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Parent's Review of Seoul International School in Seoul, Korea

What is the name of your child's school? (Please report on one school per survey.)

Seoul International School

In what town or city is this school located?

Seoul

How would you describe this school? (i.e. American, British, International, Local, etc.)

International in name, with an American school system

What grade levels are represented at this school?

From junior kindergarten, which advances to senior kindergarten, all the way to grade 12

How do most children get to school everyday? (bus, train, walk, etc.)

There are numerous school buses that pick up most of the students in various places around Korea. From Pundang to Hannam, the bus routes hit the most common areas that students and their families live. Many students also have their personal drivers, while a few ride public transport such as the subway or bus. Very few students are able to walk to school. Those that do are mainly the children of teachers, who live in an apartment complex built for them about 5 minutes away from the school.

How would you describe the facilities at this school? What extra-curricular activities are available?

The main school area hasn't changed much since its inception - same colours and desks, etc. The ceiling panels are often broken, and the technology is outdated. A new building was built due to overcrowding for the middle schoolers and high schoolers, but it was overturned to most of the elementary school. The school has two gyms, Tiger Gym 1 & 2. 1 is a regulation-size basketball gym with bleachers and six hoops. 2 is smaller, and used for elementary school and junior varsity sports teams. There is a weight room next to gym 1, and a pool nearby as well. A tennis court was built next to the new building, but it quickly lost its usefulness due to lack of space, and is currently being used as a place to put in extra classrooms via metal boxes. A dirt football field used to exist, but is currently under construction to be a regulation-sized astroturf football field with underground parking for buses and cars. There are currently two playgrounds for the students to enjoy.

Extra-curricular activities such as boosters for a variety of sports are available for K-8. High schoolers have numerous activities available, from varsity sports to many clubs such as UNICEF, community service, math club, and many more. Model United Nations is also a large part of the school's activities, with the school invited to three conferences a year in Seoul, Beijing, and Amsterdam. There is also a group that spans over a few schools in the area called Vida, a Christian 'club' of sorts where students can gather and meet with like-minded individuals. The National Honour Society and the National Arts Honour Society is also a vital part of the high school extra-curricular activities, as are numerous musical classes.

The school provides guidance counselors and tutors for students struggling academically. This is not part of the tuition.

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?

As a school based on an American curriculum, if the child has been schooled based on that system, they adapt exceptionally well. There are no programs to prepare your child for repatriation.

How would you describe the social activities available for parents through this school? Are there parent-teacher organizations?

Parent groups are most active in elementary and middle school levels. As the population of the school is mainly Korean, however, Korean mothers have formed their own groups and monopolised it. There is a PTA for the high school that funds sports teams occasionally and bring up school issues with the board. Beyond Open House (a chance for parents to meet teachers near the beginning of the year) and parent-teacher conferences to discuss a student's progress, the parents only socialise when there are school concerts or end-of-year parties with the elementary children.

What advice would you give to someone considering enrolling their child in this school?

If your child is Korean-American, Chinese-American, or Japanese-American, this is a good school for them. If you are a foreigner (i.e. from Europe or Southeast Asia, Africa), then this school is probably not for you. As a school with a 98% population of Asian-Americans and an extremely small percentile of foreigners, you and your child may feel alienated. If you wish for your child to attend school in Europe, then this school does not provide the proper accreditation for your child (like baccalauréat). Seoul Foreign School, British School, or Taejon Christian International School would be the better choices.

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