“I am living the best moments of my life here in America”
The Best Host Company, The Get Schooled Foundation
The U.S. is one of the most developed countries in the world in every aspect from finance and the military system to social welfare. Thus, a lot of people from around the world come to America either for immigration or just for study abroad to make a better life, embedding the “American Dream” in their heart. However, we know that there is no “utopia” in the real world. We keep failing at making an equal and just society; worsening social stratification and racism. The U.S. could not avoid such fate, either. While working for the Get Schooled Foundation, I could see some advantageous features in American society; humanity-prioritized work environment, flexible and creative education system, and the relatively booming employment market compared to my country. However, I could also witness the dark side of America. I could see that underprivileged Americans are losing their opportunity to get higher education just because of financial problems. The Get Schooled Foundation helped me to open my eyes toward the unrevealed side of society where teenagers are struggling to overcome poverty. The Get Schooled Foundation is the best for this issue; one can see both the bright and the dark sides of America especially related to the education sector. But, anyone can join the movement to better society. Get Schooled also taught me to enjoy American culture and lifestyle. And, as a career, one would learn the best skills, especially on marketing strategies, working with the Get Schooled Foundation.
The Other Side of America
To take the first step into the real American society, I read several books to understand modern history and the culture of America. Among those books, I read two books that gave me a strong impression; they were “The Autobiography of Malcom X” and “12 Years a Slave”. I started reading those books just out of curiosity and also for enjoyment but I ended up finishing them with a great deal of emotion, shock and amazement. Both books portray the history of the African-American. Even though America experienced the terrible history of racism against black people, I thought most of these vile legacies had been resolved. Indeed, American society is getting better with reduced racism compared to several decades ago, and even produced the renowned, first African American president, Barack Obama. Nevertheless, I could see that historical legacies still prominently remain deep in American society.
Most of all, I found that the U.S. has a wide gap between minority groups and white people in terms of income and education. It is not surprising that one country has a gap between the poor and the rich, but I thought it was not normal that there is a gap between races in one country. According to the Get Schooled demographic report (2016-2017), 66% of the students who are active in the Get Schooled Foundation are from low-income communities, and the majority of them are from ethnic minorities including African American (22%) and Latino (44%). It shows that students from minority groups have more earnest desire to receive help for higher education. In addition, “Even if more than 80% of high school students say their goal is to attend a four-year college”(1) , the actual college enrollment rates are dropping especially from the low-income class, according to the Washington Post. One of the Get Schooled students left a comment on our website desperately saying, “Get schooled, I need some help. I fear that I will no longer be able to play sports and most importantly, be out of house. Please help.” I sent an e-mail to him and he explained how he was having a difficult time as his father became disabled and his mother had two jobs. He was afraid that he might not be able to pursue his dream any more as he could not afford college tuition. Many Asian people, including myself, have thought American students are so independent and that they are not financially dependent on their parents after graduating from high school. However, what I found out is that the college tuition is so expensive that students cannot afford school without help from their parents, school, or govern-ment. Indeed, a lot of American students depend on their parents for college tuition. Students without enough income usually try to get financial aid and loans through FAFSA. However, many students still can’t go to college due to financial problems because of a lack of knowledge about the FAFSA process or too much personal debt. Even before going to college, the segregation between the minority groups and the white students occurs in the public education field. “Poor, black and Hispanic children are becoming increasingly isolated from their white, affluent peers in the nation’s public schools.”(2) The Get Schooled Foundation discusses and deals with social issues every week that are especially related to education and human rights through weekly meetings. And, based on discussions, we set our direction toward a better society for American students. Through these processes, Get Schooled has helped me gain insights into the historical legacies embedded on contemporary American society. Perhaps, getting rid of the dirty stains of bitter legacies will be an important mission of all generations in America. Get Schooled provides us with opportunities to join the movement for a better American society for upcoming generations. With this perspective, how can I deny the fact that The Get Schooled Foundation is the best company for a J-1 internship experience?
Enjoy the American Culture and Lifestyle
Getting into American society may seem serious and heavy. So, now I want to talk about the somewhat light and fun side of American culture and lifestyle. The Get Schooled Foundation gives us various opportunities to get to know cultural trends of America these days. As we communicate with teenagers and college students from all over the nation, we get to know what they are interested in and what they are most concerned about. In fact, it is the teenagers who are the most sensitive to trends. Hence, we get to see the real contemporary trends as we try to communicate with them.
Most of all, Get Schooled lets us know the latest trends of American pop or hip-hop culture. Following the teenagers’ interests, Get Schooled makes partnerships with American pop stars. Get Schooled is actually a guru of marketing and they know how to draw students’ attention effectively before they provide help to them. By making partnerships with celebrities such as Kendrick Lamar, DJ Khaled, Trey Songz, Omarion, and Naya Rivera, we communicate, encourage, and give positive and powerful messages to keep teenagers dreaming for a better future. Celebrities sometimes visit actual Get Schooled partner schools and have conversation with students. Also, they provide their autographs directly on Get Schooled designed items such as T-shirts, note books, and back packs, and we distribute them through our website to students who are interested in our programs. Furthermore, annually, we have a big event at Time Square in New York where the pictures and the profile of the best Get Schooled students are exhibited in Time Square to celebrate their graduation. During that time, celebrities (this year it was DJ Khaled) will spend time with students in the conference rooms.
In addition, the Get Schooled Foundation also tries to understand other aspects of current American teen culture such as fashion, books, TV shows, and films. The Get Schooled Foundation runs its own store which is called “Reward Store” where students can buy items using their virtual Get Schooled points. Before we upload new items on the reward store, we ask students about what they want to get through our reward store. A lot of students leave comments. The most popular one is NIKE products such as Nike shoes, backpacks, wrist bands, basketball, and so on. And, some students also express that they need school supplies such as notebooks, pencil cases, and pens. Other than that, we also have Play Station Vistas, soccer balls, stickers, and music albums. As for books, TV shows, and films, students liked young adult books such as Jenny Han’s “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”, Markus Zusak’s “The Book Thief”, Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games”, and J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter”. When we surveyed the students for their favorite TV shows, the most popular answers were “Riverdale”, “The Flash”, “Game of Thrones”, “Friends”, and “Greys Anatomy”. For movies, the most famous one in 2017 was “Spider Man: Homecoming”. As you can see, most of the contents are somewhat familiar to us. That means that American teenagers are the leaders of trends of fun activities throughout the whole nation and among all generations. Therefore, when one gets the chance to actively communicate with teenagers, one will understand the latest trends and culture of America.
Besides communicating with teenagers, one can also learn about American culture with kind and friendly Get Schooled co-workers. Whenever there is a special theme day such as National Chicken day or National Doughnut day, we go out during our work hours and go to Pike Place market or a national park in Seattle and have fun and relaxation. During that time, we talk as friends sharing one’s interests and stories with one another. The most unforgettable moment for me was my birthday. I was alone in Seattle departing from all of my friends in Los Angeles, I didn’t have any plans to enjoy my birthday. However, my Get Schooled co-workers celebrated my birthday by giving me a letter written by all the staff and having a good lunch all together with a special ice cream cake with my name on it at a luxurious Thai restaurant. Now, we are planning to go to an island near Seattle to have some famous ice cream using our lunch time. Like these, there are a lot of fun and amazing cultural experiences with Get Schooled co-workers.
Build Your Career in Get Schooled
The Get Schooled Foundation is the best company if one wants to build their career, especially in the marketing sector. It is involved in human rights and education as it works for underprivileged teenagers seeking a higher education. Get Schooled is actually the guru of marketing with the most developed computer technology. In addition, Get Schooled also provides the best environment for one to improve English communication skills.
Most of all, Get Schooled is the best in “gamification” of its app and website. The process is like this: through various surveys, researches, and brainstorming, we create our own contents such as articles, discussion boards, quiz, and games. Then, using all social media like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, e-mail, and text messages, we advertise the new contents to all the students. They soon visit the Get Schooled website and they will enjoy reading and discussing other content. The important and unique thing is that the students who participate on our website (reading articles or leaving comments) will receive Get Schooled points. And, if they achieve badges (which requires students to participate several, different content related to one special topic), the students will get several more points than just reading a lot of articles from random topics. After they gather some points, they can go to the reward store and actually purchase expensive and necessary products using their virtual points. Just like a game, students enjoy our content, attain good items, and learn crucial knowledge and information about study, work, and scholarships at the same time.
Get Schooled supports teenagers through this fun way but with serious and necessary help. If they weren’t this good at marketing in this indirect way, they wouldn’t have been nominated by the nation for its innovative way of marketing. They also put so much effort to communicate with the students personally and directly. After doing a lot of research, analysis, adopting some feedback, and brainstorming, we send messages full of good information that the students need to know and individually answer them regarding their own situation in order to give the most needed help. In the end, we approach the clients both in public through famous social network services and in private through individual e-mail, text messages, and also actually visiting their high schools. The process and the system are so developed that one can learn a lot about how marketing with computer technology, especially with gamification and SNS, can make a powerful impact.
Even if one is not interested in education, human rights, non-profit organizations or marketing, one can still take advantage of improving English communication skills by interning with the Get Schooled Foundation. It is actually the best place to learn and improve communication skills in English. Get Schooled will help you improve both written and spoken English communication skills. As for the written communication skills, you communicate with many students through e-mail and you would learn how to write a letter politely and in a good customer service manner. Also, one would read students’ casual conversation from the discussion board on the website, and through it, one will naturally get familiar with English idioms or slang that native speakers are using. Furthermore, an intern at Get Schooled will get an opportunity to write articles about all things related to study, work, scholarship, daily life, college information and many other fun but useful topics. Before writing an article, you would research and read various materials. Through this process, one will definitely improve written communication skills. As for the spoken English communication skills, Get Schooled has many meetings every week. In those meetings, we discuss many things from general social topics to specific work processes. For example, in addition to the content team and text-line team meeting every week that I am involved in, we have weekly team meeting on every Wednesday and our agenda for the meeting usually consists of learning opportunities, briefing on each project, and weekly reports. Through at least three times of meetings a week, one actively participates in professional English communication. I was not familiar with the environment of actively expressing one’s opinion and critical thinking during meetings, so I was almost mute every week and just merely tried to follow the flow of conversation. It was quite stressful for me. However, after about one month, I could actually participate in this active moment of English communication. I took responsibility for this “learning moment” by presenting about Korean education system and comparison with American’s. In addition, I also had a chance to lead the weekly team meeting. Through all of those processes, naturally, I could improve English communication skills and most of all, I could gain confidence. Therefore, if you really want to learn about marketing and to improve English communication skills through J-1 internship, Get Schooled is the perfect place, better than any other companies or organizations.
To sum it up, Get Schooled has a lot of advantages in many different aspects and when it comes to J-1 internships it is the best company. Most of all, while many companies and organizations give limited perspectives on American lifestyle and culture, Get Schooled gives new perspectives by letting us know both the bright and dark sides of America. Through the new perspective, one can broaden their thinking and understanding about America itself. Secondly, I also talked about how you can enjoy the American lifestyle and culture by working at Get Schooled. One can understand the latest trends of American teenagers from fashion and pop and hip hop culture to books and films. Also by having friendly relationship with co-workers one can enjoy the American culture and lifestyle. Finally, Get Schooled is the best because it provides the best opportunity to build our new professional and innovative careers. As one of the fastest growing marketing company, it shows us how to integrate computer technology of innovative gamification with social networking systems. Also, you can maximize your English communication skills in this perfect English environment.
I believe the Get Schooled Foundation is the best company. The Get Schooled Foundation truly gives a lot of new opportunities for interns to learn and experience the educational, cultural, and professional aspects of America. I do not think I could get a better opportunity anywhere else. Every second I spent at the Get Schooled Foundation was such a valuable experience and lesson. I believe every J-1 visa student has been enjoying their opportunity at their host companies. However, I can tell the world in full confidence that the experience I had at the Get Schooled Foundation was absolutely amazing and precious, “I am living the best moment of my life here in America with the opportunities that ICCE and the Get Schooled Foundation have given me!”
Written by Jaehoon Lee from South Korea
Digital Content Engagement Intern in Seattle, Washington
January 2017 – June 2018 (J-1 Korea WEST)
*Winner of 2017 ICCE End of Summer Essay Contest
(1) “Get Schooled”, https://getschooled.com/about
(2) Emma Brown, “On the anniversary of Brown v. Board, new evidence that U.S. schools are resegregating, The Washington post, May 17 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/education/wp/2016/05/17/on-the-anniversary-of-brown-v-board-new-evidence-that-u-s-schools-are-resegregating/?utm_term=.e850ec37ece8