By Philip Siu
Far East District
SEOUL, South Korea -- The Department of the Army internship program gives interns the opportunity to understand the various roles played within the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. It provides a big picture into what the Corps of Engineers does and the chance to master your new career field. The experience that we take away is dependent on the career goals and the personality of the individual and this determines how much is accomplished and learned.
My time as an intern started when I boarded the plane to Korea. It was very nerve-wracking because I had never been out of the country before. I was not sure what to expect when I landed. All I had heard about Korea was from what my uncles had told me about their many trips there. Learning the culture and customs was challenging and I still struggle to understand the finer points of Korean culture, although I believe I have adjusted well and am thankful my coworkers have been patient with me.
The first year of my internship was with construction division. I had never done construction before coming to Korea, so everything was new to me. I had taken a few classes dealing with management and construction scheduling, but had never applied the lessons on a real world project. The first few months involved learning about the projects that were managed by the central resident office and team building with my coworkers. The time was well spent as I got to understand their specialties, career history and learning their hobbies outside of work. I was given a few projects to administer and got hands on experience learning the finer details of managing construction projects - from scheduling, to resolving problems to project updates and payment. One of the projects I managed was the renovation of a collective protection system (CPS). The CPS filters out chemical and biological agents in the air, and is a system that is not often found in the United States.
My other great experience was with the programs and project management division (PPMD). PPMD was extremely helpful in describing the administrative process for all projects and how it proceeds from project conception, through construction, and finally turnover. Loren Chin, military branch chief, programs and project management division, was especially supportive with helping me decipher each section covering military construction (MILCON). This was instrumental in helping me understand the project management process that goes on before the project is turned over to construction division.
The intern program sets participants up for a great career. It is an opportunity to appreciate the work performed by all the divisions and leads to a better understanding of the team and components behind the mission. I look forward to continuing my incredible learning experience here.
Release no. 15-004