OWL Magazine Korea

“Success Stories of 10 Koreans Working Abroad”

As I approached my graduation from university and began preparing for employment, various thoughts crossed my mind. Since I had focused mainly on my studies during that time, I didn’t have much knowledge about the world of “employment.” To fill this lack of information, I turned to books available at the library, delving into the subject.

Through books, I could indirectly experience aspects of airport work and gain insights into the experiences and thoughts of current flight attendants. Despite the constant time constraints while preparing for employment during my last semester, I always found joy in setting aside time to borrow books related to “employment” from the library. It was a period where I could indirectly experience things I hadn’t encountered before and, in a way, the reading contributed to my preparations for employment.

“What if I try working abroad?”

While searching for books on employment at the library, I found myself pondering this question. I began to think that I didn’t necessarily have to confine myself to employment opportunities within South Korea. Considering the demand for talent worldwide, I vaguely wondered if there might be even more opportunities globally.

During such contemplation, I coincidentally came across a book titled “Success Stories of 10 Koreans Working Abroad” at the library.

“Success Stories of 10 Koreans Who Studied Domestically and Work Abroad”

As the title suggests, the book features stories of 10 individuals who studied in South Korea and achieved success in working abroad. Each protagonist works in different countries and for different companies. The book narrates their motivations for deciding to work abroad, the preparations they made, and their experiences working overseas.

Since working abroad was a topic I had contemplated at least once, the book captivated my interest even more. Perhaps, as a fourth-year student preparing for employment during that time, the subject matter resonated with me.

“A Book That Left Some Unfulfilled Expectations Due to Lack of Specific Preparation Details”

However, there was a relatively unfulfilled aspect. Personally, I picked up the book with the expectation of gaining concrete information about “working abroad.” Instead, the book predominantly focused on the emotions and feelings the 10 individuals had during their decision-making process, preparations, and life in their overseas workplaces, rather than offering detailed explanations of the specific processes and methods.

Despite this, I couldn’t ignore the fact that these 10 individuals were sharing experiences they had encountered ahead of my own experiences. Recognizing this, I couldn’t help but appreciate their efforts.

Though not providing extensive information, each of the 10 individuals who succeeded in working abroad concluded their stories by summarizing places where readers could find information related to the fields they had applied for or helpful resources. In this sense, if one took the time to compile the information about the locations and occupations where the 10 protagonists worked, it could be valuable for future reference when preparing for working abroad.

  • Kim Hyun-a: Singapore Apple Inc. – Technical support engineer for Apple product services
  • Kim Hyun-seok: Paris, France – Architect and urban planner
  • Jung So-seon: San Francisco, USA – Nurse
  • Park Geon-young: Guam – Clubmate (Activity supervisor at PIC Guam)
  • Choi Eun-chim: Timor-Leste – UNDP Democracy and Governance Section – Officer in charge of justice and human rights projects
  • Choi Hye-rin: Bangkok, Thailand – Thai Airways stewardess
  • Kim Yeon: Paris, France – Designer
  • Lee Jae-seong: Vienna, Austria – UN Legal Office ITLD
  • Park Hye-won: Tokyo, Japan – IT developer
  • Yang Geun-young: Heilongjiang, China – Korean language instructor

“WorldJob – Overseas Employment Site Operated by the Korea Industrial Training Corporation (KITC)”

The last person mentioned, Yang Geun-young, attended language courses in China at a later age, fulfilled her dream, and returned to South Korea to become a Korean language instructor. She discovered the Korean Industrial Training Corporation’s (KITC) overseas employment site, “WorldJob” (https://www.worldjob.or.kr), through the library and applied for the Korean language instructor training program.

Her decision to pursue her dream at a relatively late age was impressive. Additionally, the information in the book about the KITC operating an overseas employment site was helpful.

“The Current Atmosphere of Working Abroad May Differ Somewhat”

In reality, a considerable amount of time has passed since the book was published. The job market’s atmosphere seems to change annually. The job market environment when I, the author, applied for jobs as a new graduate a decade ago differs significantly from today.

Even though the economy was not thriving ten years ago, having “specs” and a compelling “story” offered hope for securing employment. However, in recent times, the enthusiasm seen in the past is not as prevalent due to salary and working conditions, even after obtaining employment.

Furthermore, the global economic situation has been challenging, and since the COVID-19 pandemic, the era has witnessed significant changes. As the world’s population structure gradually shifts towards an aging society, moving from a low inflation era to a high inflation era, the overall global vitality seems to be diminishing. Although the United States still maintains a stable birthrate and a well-distributed population structure across generations, the atmospheres in other countries do not appear optimistic.

Of course, the U.S. has also faced challenges, such as major companies in Silicon Valley, including Google and Amazon, undergoing large-scale layoffs, contributing to an unfavorable situation.

While the world is experiencing economic difficulties, it is crucial not to lose hope and to continue living diligently, preparing to seize opportunities when the time comes.

“Success Stories of 10 Koreans Working Abroad”

  • Authors: Kim Yeon and others, Edited by Park Chang-su
  • Publication Date: September 28, 2009
  • ISBN13: 9788960862029
  • Yes24 Link: Yes24