I am writing this entry from the comfort of Seoul, Korea — freshly returned from Tokyo, Japan a few short weeks ago — “Back 2 the Basics” so to speak.
This wonderful country has a way of attracting me to come back again and again, dating back from 2008 with my first exchange programme in Yonsei University. Following my first experience in Seoul (and I may add the most entertaining semester I had in university), I felt somewhat attached and in turn compelled to return. The blog post written on my departing day in 2008 says it all.
Accordingly, during my internship searching in 2009 to complete my Toulouse Business School (ESC Toulouse) Management degree, I did focus my efforts and attention on Korea, although I eventually oriented myself toward all of Asia-Pacific in order to better deal with the situational constraints. I was fortunate enough to find a position with the Delegation of the European Union in Vietnam, which proved to be exactly what I wanted to do, even if it was quite unexpected and involved a good part of pro-activeness on my end to solidify the opportunity. As much as I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Vietnam as well as my internship, I must admit that I indeed missed Korea during that period.
Hence, in the latter half of 2009, I persisted with my university to grant me exceptional circumstances (as if there were not enough that had already occurred) both to allow me to partake in my 4th exchange programme in Korea University and also to authorize that I take a particular course crucial to my course of study outside of the university. After a number of meetings, emails, phone calls, and a hand-written request, the finance faculty dean would finally allow me to study the particular course outside of the university for the first time for any student. I ironed out a few other details (mainly managing to damage control an accounting class for which I confused the final exam dates but somehow managed to do well on — better than the previous exams that I had studied for in fact!). In the end, I was able to go study in Korea University in the spring of 2010.
Along with a dozen other students (mainly on exchange), I then sought to try my hand professionally in Korea. Under a set of random events, I managed to meet the HR Director of Air Liquide Korea at a cocktail gathering hosted by the French Chamber of Commerce of Korea. The CFO happened to be a Frenchman, and the interview was a success as I received an offer a few weeks after.
I would go on to do a rather “veiled internship”, i.e. a post of responsibility officially termed a traineeship, for 11 months in Seoul, Korea. It was full of its own ups and downs, but overall a very positive and worthwhile endeavour. I very much enjoyed the professional relationships both with superiors and team-level colleagues, a big factor in my decision-making for renewing the contract after 6 months.
Following, I was recommended for a placement in the Asia-Pacific Headquarters of Air Liquide (appropriately named ‘Air Liquide Asia Pacific’) in Tokyo, Japan, where I spent approximately 8 months working. During the entirety of this intense period I deeply missed Korea, prompting me to return in the New Year holiday for several days. And eventually, after leaving my job in Tokyo, Japan it was all to clear in my mind where I needed to go: Korea.
So here I am. Ready and optimistic for the future!
One must be discerning in all that they do.
Good people, intelligent discourse, constructive pro-active activities, and a forward-thinking attitude!