When a coworker told Daehyeon Kim about an international internship she would be doing during the summer, Kim was intrigued. The coworker pointed Kim, an economics major and a Japanese minor, in the direction of the Kennedy Center. After discussing his options with an internship facilitator, Kim met with Professor Ken Stiles, faculty mentor for European internships. With Professor Stiles’s help, he applied for an internship in Brussels for Bruegel, a European think tank specializing in economics, and was offered a spot. “It was a prestigious internship that undergraduate students do not usually receive,” Kim noted.
At Bruegel, Kim and ten other research assistants were assigned to help scholars on specialized economics projects involving micro and macroeconomics. One project analyzed the banking crisis that occurred throughout the United States, Japan, and the Eurozone. “We were trying to find the best solution for the countries that might be facing a banking crisis now or in the future,” he explained. Kim applied what he learned from his analysis to the 2013 crisis in Cyprus, which had implemented “capital control” as a means to solve the crisis. Kim was critical of this device, and Bruegel published the paper he wrote about the issue on its web site.
Kim advises future international interns to be more active in researching their internship options. “Students should know exactly what they will be working on, what experience they will gain, and whether or not they will be paid for their work,” he said. “An international internship requires a lot of money and time, and students should not choose an internship just because it will look good on a résumé.” Kim was fortunate to receive a full-tuition scholarship and an internship grant to help offset about half of his internship costs.
Using leisure time to their advantage, Kim and his fellow interns traveled to France, the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, and many cities throughout Belgium. “I learned how international the world really is,” he said. “Try to have an international mindset and to understand other cultures. It broadens your horizons and makes you more marketable.”