Reap the Rewards of Cultural Exchange: Host a Korea WEST Intern

Welcoming an international intern into your organization is rewarding in so many ways. And it’s easier than you think to start reaping the rewards of bringing the world into your workplace.

Cultural Vistas is currently seeking organizations interested in hosting young South Korean scholars who are participating in the Korea WEST (Work, English Study, and Travel) exchange program  for eight-month professional internships beginning this fall.

Interested in getting involved? Here’s what you need to know.

An Introduction to Korea WEST

The Korea WEST program is a bilateral South Korean and U.S. government initiative that celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2019.

The long-standing exchange program provides top South Korean university students and young professionals with the opportunity to gain work experience by interning at a U.S.-based company, hone their English through a dedicated period of intensive language study, and experience the United States through cultural immersion and independent travel.

Cultural Vistas has been a U.S. Department of State-designated sponsor of the Korea WEST program since its inception in 2009. In this time, we have provided over 1,250 students and young professionals the opportunity to enrich their academic studies and advance their careers in the United States through Korea WEST.

Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan shake hands after signing a memorandum of understanding establishing the Korea WEST program at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York on Monday, Sept. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Hosting a WEST Intern is Easier Than You Think

Korea WEST makes it easy for your company or organization to benefit from an invaluable exchange of culture, knowledge, and perspectives.

South Korea’s Ministry of Education selects potential participants from a pool of recent college graduates or other candidates who have completed at least two years of university studies. All candidates are pre-screened, interviewed, coached, and provided with required training and documentation by Cultural Vistas staff.

There are no program fees for Korea WEST host companies.

Participants in the program receive a stipend to support the costs of living and interning in the United States as part of the program, thus making any additional compensation at the discretion of the host organization.

Prior to embarking on internships all across the United States, Korea WEST participants complete language training in New York, San Diego, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

Committed to Providing Meaningful Exchange Experiences

WEST interns are well-supported, adjusted to life in the United States, and come to host organizations motivated and ready to learn from and contribute in a meaningful way. Once participants arrive in the United States, they are enrolled in up to four months of intensive English language instruction and cultural training before beginning internships.

Cultural Vistas staff welcome all WEST interns to the U.S. through regional orientations and ongoing in-city events and activities, and are available throughout the duration of the program to provide assistance to both participants and hosts.

As an Exchange Visitor Program sponsor, we are unwavering in our commitment to ensuring the health, well-being, and safety of all our Exchange Visitor Program participants.  We also provide all participants with comprehensive medical insurance coverage and 24-hour emergency support to ensure they always have a resource they can call upon.

Moreover, Cultural Vistas is the first and only J-1 sponsor to offer free access to on-demand online therapy to all its participants through a special partnership with Talkspace.

Korea WEST participants receive free online therapy from Talkspace.

How to Get Started with Korea WEST

Korea WEST host companies are located in every corner of the country and offer an array of internship experiences across most industries. The current and upcoming internship program periods are outlined below:

Duration Beginning in: Candidate Interviews 4 months March/April 2020 January 2020 8 months
(4-month extension possible) November 2019 In progress