Participating in Citizen Diplomacy
We are avid supporters of citizen diplomacy from every angle – including stepping into the shoes of our partners, and hosting our own fellows and interns!
This Spring, SDDC has been lucky enough to welcome intern Sandy Hong to the team, as a Program and Communications intern. Hailing from South Korea, Sandy is in San Diego through the Korea West program. A collaboration between the Ministry of Education in Seoul and the US Department of State, Korea West “provides top South Korean university students and young professionals the opportunity to intern, complete an intensive English study program, and explore the life and culture of the United States through immersion and independent travel”.
Thank you to our longtime partners at the German American Chamber of Commerce for providing us with the opportunity to participate in this fantastic program.
Read on to hear some thoughts from Sandy on her experiences in citizen diplomacy, and as an intern at the San Diego Diplomacy Council.
Hello! My name is Sandy Hong.
Hello, my name is Sandy Hong and I’m from South Korea. I’m currently working as a Program and Communications intern at the San Diego Diplomacy Council since March.
I have had several experiences of living and studying abroad. When I was younger, I lived in South Africa for about two years and spent my elementary school years there, which was full of stories. Although it was tough at first, meeting various friends from different backgrounds was a special experience for me that changed my perspective on life and inspired me to study abroad again.
In 2022, I participated in a University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) exchange student program and studied at UC Berkeley for a semester. This experience taught me how to socialize with people as a foreigner and it was also a great chance for me to learn more about myself. Specifically, I realized that I enjoy adventures and challenges, helping others, and discussing social issues with various people. Now, I’m delighted to be working as an intern abroad at SDDC and living in the beautiful city of San Diego.
The biggest worries about working abroad are often related to dealing with a different language and culture. The pressure of using a language that is not your first language and adapting to a new culture can be stressful. However, if you try to forget about your weaknesses and become more confident, you can learn how to overcome these difficulties in many chances. A new environment can offer many lessons and opportunities for personal growth, but it may also bring some challenges. Despite these challenges, I would never regret applying for a working abroad program because of the valuable experiences and personal growth it can offer.
Questions for Sandy? She can be contacted here.
Cath DeStefano says
Congratlations Sandy on your courage to explore new opportunities! And, lucky you to connect with San Diego Diplomacy and the amazing work they do. All the best to you.