What is the name of your child's school? (Please report on one school per survey.)
Seoul Foreign School (SFS)
In what town or city is this school located?
How would you describe this school? (i.e. American, British, International, Local, etc.)
International - 3 divisions are American-based, 1 division is British-based
What grade levels are represented at this school?
Elementary, Middle and High School. On the British side, from pre-school to Year 9 (Key Stage 3)
How do most children get to school everyday? (bus, train, walk, etc.)
Some families live within walking distance of the school. However, many expat families live either in Soebuk-dong or Itaewon/Hannam-dong. Thus, many children catch the school bus. It takes about 45 minutes to get to the school by bus. Our children leave home in Itaewon at around 7.25am and return by about 4pm. There is a late bus for older children who are in Key Stage 3 and Middle School.
How would you describe the facilities at this school? What extra-curricular activities are available?
The PTA organizes sporting activities after school. There is also music and drama after school. When you don't live close to the school, after school activities after easier to manage with older children because they can catch the late bus home.
What has this school done to help your child transition from the curriculum in your home
country into the curriculum in your new country? Are there programs to prepare your child for repatriation?
The British Division follows the National Curriculum, while the American divisions (particularly Middle and High School) are geared towards giving student the opportunity to opt for the International Baccalaureat program. Hence, the curricula taught at SFS - be it American or British - prepare the children well for repatriation.
How would you describe the social activities available for parents through this school? Are there parent-teacher organizations?
The PTA is fairly active. The school tries to keep parents informed through an online system called Edline. Emails are also sent out to notify parents of important events etc.
What advice would you give to someone considering enrolling their child in this school?
We are very happy with SFS for two main reasons. Firstly, there is not much choice in Seoul. Many so-called international schools are not geared towards the education of children of expats as the proportion of children for whom English is a second or third language is high. The closest competitor to SFS is probably the Yongsan International School, which has about 500 students; 60% of whom are Korean and the remainder 40% come from English and non-English speaking countries.
Secondly, although SFS was originally a missionary school and religion still plays an important part in the everyday school life, the Yongsan International School leans heavily towards fundamentalist Christian practices. Until it was awarded the management of Yongsan School by the Korean Foundation, it was called the International Christian School. It is still owned and run by the Network of International Christian Schools (http://www.nics.org/schools/seoul.php), and its teaching staff are still bound by NICS guidelines.