Skip to main content

Center Intern Update: So Heon Park

At the Hwaseong Immigration Processing Center
I visited the Hwaseong Immigration Processing Center in Hwaseong, South Korea to meet with a refugee applicant (“applicant”). The purpose of the visit was to ask some questions regarding her case with attorneys from my organization, Advocates for Public Interest Law (APIL). The meeting was held in a special room, called the “attorney’s reception room.”

Since the applicant is from an English speaking country, my primary role was to be an interpreter to help facilitate communication between the attorneys and the applicant. Before visiting the Hwaseong Immigration Processing Center, I researched the law from the applicant’s country relating to citizenship and marriage and reviewed her case file so I would be familiar with the applicant’s answers. I was privileged to see and learn how the attorneys asked questions and treated the applicant during the interview. 

Lunch study presentation
The attorneys kindly explained the process and the legal steps that the applicant could take and choose, and they also gave her a chance to ask any questions regarding her case. I learned that studying the record and materials before meeting the applicant and asking good questions are very important because the time that attorneys and the applicant meet is very crucial for all of them. Thus, it is very important to be prepared for the meeting so that the attorneys can obtain important information within the time limit.

Also, in APIL, there is a session called “lunch study.” One of staff members not only studies and researches on topics that are helpful for the organization, but also prepares a presentation or study session to educate other co-workers. It is a self-study session to improve staff members’ background knowledge in various areas and also facilitate a discussion. The staff member, who prepares the study session, also posts the content on the website to share the information with public.

Study session during lunch time
I studied and researched Dublin Regulation III, a European Union (EU) law that provides the legal framework for asylum law throughout the EU. It establishes the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsibility for examining applications for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person. I went over the law’s history and purpose, outlined the EU member countries, explained the differences between the previous Dublin Regulation and Dublin Regulation III, and also discussed important concepts and case examples. Dublin Regulation III has not been translated into Korean yet, so I translated important articles to Korean to help my co-workers understand. I had not studied the Dublin Regulation before I started preparing the study session; thus, it was very helpful for me to educate myself on European Union law and the Dublin system itself. Moreover, I was very thankful that I could contribute my skills to APIL. 

I am very excited to share my work with people who might need this information to help refugees apply for international protection in EU countries.