Whether you aspire to become an expat in Korea for your post-university career, or you want to gain work experience abroad, an internship with Austrade in Seoul is the perfect experience for the inexperienced.
In November 2018, I completed a 2-month internship with the government department through the New Colombo Plan Mobility Program (check out Asia Option’s coverage here!). There are currently no other avenues to apply for an Austrade internship in Korea. If you are ineligible for the New Colombo Plan, you can peruse Asia Options’ other identified internships here:
- Internship Hunting in South Korea – Asia Options
- AMCHAM Korea
- UNOSD internship program for foreign students in Incheon, South Korea (asiaoptions.org)
- KOPRA – Internships & Jobs with East Asia Focus
If you’re an undergraduate that has an ardent interest in business, economics, politics, international relations, or anything in between, Austrade is the perfect ground zero to get your foot in the door and experience a wide variety of sectors.
What Will You Do?
Austrade Seoul dedicates itself to fortifying the Australia-Korea relationship through economic diplomacy. They help Australian businesses of all sectors adapt to the Korean market, and they promote Australia to the Korean populace.
As an intern, your days will never mirror one another. You may spend one day in the office co-ordinating event invite lists and updating their RMS, and the next you will represent Austrade at a conference for fintech AI blockchain or an Investor’s Choice Awards. One thing is certain, your mentors will throw every great opportunity your way, and immerse you in a variety of experiences to hone your transferable and industry skills.
Being unexperienced is not a problem for this internship. The Austrade staff are positive vessels of knowledge and wisdom, excited to teach you all they know. You will get to shadow Business Development Managers, including sitting in on meetings with clients and help with research and reports.
Of course, there is also beer and Korean BBQ after work hours. Don’t be surprised when your colleagues invite you out for drinks and dinner. This will extend to events vital in building your own network. The Austrade network branches out across Seoul and Australia, with rich connections with AustCham Korea, TIQ, ANZ Bank, and more. All of which have taken New Columbo Plan interns in the past and are also great potential mentors depending on your area of interest. You will meet dignitaries, teachers, diplomats, CEOs, doctors, and innovators. Have your business card ready!
New Colombo Plan
How do you apply? One avenue you can go down to embrace this opportunity is to consult with your university’s study abroad or international liaison officer. The New Colombo Plan Mobility Program is a government initiative that funds numerous Australian universities to support students with study and work experiences overseas.
If your university participates in this program, you can receive a grant of $5,000 to fund your experience. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Austrade Seoul were supportive and active participants in taking interns from the New Colombo Plan. Expressing an interest to your university liaison officer for Austrade as a potential employer will only make you look good!
According to the eligibility criteria, this program is for 18- to 28-year-olds, however special considerations can be made on a case-by-case basis. It is anticipated that applications for the 2023 New Colombo Plan Mobility Program will open in early to mid-2022.
For more information about the New Columbo Plan Mobility Program, visit here: New Colombo Plan | Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (dfat.gov.au).
You can also read about previous applicants’ experiences in our in-depth interview series: