On October 29, United States Ambassador to the Republic of Korea Sung Kim and Republic of Korea Minister of Foreign Affairs Yun Byung-se signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to extend the bilateral Working Holiday Program (WHP) for U.S. students and the Work, English Study, Travel (WEST) Program for Korean students. For the next five years, an annual maximum of 2000 college students from each of the countries will be allowed to stay for up to 18 months to study, work as interns, and travel in each other’s countries.
Under the MOU, U.S. college students or recent graduates participating in the WHP in the Republic of Korea can stay in the country for up to 18 months to pursue work, study and travel opportunities. Korean college students and recent graduates taking part in the WEST Program can stay in the United States for up to 18 months, studying English for two to five months, working as interns for up to 12 months, and traveling for 1 month.
The MOU was concluded as a follow-up measure to the understanding reached between President Park and President Obama during their summit in May 2013 for an extension of the two programs. The extension of these programs helps American youth better understand Korean culture through study, work, and travel, and Korean youth gain a fuller understanding of American culture through language study and internships in the country.
These programs exemplify people-to-people exchanges that promote a more democratic, secure, and prosperous world and provide students with experience to gain the knowledge, skills, and self-reliance that are needed to compete in today’s globalized economy.