The 66th UN/DPI (Department of Public Information) NGO Conference was held in Gyeongju from May 31 to June 1, 2016. It is the first time the conference has been hosted in Asia or Africa. A lot of Korean students are interested in international social problems. Therefore, the number of students who want to work for an NGO is rising.
I interviewed Hong Jeong-min, who graduated from the Department of English Language and Literature and the Department of Social Welfare. She is now working for World Vision Korea. World Vision is an NGO for international relief and development assistance, and they also conduct many social development programs in Korea.
1. Please introduce yourself and your job.
I entered KMU in 2008, and I was the chief editor of the 26th Keimyung Gazette. Now I work at World Vision Korea Beommul Community Center as a social worker. My department is in charge of welfare programs for the local residents. I am in charge of the Love Lunch Box Project, providing meals for vulnerable social groups like children, disabled people, and old people.
2. How did you spend campus life at Keimyung University?
I studied my major, worked at the Gazette, and did volunteering. My major studies were English, social welfare, and Korean as a foreign language. I had a double major in English and social welfare. I spent three years working at the Gazette. That was a great chance to improve my English skills. On weekends, I spent time volunteering teaching Korean to children in multicultural families. I also participated in many KMU programs. I did volunteer work in Kazakhstan and participated in Global Career School in China.
3. What was your most meaningful experience in KMU?
The Gazette was my most meaningful experience. I wrote English articles, and I met many professors and educational personnel in KMU. I got a lot of useful information from them. My vision improved through the experience. During that time, I worked as the chief editor. I learned the role of a leader through that experience, and it is really helpful to doing my present job.
4. Why are you interested in NGOs?
When I was an elementary school student, I participated in a coin collection campaign. I was really surprised that the same age group at the opposite side of the earth was dying from poverty. After that, I had a dream to help poor children. At the same time, I was interested in foreign languages, and I decided to work for an international NGO. This is why I had a double major in English and social welfare.
5. What did you do to get a job at an NGO?
I improved my English skill and got a social welfare worker certificate through my double major. This experience helped me to participate in an overseas volunteer program. I worked for a year in Ethiopia as a volunteer through KOICA (Korea International Cooperation Agency) after my graduation. Then I worked at the headquarters of World Vision Korea as an intern. Every day, I checked the employment notice of World Vision Korea and prepared qualifications to apply.
6. Can you give advice to students who want to get a job at an NGO?
All NGOs do not work in the same sector. Some NGOs conduct projects domestically and overseas like World Vision, but others only conduct specialized projects. NGOs have many departments, for example, accounts, management, media, and design. If you check the employment announcements of an NGO frequently, that will help your understanding of the NGO’s work and qualifications. Speaking a foreign language fluently and having qualifications related to computers will help for most NGOs. Finally, I recommend doing volunteer work and participating in programs through an NGO.