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IARU Internship Reflection

The first time I got interested in the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing was after reading some articles and books written by Professor Sarah Harper. As a master’s student in Comparative Social Policy looking at comparative pension system, the key issues of my research included demographic transition and fertility challenge in South Korea and most of western welfare states. Her research was very helpful in understanding social and economic challenges of population ageing.

I came to some of the weekly seminars hosted by the institute, and they provided further insights in broad topics of population ageing. The seminars involved multidisciplinary topics including health, social care, poverty, gender inequality and a wide variety of policy cases from all over the world. The invited speakers were very competent researchers and the seminars were a nice place to build networks in this field. That is why I decided to apply for the IARU internship in the institute.

Unfortunately, I was only available in off-term time for the internship, and there has not been many seminars going on in this period. However, the UKRI Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Healthy Ageing Workshop organised by the institute was amazing. This grand project gathered all stakeholders of healthy ageing challenge, from academia, business, public sectors and charities. The idea of constructing a business model for industries to support ageing population was original for people like me who have always been approaching this issue from public policy perspective. But I still recommend that potential applicants apply for the internship during term-time as there would be much more events going on.

Another amazing experience during my internship was an opportunity to collaborate with the members of this institute. I started research on the employment and well-being of older women in the UK and South Korea, in collaboration with Dr Sara Zella and Prof Sarah Harper. I have mostly conducted data analysis of the two countries, and the advice I got from Dr Zella was very helpful and expanding my knowledge. Even after finishing my internship, I am still continuing the affiliation with the institute until this project is done, which is also exciting.

Finally, one part of my job was to be one of the managing editors of the Journal of Population Ageing. My task was to read submissions and allocate them to appropriate reviewers. Though it was not a tough job, learning the process of reviewing and publishing journal articles was very useful for an early career researcher like me. I could surely say that my knowledge and experience in this field has expanded thanks to this internship programme.

About the Author:

Kun Lee was an IARU intern at the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing Ausgut - September, 2019. Originally from South Korea, Kun graduated from Seoul National University with honours and holds a dual BA degree in Social Welfare and Economics.