Korea WEST 12 Months & Korea WEST Plus Program

The Korea WEST 12-Months Programs and the Korea WEST Plus Program (Training, English, Travel), a joint venture between the U.S. State Department and the South Korean Ministry of Education, gives South Korea’s students the opportunity to intern in the US. The German American Chamber of Commerce California (GACC California) is proud to be a designated sponsor for the Korea WEST 12 Months Program and the WEST Plus Program which includes attending a language school, an internship in the field of study and 1 month of travel in the USA.

Both programs are operated by the Institute of International Education and Exchange (IIEEX) at the GACC California.

  • Intensive English language courses at two top tier schools in San Diego, CA
  • Live in the beautiful San Diego
  • A secured internship placement directly relevant to participants field of study
  • Cultural activities and networking provided during language school and respective internships.
  • Continued program advice and guidance throughout the program
  • Program orientation in Seoul prior to US departure
  • Welcome orientation in San Diego
  • Complete medical insurance that covers emergency expenses and a 24 hour hotline
  • Around the clock emergency support and assistance

Eonha Cho
Participant 2018
Internship in Sport Management
Vancouver, WA

I truly treasure every second of my life in San Diego. I wish I could better put into words how thankful I am to have this once in a lifetime experience in SD. And it couldn’t have happened without you, thank you so much for your efforts and giving me a great opportunity to become a better person through IIEEX experience. Ps. Those photos were taken by my friend at my favorite place, sunset cliff and it was one of the best memories of mine.

Jongwon Lee
Participant 2019
Internship at a Business Association
San Francisco, CA

“I have always been happy since I came to the U.S. Especially, I had made a lot of memories with my west program colleagues during the English training at Q int’l school in San Diego. And as the leader of WEST participants(IIEEX), now I swear that I will do my best in any case for my friends until the end of the WEST program. For your information, I am doing my internship in San Francisco. I am really satisfied so far.”

Jungyeon Hong
Participant 2019
Internship in Architectural
Seattle, WA

“After coming to the United States, there are a few things I have realized. One of them was after I saw myself in this picture. I knew What it looked like when I was really happy. Living in another country is the best way to see other inner forms of myself. I feel like I am getting to know who I really am, not who I knew”.

Why choose IIEEX?

IIEEX is the right choice for participants in the Korea West program


  • Our quality and customer satisfaction backed up by 17 years of experience
  • Our committed placement team will individually help you secure an internship in your field of study
  • Language courses in sunny San Diego, California cannot be beat
  • We understand your career goals and objectives when securing an internship
  • Our dedicated support team will be here for you with our 24/7 hotline
Years of experience
Host Companies
Program Goals

Participants of IIEEX WEST program participate in a unique experience abroad that will provide them with the opportunity to:

  • Discover and understand American culture
  • Develop skills in their field of study at an American company
  • Improve their English language and intercultural communication skills
  • Gain practical experience in American work settings
  • Learn how to promote your skills and profile in an international context
Program Types

Korea WEST Plus:

  • 2 months of English language school in San Diego
  • 6-10 month internship at an American company
  • 1-month of personal travel across the United States

Korea WEST 12 Months:

  • 3 months of English language school in San Diego
  • 6-8 months internship at an American company
  • 1-month personal travel across the U.S.A
Language schools in San Diego

IIEEX program participants will have their choice of 2 different language schools on 3 beautiful campuses, located in the sunny and exciting city of San Diego, California. During the two/three months of language school, the students will get intensive training in the English language and develop skills necessary to succeed in any business environment. The high-quality learning environment includes comfortable classrooms, student kitchens, lounges, and computer labs.

National University Language Institute

Experience U.S. university life at San Diego’s largest private nonprofit university founded in 1971 with more than 165,000 alumni worldwide! The National University Language Institute offers English Language Learning programs for students at all levels who wish to enhance their professional and workplace skills. The WSCUC accredited programs are designed to improve fundamental and Business English language skills while learning more about intercultural, scholarly, and workplace communication. You will also have the opportunity to take advantage of many leisure activities such as joining recreational sports teams and student clubs, monthly group activity events, career advisory support, writing center, fully organized field trips, cultural celebrations and professional development workshops.

Campus: 9388 Lightwave Ave, San Diego, CA 92123
Website: www.nu.edu/


College of English Language CEL – Downtown

CEL offers quality English language courses in two beautiful locations in San Diego: Downtown and Pacific Beach. The school in San Diego Downtown is located near lively Broadway. The proximity to the Gaslamp Quarter and Little Italy allows students to enjoy many outdoor events and experience the vibrancy of an American city. Learning English at CEL is much more than learning the top language in the world. It’s an opportunity to experience American culture, meet students from other countries and cultivate an international perspective.

Campus: 233 A Street, San Diego, CA 92101
Website: www.englishcollege.com


College of English Language CEL – Pacific Beach

This school is located in Pacific Beach just a 5-minute walk away from the beach. Pacific Beach is a vibrant, seaside neighborhood of San Diego that’s popular among Californian surfers, college students and international tourists. PB (as the locals call it) is known for its amazing surf spots, thriving nightlife and mouth-watering seafood. CEL welcomes students all year around from all over the world to provide a great learning environment for international students. CEL is accredited by CEA and are members of Quality English, ALTO and English USA. Their experienced teachers and small classes (max. 12 students per class) provide students with a personal and enriching academic environment.

Campus: 919 Garnet Avenue, San Diego, CA 92109
Website: www.englishcollege.com


A major part of the WEST programs is the internship phase. IIEEX will help students find a suitable placement in their field of studies all throughout the US. We work with great companies from various industries that are located in all major cities and regions across the country. Our internships provide on-the-job exposure to techniques, methodologies, and expertise, and enhance the intern’s’ knowledge of foreign culture and lifestyle. During the time of the internship, the student will be assigned a company supervisor to mentor and guide them personally.

Personalized Internship Opportunities
The IIEEX Placement Team aims to secure personalized internships for all WEST participants directly related to their career goals. Internships are focused on participants’ past experience, level of education, and field of study. With a wide range of partner companies, internship opportunities are available at:

  • Private companies of various sizes & industries
  • Non-profit organizations
  • University labs and Academic Institutions
  • Federal, State and City government administrations


Internship Period
Participants have the option of choosing their internship duration from 6-10 months. Internship periods depend on host company needs. Korea WEST Plus participants have the option of 6-10 months. Korea WEST participants intern from 6-8 months.


Placement Process and Steps
After being accepted into the WEST program, the IIEEX team will start finding internships that directly relate to your field of study and practical experience. Each individual participant will work with a placement coordinator who will lead you through the placement process. Placement coordinators will provide WEST participants with resume templates and assist them in creating a strong video resume that will attract company employers. Placement coordinators will also be in charge of scheduling interviews with possible host companies and will help with interview preparation. All WEST participants are required to accept any interview that is directly relevant to their field of study and experience. Upon being offered an internship opportunity, IIEEX staff will present you with an formal internship offer. Participants need to confirm this internship offer in writing in order to validate their visa documents necessary to stay in the US.


Host Company Compensation and Benefits
It is important to note that the majority of internships in the United States are unpaid. However, some companies offer hourly pay or monthly stipends depending on the company’s resources and each participant’s level of education and experience. Other company benefits may include transportation stipends, food vouchers, gym memberships and additional allowances.


After WEST participants successfully finish their internship, they have the opportunity to travel across the country for one more month before returning to South Korea.  Participants get to explore big cities, national parks, beaches, and more.

Requirements & Qualifications

To participate in the Korea WEST program applicants must first undergo an application process by the National Institute of International Education (NIIE) and the Internationalization Strategy Team (IST). Students then apply for sponsorship with IIEEX in San Diego.

To be selected for sponsorship, applicants must have a good level of English, preferably already gained first practical experience in their field of study and demonstrate a high level of self-motivation as well as flexibility.

Once being selected by IIEEX, an exciting phase starts during where each gets an individual placement coordinator who leads them through the job application process. Students and coordinator will work together closely and respectfully until a suitable host company is found.

IIEEX representatives will also be present during the Pre-departure Orientation in Seoul in June and November to meet all the program participants in person before they finally arrive in San Diego to start their language training and internship. This will be a chance for the students to not only meet staff in person but to also ask any questions. Also during their time in the United States, IIEEX will be the student’s’ first point of contact and will offer support and guidance.


Why should I choose IIEEX as a sponsor?

With over 17 years of experience in the international exchange industry, IIEEX has a 100 % success rate for all WEST participants. Our program is highly personalized to fit the needs of each individual. We take the time to get to know our participants and go above and beyond to meet expectations.

How does the language school process work?

IIEEX’s language school program is for 2-3 months and the schedule is from Monday through Friday. Your classes will consist of English classes focused on writing and speaking as well as an emphasis on American culture and lifestyle. You will have the choice of 3 campuses located in the beautiful city of San Diego. The city of San Diego is one of the safest cities in the United States. San Diego has great weather and is home to many beaches, hiking trails, parks, museums, diverse restaurants, and a vibrant nightlife.

Will I get to choose the city and company where I will do my internship?

IIEEX will take your preferred cities and companies into account, however, we can not guarantee an internship placement in an exact city or with a specific company. Internships will occur all throughout the United States and will fit the match educational backgrounds and levels of experience.

What kind of support will I receive throughout this program?

IIEEX prides itself on providing its participants with the best service possible. We will provide ongoing support during all phases of this program. Our placement coordinators, visa team, and program directors will be dedicated to answering any questions that you may have throughout your stay in the U.S. IIEEX communicates with participants via email, phone calls, and video calls to provide you with updates on current situations and to answer your questions.

What are the benefits of participating in the Korea WEST program?

Korea WEST participants are given an incredible opportunity to experience American culture and gain practical experience in their field of study. All participants have the opportunity to get ahead in their careers by learning about new innovations and technologies, business practices, and acquiring new skills that will make them desirable for employment. Participants will also have the opportunity to network with many professionals at business and cultural events that can open doors to career opportunities in the future.

Will my internship be paid?

It is important to note that many internships in the United States are unpaid. However, we have in the past, been able to secure paid internships for many participants who are highly qualified. Certain individuals with high levels of education and practical experience will be offered the opportunity to get paid for their work through hourly pay, monthly stipends, or offered other benefits such as company cars, gym memberships, and other perks. Once again, the pay is entirely at the discretion of the host companies and we cannot guarantee that your internship will be paid.

Am I allowed to travel outside of the United States during the Korea WEST Program?

During the Korea WEST Program you are allowed to travel outside of the U.S. IIEEX participants usually enjoy visiting Tijuana, Mexico, during their stay in San Diego as it is only 30 minutes away. If you would like to plan a trip, you will need to have your DS-2020 form signed off by an IIEEX representative. You must take this document and your passport with you while traveling abroad in order to be admitted back into the U.S. It is important to emphasize that your trips abroad must not conflict with language school training or your internship work schedule.

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