Before my internship with Arirang Television began, I tried to keep myself from forming expectations about Korea. This effort may have been pointless, however, for the Korea I experienced this past summer was something that surpassed any expectations I could have formed. I climbed mountains, I helped backstage at concerts, I ate still-wriggling octopus, and I formally greeted celebrities in Korean.
My internship at Arirang Television was with a production team working on a show about traditional Korean music. While the television station broadcasts in English, most of the production team was more comfortable talking to me in Korean, despite my limited knowledge of Korean. Soon I found myself picking up both production terms and common small-talk vocabulary. The experience was immersive not only language-wise but friendship-wise. The work was highly collaborative; there were two other interns on my show’s team and we were assigned work collectively. These interns were Korean, but had attended school in the United States. Spending over 40 hours a week speaking about our show and our lives in a strange yet comfortable mix of Korean and English tied us together in a way little else could.
We had shared interests that had brought us all to the same internship and we were able to help each other experience Seoul in new ways. These friendships are invaluable to me. My internship experience has convinced me that I would like to return to work in Korea and my friendships formed this summer created a family of sorts to whom I can return.