ISA Summer Internships in South Korea
- Gain in-demand global skills and hands-on experience in your field during this 8-week summer program
- Build your resume and expand your professional network
- Internships are conducted in English so there is no language requirement
- Earn KU 3-6 credits for your internship
- Explore Seoul & South Korea during weekends
- Learn about the ISA placement process at and view available career fields in Seoul
- Summer 2023 program dates are June 14 - August 12
- A significant number of $2,500-$5,000 scholarships are available to participants in this program. See Freeman East Asia Internship Scholarship on KU Study Abroad Scholarships to learn more!
Participation in an international internship allows students to experience the benefits of studying abroad while also gaining real-world professional work experience. Only a small percentage of students study abroad – and even fewer intern abroad - so participation in an internship overseas can give you the professional advantage you need to succeed by giving you in demand global skills. The University of Kansas (KU) has partnered with ISA, an internship and study abroad program provider, to offer high-quality placements in Seoul, South Korea. The internships, for which you earn academic credit from KU, are unpaid. They are available in a wide-range of fields including the arts, business, communications, education, events, fashion, hospitality, information technology and computer science, media, and PR. Other fields are available on a more limited basis so if your field is not listed, please inquire with ISA.
ISA strives to place students in internships that directly relate to their course of study, thus ensuring the quality and academic relevance. Placements are based on student skills, interests, and professional goals as well as the project needs and work cycles of internship sponsors. The companies and organizations selected as internship sites are carefully monitored by site visits and student assessment.
South Korea (or the Republic of Korea) is one of the most highly developed and stable democracies in East Asia. The history of civilization on the Korean peninsula dates back almost 4,000 years, and the country itself has existed since 1948.
As one of the safest countries in the world, diversity has greatly expanded in recent years. South Korea not only provides travelers and students all over the world with the ability to learn and improve their Korean language skills, but also has proved to be a vehicle for introducing a great combination of dazzling cosmopolitanism and hidden corners of tradition.
Americans are treated with extreme hospitality in South Korea, and with so many English-speaking Koreans, the language barrier is quickly eroding. Getting around South Korea is easy, which is fortunate since there are so many wonderful places to see!
Seoul is both the largest city and capital of South Korea. It enjoys a central location within East Asia with China on its west and Japan to its east. Seoul is truly a representative global city in the ways that it integrates traditional culture in contemporary life, making it an ideal place for students who are interested in interning abroad in South Korea to learn a little Korean language and traditional culture. Seoul is one of the world's top ten financial centers, and is home to some of the largest technology corporations such as Samsung and LG. The city hosted the 1988 Olympics, the 2002 World Cup, and was designated the 2010 World Design Capital.
Why Intern in Seoul?
Seoul has a fast-paced work culture that will provide insight into the complex system of Korean business culture. South Korea's economic transformation over the past few decades has been termed the "Miracle on the Han River" and remains one of the world's fastest growing economies. Additionally, Seoul is considered to have the best technological infrastructure in the world with near city-wide wireless internet and DMB (mobile TV technology). Internship placements in Seoul are limited to the following fields: Communications, Computer Science, Graphic Design, Marketing, Media, Hospitality and Tourism, Information Technology, and Public Relations.
In addition to interning, students will take ISA’s Global Internship Course (.pdf), which is taught in an online learning environment alongside the 8-week, full-time internship. Participation in the integrated academic seminar is mandatory for all participants. It is designed to prepare students for leadership in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse workforce. Credit has been pre-approved to transfer to KU in the following ways and will post to each student’s KU transcript after the conclusion of the program.
Please Note: Some academic departments offer departmental internship credit not listed below so students are encouraged to check with their department about credit options. Past students have received internship credit through ACCT, ADS, EVRN, FMS, HNRS, HSES, SPLH, etc.
- LA&S 490 – Internship Exploration (5 credits) Open to students of any major and level.Fulfills KU Core Goal 6.1 Integration and Creativity.
- GIST 495 (3 credits) + GIST 495 (3 credits) – Global Internship (6 credits total) Open to students of any major and level.
- BIOL 490 - Internship & Practical Application (6 credits) Open to students of any major and level completing an internship related to Biology. Fulfills KU Core Goal 6.1 Integration and Creativity.
- BUS 310 (1 credit) + BUS 400 (5 credits) – Business Internship (6 credits total) Open to business majors who have completed BUS 210 or equivalent.
- JMC 507 - Practicum in Journalism (3 credits) Open to journalism majors who have completed either JMC 415 or JMC 560 (or JMC 435) with a grade of 2.0+, and at least eleven hours of journalism with a GPA of 2.5+, both overall and in journalism.
- PSYC 483 (3 credits) + PSYC 402 (3 credits) – Undergraduate Internship Psychology (6 credits total) Open to psychology majors and minors.
ISA Housing provides the opportunity for interns to experience aspects of the local lifestyle that are inaccessible to the average visitor. The experience of living in another culture will be both educational and rewarding so long as you stay open-minded. There are many differences in culture and lifestyle between life in Korea and the U.S. Remember: the key to a positive experience is flexibility!
Participants are placed in furnished, centrally-located apartments with shared bedrooms and bathrooms or Korean-style studio apartments called "gosthitels" with shared kitchens and ensuite bathrooms. Shared partments in Seoul could be co-ed, but participants will never share a bedroom or bathroom with a student of the opposite sex.
Your program will start with a multi-day orientation in Seoul where you will enjoy a city tour and other excursions as well as receive pertinent information about how to be most successful in your internship abroad. Throughout your program, you will have the chance to go on weekend trips, day trips, and optional trips. ISA excursions allow you to explore the timeless, quaint, and historical landscape of the country (and potentially surrounding countries) that you may not have the chance to visit on your own. The locations below are a sample of included and optional excursions that have run in the past. Please know that these are subject to change.
Busan is the second largest city in South Korea and it is the fifth largest shipping port-city in the world. Busan is located on the southern tip of the Korean peninsula and is well known for its natural beauty - beaches and mountains. Sometimes Busan is even called "the summer capital of South Korea." Beyond going to the beach, Busan offers a wealth of historical and cultural landmarks, such as Oryukdo Skywalk, the largest seafood market in Korea, Jagalchi Sijang and the impressive ocean-side Buddhist temple, Haedongyonggungsa.
Cultural Activities in Seoul
The ISA on-site team encourages you to explore the city and culture of Seoul. The team facilitates this by offering a robust calendar of events that showcases what makes Seoul special. These activities vary each term, and previous offerings have included tours of Gyeongbok Palace, The War Memorial Museum, shopping in the historical markets of Gwangjang, Dongmyo, Insadong & Hanbok and Korean movie nights.
SAGE is dedicated to creating international engagement opportunities that meet the needs of all our students and providing resources to support you through the process of studying abroad. Study abroad is achievable for students of all identities including our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, and students with religious/non-religious viewpoints. Before selecting a program, consider how your identities may impact your experience abroad in unique ways and talk with your Program Coordinator about any program-specific concerns. Students with documented disabilities should discuss any accommodation needs with their Program Coordinator early in the planning process.
Considerations for South Korea
The response to homosexuality is mixed in Korea. While consensual same-sex sexual activity is not criminalized and there are no specific laws that discriminate based on sexuality, same-sex marriages are not legally recognized. Korea is a conservative country in regards to LGBTI issues. However, there are an increasing number of LGBTQIA+ -oriented clubs, festivals and NGOs advocating for LGBTQIA+ issues. There is an LGBTQIA+ subculture in the more urban cities but it is not openly displayed in public, although platonic displays of affection between same-sex friends is very common. As is often in the case in a society that is both homogenous and traditionally conservative, it is the experience of many students that being open about your sexuality in any context is seen as unusual and curious, sometimes shocking.
Generally speaking, most facilities in Korea have been made to be accessible for wheelchairs. Students with physical disabilities may find it difficult to navigate public transportation in Korea. Access to transportation in most areas is somewhat limited, although there are various government initiatives designed to make public transport more accessible. Students with vision impairment may have difficulty, as most Braille or audio transportation information is exclusively in Korean.
Korea does not have a homogenous religious culture and throughout its history, a wide variety of religious movements such as Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism and Christianity have shaped the culture dramatically.
Source: U.S. Department of State country information pages and Diversity Abroad.
Check our Identity Abroad page and resources listed below for information specific to you and other students who may be on your program.
ISA Internships are available to current students who are 18 years of age or older, have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5, and are proficient in English. Internships can also be arranged in Korean for students who are proficient.
Step 1: Complete the KU Application
Complete the KU application by February 1st. Below is a list of the required documents and questionnaires:
- Statement of Purpose Essay
- GPA Requirement Questionnaire
- Un-official Transcript or Advising Report
- One recommendation - academic or professional
- Authorization to Release Student Information
- ISA Academic Plan & Approval Form
- Student Conduct Verification
- Financial Aid Questionnaire
- Passport Information Required Reading
- ISA Application Instructions Required Reading
Step 2: Complete ISA's Seoul Internship Application
Complete ISA's Seoul internship application by February 1st. See the ISA Application Instructions in the Required Readings section of your Jayhawks Abroad account for details.