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First Impressions of the U.S.

March 28, 2017
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Semin Seo from South Korea

By Semin Seo

Semin Seo is a fulltime USICD fellow from South Korea who is here in the U.S. via the German American Chamber of Commerce in California. She will assist USICD staff on a range of projects from March through September.

I arrived at the multicultural hub of U.S. politics, Washington, D.C., two weeks ago. I am completing the last semester of my Master’s degree program in International Development cooperation at the University of Public Policy in Yeungnam, South Korea. My concentrations are International Aid and Welfare System Policy, and Project Management.

“The Korea WEST exchange program is partnering with the German American Chamber of Commerce (GACC) California to bring me and other students to the United States for our fellowships here. The Korea WEST exchange program has been a joint initiative of the Republic of Korea and the U.S. Department of State since 2009. It provides top South Korean university students an opportunity to work, complete an intensive English study program, and explore the life and culture of the U.S. GACC California works to promote cross-cultural understanding and knowledge; one of its projects include helping students from other countries in finding internship opportunities in the United States.”

My fellowship at USICD, has given me the opportunity to enrich my academic studies and advance my career. Before coming to USICD, I wanted to work in the field of human rights. I thought about sustainable development programs in the areas of human trafficking, women rights, education for children, and advocacy work. Because I do not have enough knowledge of people with disability, I hope to learn how various organizations promote disability inclusion development in all their work in order to protect the rights of people with disabilities. My current project is to consolidate disability findings from the U.S. State Department Country Reports on Human Rights.

I hope I can broaden my perspective of the world’s human rights on disability, as well as child abuse, which is another topic I am really interested in learning more about.

In addition, I am interested in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Korea’s implementation of this important disability rights law. I’ve been thinking about how I could incorporate the current status of the US Official Development Assistance (ODA) in the disability field into Korea’s ODA for my Master’s degree thesis. For my thesis, I wish to discuss U.S. disability NGOs or USAID and how they can be replicated in Korean ODA policy.

This internship in USICD will give me lots of experiences with researching, updating projects, and monitoring online articles and world news. I expect that I will meet a diverse group of people who have a passion for helping others who are excluded by society. The best part of my internship will be that it will help me to figure out what I want to do in terms of my career and exploring the kinds of interests and passion I have.

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