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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 with a majority of Korean-American students

What grade levels are represented at this school?

Junior K through 12

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

Many ride one of the many buses which service Seoul and Bundang, with some car riders

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

While the core facility was built in 1984 and has characteristics of buildings of that time in Korea, the elementary school is considerably newer. There have been upgrades both in the halls and classrooms of the school and the technology in the school is adequate for the student population. The school has 2 gyms, a 5-lane olympic swimming pool, and a state-of-the-art artificial-turf soccer field. The school also has one cafeteria that services all students at SIS. While the facilities are not as fancy as some of the newer international schools, most negative comments about the facilities were made prior to 2006.

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?

There seems to be little in place in terms of transition material in the curriculum, but the teachers are all from the US, Canada or Oceania and are sensitive of new students needs. There is also much stated about the homogeneity of the student population. While the elementary school does seem to be more Korean than American, the high school has a very wide range of cultural afilliations, despite the Korean ethnicity of most of the students. There have been American students who fit in very well and Korean-America/British that have not. The curriculum is American, so anyone leaving SIS would not be behind in anyway upon returning to an American school.

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

Most of the parents activities seem to be in the elementary school or exist from long-term relationships that started in either elementary or middle school. Teacher-parents are regularly invited to birthday parties or parents' meetings and may feel alienated because of the Korean majority in those functions. I have not seen any instances of efforts by Korean parents to exclude any non-Korean parents, and if you are comfortable being a minority for a change (if you are white that is, being a minority is often a new and somewhat scary experience) there should be no shortage of friendly efforts to make you feel welcome.

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

Despite what many other postings may indicate, SIS is as academically rigorous and competitive as any of the other schools' American programs, boasting some of the strongest college acceptances of any international school. The elementary program is outstanding and I would not consider sending my child anywhere else. I have heard that middle school can be difficult for students to adjust, girls in particular, but that does not strike me as unusual of any middle school anywhere. The high school is very competitive and the teachers are accustomed to students who work very hard. Apathetic students do not seem to fare very well at SIS, nor do they get much sympathy. That being said, average students who work hard are able to succeed and they generally benefit form the high standards created by the competitive atmosphere.

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