Korean-New Zealander heading to the United Nations


She moved from Korea to New Zealand as a teen, and now this young Kiwi woman is heading to the United Nations.

April Hyorin Kwak, came to NZ when she was 13, is thrilled at getting an opportunity to introduce her cultures in New York.

The 23-year-old is believed to be the first Korean New Zealander here to be going to New York as an intern at the United Nation’s Department of Safety and Security.

She will be working in legal and policy areas at the department, which looks after the safety and security of its operations around the world.

“This will be a chance for me, to introduce New Zealand’s culture and strengths to an international stage”, Kwak said.

“I want to learn how international organizations operate and build my skills and knowledge in the sector, I also want to expose myself to and witness the diverse cultures, expertise, and bring any lessons back to New Zealand.”

Kwak, a graduate policy adviser at the Ministry of Transport in Wellington, wants to pursue a career involving international legal and economic policy works and believes the internship experience will be of help.

She has a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Auckland and is currently studying part time at Victoria University of Wellington fir a postgraduate Certificate in Public Policy.

Kwak studied in France for a year as an exchange student when she was in 17 years old, and also studied International Relations at Seoul National University in South Korea.

Her time overseas inspired her to apply for an internship at the UN, and getting it was a dream come true.

Kwak wants to share her story to inspire other young migrants, and even refugees, with similar aspirations and career goals.

“I came from South Korea, went to a local school and was raised up by my parents who are just like other diligent migrants who endeavoured to provide safe and good environment to me and my younger brother by giving up their stable jobs and family and friends in Korea,” she said.

“This is an amazing oportunity … as a public servant, speaking three languages, and having received a number of scholarships and as an admitted barrister and solicitor on the NZ High Court, I am going to the UN.

“I want to encourage other young students to reach out for their best potential.”

Her internship in New York starts on September 3.

Source taken from: nzherald.co.nz