What is the name of your child's school? (Please report on one school per survey.)
Seoul Foreign School
In what town or city is this school located?
How would you describe this school? (i.e. American, British, International, Local, etc.)
What grade levels are represented at this school?
Pre-School to Grade 12 (IB)
How do most children get to school everyday? (bus, train, walk, etc.)
The students usually go by bus, since the bus drivers generally know their ways around the city. The buses were of very high quality. (When I came to America, I had a rude welcome with their school buses...)
How would you describe the facilities at this school? What extra-curricular activities are available?
They're OK. Mainly they are sports, which literally EVERYONE is expected to be in in MS and HS, and religious studies activities.
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?
I came to SFS from an international school in the Philippines in 6th grade. I didn't really have any major issues, but I'm sure I would have if I came later. One thing is that I wasn't able to take a language, which I really wanted to do and is quite ironic because kids are encouraged to take Spanish/French/Korean.
How would you describe the social activities available for parents through this school? Are there parent-teacher organizations?
I'm not a parent, so I really have no idea.
What advice would you give to someone considering enrolling their child in this school?
This school is extremely expensive, only comparable to a top boarding school. As a result, only the richest kids and expats funded by the US government can go.
Also, there is a problem with bullying, especially in the MS (I was bullied quite a lot there). This problem is inherent with the rich Koreans vs. the foreign kids that come here. Students (boys and girls) generally formed cliques and excluded everybody that didn't have their interests. Not only do students bully but teachers as well. My 8th grade Humanities teacher always whined at us for being loud and was always trying to keep us in order. The way they deal with it is barely effective.
Another thing that kinda bothers me is how religious they are. Pretty much every teacher believes in God and everybody has to take a religious studies class. Non-Christians there are treated differently than the Christian majority. The advice teachers and staff generally give is to 'Trust in God' and 'Pray for your well being'. As of now I don't believe in God so I would have a hard time there. I don't think religious classes in themselves are bad, but when you have an entire school filled with religious teachers and students, that's a different story.
The high school grading system has much higher expectations than the American grading system. For example, an A- in an American school is a B in SFS and a B- is a C in SFS. To get an A there, you have to get above a 95%. I think this is because of how high many Chinese and Koreans' expectations are when it comes to grades.
The education quality is very good in comparison to American education. It offers the IB for Juniors and Seniors, IGCSE for Freshmen and Sophomores, IBMYP for Middle School, and IBPYP for Elementary school. I have my own problems with the IB program, but it does get the students to think critically and creatively, albeit pushing kids way past their limit. There are a few things wrong with it like the fact that everybody has to do IB classes and that their IB program doesn't measure up to the IBO's recommendations, but those are only minor grievances.
I really loved the campus life. Students are exposed to nature and are free to explore the area. There are a ton of buildings, but it compensates this with forests and a big turf soccer field. Really, Korea is a beautiful place.
One thing I can really praise is how good their performing and visual arts are. I have seen some of the best middle school and high school plays there. They raise up the best artists and performers. They have an amazingly good band and orchestra.
With sports, there is an overwhelming majority of boys in those (I liked soccer and table tennis). Girls usually participate in women's soccer, volleyball, and cheerleading. SFS spends a lot of their resources on a variety of sports and the only popular sports that aren't offered are American football and lacrosse.
Honestly, I believe that SFS is a mix of highs and lows. If you are academically and/or artistically talented, then you will really shine here. Furthermore, if you are not sure what your talents are, then you may have the chance of a lifetime.