I have always been interested in government and politics so I was elated when I passed the screening process to be an intern at The National Assembly of the Republic of Korea for two months during the summer of 2020. Learning about how the government operates through a textbook is fine, but actually engaging the political machine from the inside gave me a new perspective on the legislative process and how complicated it is to run a nation.
The first day was intimidating. I had never worked in an environment where people around you are famous political leaders and armed security personnel guard the offices. However, I soon grew accustomed to the heavy atmosphere and was able to actually be of some assistance to the assemblyman I was assigned to and his staff. I first started off with simple tasks like organizing files and hand-delivering documents. But as I gained more experience and trust from the assemblyman and the staffers, I found myself doing far more important things. I was soon following the assemblyman around the Assembly taking photos, editing his blog, redesigning his website, and uploading content to the campaign YouTube channel.
|[Intern business and entrance card of the author. Photo Credit: Francisco Choi]|
The experiences of the interns were not the same. Some interns were assigned to chambers with very strict policies on interns attending the Assembly events. I was very fortunate that the chamber I worked for allowed me to attend various hearings and briefings. Nevertheless, I kept reminding myself that administrative tasks were the most fundamental part of my job and it was my duty to do all I could to lighten the workload of the staff and help run the office smoothly. As it turned out, this attitude endeared me to the assemblyman and the staff and they began inviting me over other interns to accompany them to committee meetings. This gave me a front row seat to witness how the legislative process works. I was even allowed to write memos on my assemblyman’s upcoming meetings to keep track of the issues he was involved in.One of the most memorable moments when I was able to contribute to the team was when I sat in as one of the translators when there was a meeting with the officials of The American Chamber of Commerce who were visiting the National Assembly. As it turned out, the office had underestimated the number of translators needed compared to the large number of officials visiting that day.
Needless to say, I was able to conduct my duty and the meetings went smoothly.
As I am interested in business and I am leaning towards this major in college later, I was lucky enough to attend events that align with my personal interests. My favorites were the Trade, Industry, Energy, SMEs (small to medium enterprises), and Startups that regularly held meetings with executives from conglomerates such as LG, Hanwha, and SK. As I am also interested in renewable energy and the environment, I was also able to attend the meetings of the Environment and Labor Committee. There I learned that unfortunately, South Korea is the 11th largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. Thus, I was extremely proud when on September 24, 2020 the National Assembly passed the “Resolution Calling for an Emergency Response to Climate Change.” The resolution stated the national goal to reduce greenhouse gases by 2030 to a level agreed upon in the Paris Agreement and to enact low-carbon development strategies to achieve ‘net-zero’ greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
|[The National Assembly of the Republic of Korea. Photo Credit: Francisco Choi]|
While some people are cynical about politics and tired of the constant bickering between the majority and minority parties, the experience of being inside the halls of power changed my outlook. From what I saw, rival political party members were always very cordial to each other and had vigorous, but respectful debates on issues of national importance. The people who work in the National Assembly are there to do a job and are very committed to making legislation to create a better country. I hope that if I am given another opportunity, I will be only too happy to serve at the National Assembly as an intern.
Seoul International School
Francisco Choi email@example.com
<Copyright © The Herald Insight, All rights reseverd.>