC students are given regular internship opportunities, which allow them to work for at least three months and up to a year. Several students were given the opportunity from other companies to pursue career-linked internships.
“I am so excited to be an assistant director of the Career and Internship Development Center, and I really hope our students get job opportunities,” Park said. Park evaluated UAC as a “high-potential school,” or one that is a unique strong point in South Korea. “We have a lot of strong points with international perspectives. One of our students was able to get an internship opportunity from the UN in Seoul,” she said.
Park also introduced her goals to achieve with the UAC community.
“Once our students graduate here, we can improve our employment rate. I am also planning to set up the website and Handshake system for our students to search for job opportunities easily. Finally, I hope to host a job fair with other universities in the Incheon Global Campus and present workshops and seminars to let our students know how to write a good resume and get job opportunities,” Park said.
UAC students have questioned why UAC opened the Career and Internship Development Center last semester, as the first open forum to interview candidates was in November 2018. The Dean of Students’ office sent an email on November 22, 2018 to the UAC community to attend the open forum to check two candidates who applied for this position, and Park was not one of them. “The previous assistant director resigned because her husband got a job in Malaysia, so we needed to proceed with the recruitment process again this semester,” said Dean of Students Randy McCrillis.
“I expect that our center can become a hub to connect between our students and alumni,” McCrillis said. “I hope students utilize its system and learn how to write a better resume to get a job.”
McCrillis stated that the reason why UAC named its center differently, with the center of the main campus, is because of Korean culture. “The word internship has much more identity in Korea than the U.S. and it more means something here than the U.S.,” McCrilis said.
The University of Utah Salt Lake City Campus (SLC) has the Career and Professional Development Center to help students get job opportunities. SLC students also usually have an account for Handshake, which is a website for college students’ networking with job markets. Unlike SLC students’ networking system, UAC students usually create an account for LinkedIn, which is a website to operate a business and provide an employment-oriented service.
While the global economic slump makes it hard for college students in general to get jobs, South Korea is particularly harsh. The youth unemployment rate stands at 11.7% with 507,000 people unable to get a job. Many college students are turning to options that seem to promise a stable life.
According to an article by Yonhap News, 440,000 students in South Korea are now studying to be civil servants. 44.5% of students’ major reason for wanting to be civil servants was “job stability” and 48% said they study more than 10 hours a day to prepare for the civil service exam. The number of students who are preparing to be civil servants account for 6.8% of South Korea’s youth population (ages 20 to 29), according to the data released by the National Statistical Office.
Most students from Korean Universities are also studying hard for the Global Samsung Aptitude Test (GSAT) or to obtain a license to get a job. Todd Kent, Chief Administrator and Dean of Faculty, said that UAC is working hard to analyze the job market in Korea and make students prepare to get various job opportunities. Unlike college students who are attending Korean universities, most UAC students have not prepared for an exam because of the absence of the Career and Internship Development Center. Kent, however, expects that the job market will be more fit for UAC students in the near future. “Korea’s job market will change. Their recruitment process will change to be more flexible, and our students who are skilled and bilingual will have various job opportunities,” Kent said.
Inside the UAC building, a sign reads “Step 1, Imagine and Step 2, Do.” UAC students have imagined what they want to do after graduation. The Career and Internship Development Center hopes to help students to follow through on their goals and improve the public perception of UAC.