Frequently Asked Questions - Internship Opportunities

I am interested in a KEI internship, how do I begin the application process?

Further information on the internship can be found here. A completed application packet includes: acover letter, resume and a short 2-3 page academic writing sample (can be cut from a college paper, does not have to be written specifically for the internship). These pieces must be received by the KEI internship coordinator by the deadlines posted. NO EXCEPTIONS WILL BE MADE.


Can I submit my application by e-mail?

Yes! Applicants are encouraged to submit application components by e-mail.

Once I have submitted my completed application, what next?

The internship coordinator will review applications only after the submission deadline has passed—it is not a rolling admission process. If your application is selected for an interview, you will be notified. If you are not notified, your application may still be under consideration, but KEI asks that you limit follow-up queries.

If I am selected for a phone interview, what should I prepare?

The telephone interview is an opportunity for you to further explain or elaborate on any part of your application. It is also your chance to ask questions about KEI, the responsibilities of the interns, or anything else you might have on your mind concerning the internship. Please note, you are being judged on your ability to communicate clearly and effectively. While there is no need to memorize the contents of KEI’s website, or all Korea-related articles in The Economist, we recommend that you conduct the interview in an appropriate and quiet environment, be prepared to talk about your answers to application questions, and if you have to change your appointment for some reason, please notify KEI BEFORE your designated appointment time. Late/missed appointments do not go overlooked in the decision-making process.

What happens after the KEI internship coordinator selects interns?

Once interns have been selected, EVERY APPLICANT will be notified. There will be three or four interns and two alternates who will be notified of their status. Alternates will be given the opportunity to remain as alternates or to remove themselves from consideration. Those interns who are selected as an intern or an alternate must reply to their notification giving their decision to accept or reject their status within one week of the decision notification. Those applicants who are not selected are encouraged to try again. If you wish KEI to hold your application for another semester, please write and let us know.

What is a typical day for KEI interns?

KEI interns are asked to work full-time, or give at least 35 hours/week. This means that interns begin their day at 9:00AM. Morning projects might be administrative, but short in execution—helping the office open for business, or preparing for staff meetings—or might involve event planning and preparation. If KEI is hosting a program in the office, interns are instrumental in the preparation for these programs. This involves: setting up the conference room, prepping the refreshments, greeting the guests, and taking detailed notes on the substance of the program. These notes will later be used to draft a KEI Report. These reports are usually 1- 2 pages in length, and are an analytical summary of the program using professional academic language. It is imperative that KEI interns possess excellent verbal/written English communication skills. If the program is outside of the office, interns are responsible for registering, attending, taking notes, and drafting a report. Interns are a public face of KEI and are expected to conduct themselves accordingly. Afternoons are often spent doing research projects, writing reports, and attending to office issues. A typical intern day concludes at 5:00PM.
A more quantitative description of the internship duties would look like this:

Administrative responsibilities: 10%
In-house program responsibilities:  10%
Out of office program attendance: 20%
Report Writing: 30%
Research and other staff assigned projects: 30%


What is the dress-code at KEI?

KEI requires business-attire every day, with more formal business attire on days when there are in-house programs. NO JEANS, NO TENNIS SHOES.

Are there exceptions to the start/end dates listed?

KEI is very flexible when it comes to hiring interns because we understand the responsibilities that many of our interns have outside of the office. Please be honest on your application form about when you are available to work and we can try to accommodate you. It never hurts to ask!

Do KEI interns have to speak Korean?

No, in fact, some of KEI’s staff members do not have a strong command of Korean. Exposure to Korean language comes in handy at KEI and will certainly not be held against an applicant, but it is not an internship requirement.

Is the KEI internship paid? Do you offer housing?

Similar to most organizations in Washington, KEI only offers an unpaid internship. Academic credit is generally available if the intern coordinator can work with the university requirements. Similarly, KEI does not offer intern housing, but can assist with settlement if needed by recommending some organizations and universities that offer affordable housing for interns.

How much interaction is there with KEI interns and the full-time staff?

KEI is a small organization, which allows interns full-access to the staff. The office functions very constructively and with the interns completely integrated into the system. This offers maximum exposure to all aspects of KEI governance and function and close, personal relationships with the other interns and the staff.

Are there any opportunities for intern-produced publication?

KEI publishes a monthly newsletter that uses intern economic analysis and data collection and offers the intern who submits it a by-line. Otherwise, intern reports have the author’s name on them and are read widely in the U.S. and Korean government and policy communities. While not formally published, intern writing is exposed in this way. Very occasionally, there are other opportunities for interns to work with a staff member on a research paper that will be published either in-house or by another organization.

Based on what criteria do KEI intern coordinators select interns?

There are a number of factors that play into selection of interns, but the ideal intern is someone who can demonstrate the following:

Report Writing:

  • Writing is timely, concise, and grammatically effective
  • Applicant can take and utilize constructive criticism


  • Shows composure, cultural adaptability

Office Administration:

  • Applicant shows initiative and recognizes and assumes responsibility for work that needs to be done
  • Interacts well with coworkers—recognizes his/her place in the team, exercises self-motivation and assertiveness when appropriate
  • Applicant can assume personal responsibility for the mission actualization of projects of which he/she is a part


  • Demonstrates a depth of exposure to research methods and information collection

 We deduce whether or not an applicant fits these standards using all portions of the application: application form, application essay, resume, cover letter, writing sample, and phone interview.