DISORGANIZED - I had to hound Meiji for important information that could have forced me to terminate my internship had the issues not been addressed in time. I felt alone during the preparation process and throughout the entirety of my internship once I got to Korea, as I only ever heard from Meiji if I reached out in an emergency. I was nearly forced to cancel my trip altogether due to Covid complications, which Meiji left me to navigate alone despite already having the information I needed at the time.
MISLEADING PROMISES - I arrived at my housing accommodation and found that Meiji had basically dropped me off at a dump. The place was still under construction, and I was the first and only resident. Dirt, workers, and construction fumes everywhere. Ear-splitting noise from the drilling outside my door every morning. Waste fumes coming from the bathroom. A sewer fly infestation moving from the drains to my bedroom. There was hardly room enough to live and it wasn’t fully furnished like I was promised it would be. The place wouldn’t have been acceptable for a standard accommodation, let alone the “superior accommodation” that I had paid for with Meiji's business package. Even then I had to fight them for four days before they finally agreed to move me, at which point my health was already compromised.
POOR FOLLOW-THROUGH - Also included in my package were language courses, sightseeing trips and networking events, and I only received information on these WEEKS into my internship after reminding Meiji multiple times that I was waiting on them. The “networking events” were a few web links to interest groups completely unrelated to my field of work, most of which either required payment or were not meeting within my period of stay. I understand events were difficult to find during the pandemic, but Meiji should have warned me of this before I payed for the service.
NO WORK MENTORSHIP - The internship itself was an okay experience and my boss took good care of me. However, I was not learning from a creative professional who could teach me how to finesse my abilities, but rather getting projects thrown at me and trying to figure out on my own how to give the company what they were looking for. I did get some work experience to put on my resume, however, and I am thankful for that.
UNSAFE - I must also mention that in the three months I was there I was put in danger multiple times. Perhaps I was a rare case and Meiji had no means of protecting me, but my aloneness as a woman and lack of a support system in Korea put me at risk. By the halfway point of my internship I was afraid to leave my apartment.
FALSE HOPE FOR YOUR CAREER - Meiji claims that their business package is meant for those who intend to pursue a career in Asia upon graduation and want the best experience possible to “free yourself of any stress.” I returned home with no hope of finding a job in Asia, and those three months had my stress and anxiety at the highest they’ve been in a long time. South Korea itself is amazing and I do believe the experience of working an internship abroad is worth it, but if I were to do it again I would not go with Meiji Internships. This was an enormous time and financial commitment, and I felt that the amount I paid far exceeded the quality of service that I received.