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Internship Opportunity / FAQ

Are you ready to work hard and experience
one of the most rewarding internship
programs in Washington, DC?

KEI takes three classes of interns each year. Expectations for interns are high. In return, interns can expect a challenging environment which will give them a look in the inner-workings of the Washington, DC policy community.

While we do not pay our interns, we promise to provide them with maximum exposure to the major issues and players in US-ROK relations and professional growth in a number of valuable areas.

Why Intern at KEI?

  • KEI interns are provided maximum exposure to the issues and major players in the field of U.S.-Korea relations via: report publication, attendance at events, and both peer-to-peer and VIP networking opportunities.
  • KEI interns are directly active in the practice of US-ROK diplomacy.
  • KEI interns gain experience in the areas of event planning, data collection, economic analysis, office management, and professional writing development.
  • KEI interns are on the cusp of current events, hearing the news before it is released, and organizing the very interviews that are shown on the evening news.

Internship Description

Interns at KEI do not answer to a single department. Our internships provide a breadth of experience in Asia-related areas of research, professional development, and programming administration. Internships may include the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Attend conferences, programs, and hearings in the Washington area of interest to Korea;
  • Prepare short reports on events;
  • Assist with the event planning and conduct of various KEI-sponsored conferences and programs;
  • Provide research support to full-time staff;
  • Administrative activities which will contribute to a fuller understanding of the inner workings of KEI;
  • Work as a team with members of staff and other interns on major events and projects;
  • Track specific issues in the media.


  • Graduate student, or candidate with (at the minimum), a Bachelors Degree with a background in political science and/or economics as well as an interest in Asia-Pacific issues, especially Korea.
  • Excellent attention to detail, good organizational abilities and writing skills, professional demeanor, general office skills, strong computer skills.
  • Must be able to work full-time for a minimum of 3.5 months.

Applicants are not expected to have specialized expertise, but should be highly motivated and sincere in their desire for an internship that is challenging and professional in nature. Interns can expect close and constant interaction with program staff, up to and including the KEI management.

While KEI does not sponsor visas for its interns, KEI does provide documentation of the internship.

How to Apply
Internships will be recruited for three separate cycles. The approximate start and end dates for the respective cycles are given below:

Cycle Duration Application Deadline
Summer May/June – August/September May 4
Fall August/September – December/January August 6
Spring December/January – May/June December 7

To apply, please click here to use our internship application form.

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.

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.

The 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.

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.

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%

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

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!

Proficiency in Korean language comes in handy at KEI but it is not an internship requirement.

KEI provides monthly stipend to interns. Academic credit is generally available if the intern coordinator can work with the university requirements. 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.

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.

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.

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.