Yunji’s internship 2014

September 29, 2021

Hello! My name is Yunji Hwang and although I was born and raised in Korea, I lived in 5 different countries with the most recent one being Canada. I currently work for the Canadian Red Cross in Vancouver at a program designed to help low-income seniors and disabled persons who are unable to obtain their own health equipment. I interned at REI/RIJ during the summer and autumn of 2014. 

 During my internship at REI/RIJ, I spent most of my time on social media where I researched and found effective ways to tell the world about the stories of those displaced by conflict and the REI/RIJ efforts to support this group of people. I still remember sharing the story of Miriam Makeba, the legendary singer who lived in exile for 10 years as part of REI/RIJ’s weekly series, “Refugee Impacts” and feeling amazed to learn that we can make a difference by supporting those hindered by displacement. I also participated as the MC for the RIJ Charity concert which involved several school bands and choir to raise funds and this experience remains as one of my favourite memories. 

 I currently work for a program designed to help those in need, those who are pushed to the margins due to their socio-economic status and I can confidently say that it was my internship at the REI/REJ that have led me to this path of humanitarianism and human rights. As someone who always had interest in current affairs and writing, the internship at REI/RIJ which supports refugees seemed like a valuable opportunity. 

In completing this internship, I was able to enhance my understanding of the refugees and their increasingly serious and indeed precarious position, as well as having developed my global knowledge at a ‘grassroots level’. What I cherish my internship with REI/RIJ the most is that this experience helped me discover my passion in humanitarianism and that I too, as an individual can make a difference through various means. For example, just like the “Refugee Impacts” series, I currently run an Instagram series on commemorating and remembering the stories of the “Comfort Women” survivors (girls who were forced in sexual slavery by the Imperial Japaense Army during WWII). 

 Additionally, I am thankful to my REI/RIJ internship experience as it provided me with the opportunity to develop my independent research skills, time management and writing skills which has helped me in university and at work as I am able to take initiative and create convincing and effective writings and reports.  Likewise, I cherish my internship experience at REI/RIJ as it inspired me to get to where I am today. So future interns, take initiative, seize every opportunity that’s given to you during your internship at REI/RIJ and I guarantee you that you’ll come out having gained so much knowledge and skills that will help you moving forward, whether that is in your academics, career, life choices or all of them like me!