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Message from Our Board

2018-2019 SFS Board Members Front Row, Left to Right : Sally Shim, Colm Flanagan, Penelope Kim, Steven Kim, Silvia Kim Back Row, Left to Right : Jennifer Woo, Peter Kim, Dean Park, Alain Nass, Mike Welch, Andrew Chung, Graham Dodds, Kurtis Jang, KyungEn Kim

spring 2019 -

International in Every Way

Seoul Foreign School

Contents 4 LETTER FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL - Colm Flanagan 5 LETTER FROM THE BOARD CHAIR - Penelope Kim 6 LETTER FROM THE EDITOR - Jane Forster 7 WHAT DOES INTERNATIONAL MEAN? 8 OUR INTERNATIONAL STORIES 10 SFS INTERNATIONAL FAMILIES 14 TEACHING THE WORLD Our Amazing Faculty 18 BRITISH SCHOOL WORLD DAY 19 INTERNATIONAL FAIR 20 DISCOVERY WEEK The BIG High School Adventure COVER STORY: Discovery Week 2018 Ethiopia. Photography by Kibeck Lee (Grade 9), Student in picture : Kai Yi (Grade 9)

24 GATEWAY TO THE WORLD Middle School Thailand Trip 26 A WEEK WITHOUT WALLS British School Japan trip 27 FOBISIA BRUNEI Responsibility and Leadership 28 THE BEAUTY OF LANGUAGES - Jan-Mark Seewald 30 THE IB DIPLOMA PROGRAMME Bilingual Options - Paul Rader 31 BILINGUAL STUDY Our Stories - High Schoolers 35 INTERNATIONAL THEATER Visits, Artists and Trips - John Striffler


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SPRING 2019 The digital version of The Banner is available on

International in Every Way

High School Discovery Week 2018 : Thailand Adventure Trip British School World Day

37 WORLD MUSIC SFS Takes to the International Stage 38 THEATER FOR AN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL CAST AND AUDIENCE - Edie Moon 40 SPORTS SFS Takes on the World! 42 ACADEMIC QUIZ SFS to Conquer the World! - Michael Harvey 44 WHERE IN THE WORLD? Where Next for Our Seniors? - Rebecca Mayo 45 UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE! A Senior Shares her Choice 46 THIRD CULTURE KIDS? HOW CAN WE HELP? -Jennifer Holcomb and Lisa Adams 48 A CULTURAL QUESTION - Alumni Olivia Han 49 ALUMNI REUNIONS - Jack Moon 51 A LETTER FROM ADVANCEMENT - Yoojin Um 52 OUR DONOR COMMUNITY

TEAM Editor: Jane Forster Sub-Editor: Sinead Flanagan Designer & Photographer: Juhie Suh Collaborators: Yoojin Um, Jack Moon Address Seoul Foreign School, 39 Yeonhui-ro 22-gil, Yeonhui-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea, 03723 The Marketing & Communications Office publishes print versions of The Banner three times a year: November, February and May. Unless otherwise noted, articles may be reprinted without permission - as long as they are not edited or revised - with appropriate credit given to “The Banner, the magazine for Seoul Foreign School.” *All efforts have been made to check details and consistency. Please contact us with any queries.






SFS Community T

The Flanagan Family

Colm at New Orleans Alumni Reunion

he moments captured in family photos are invariably joyous ones. Our second Banner of the year is filled with such photos. My own was taken last year in Amsterdam at the end of our summer vacation. Travelling through Europe has been an important part of our summers for over twenty years now and I have no doubt that all of our community have similar treasured memories. In 2010 our decision to leave our home country was a difficult one. We lived in a beautiful part of England with great friends and settled jobs. Yet we knew that making an international move was something that we wanted for ourselves and our family. We have never regretted that decision. Our move to Chile gave our boys, Fionntán and Cormac, a love of a new culture and a new language with which to connect to people across the Hispanic world (our boys’ Spanish is significantly better than my own!) However our move to Seoul and SFS has been even more profound. Being part of this truly international community has been an experience full of new

learning and opportunity. My eldest lad’s decision to take a gap year after he graduated was directly impacted by our travels. Choosing to spend three months on a service trip in Central America and a further three months learning Italian in Perugia would not have happened without his love of languages or the service mentality to which he has been exposed at Seoul Foreign School. Indeed both of our boys have a global perspective that they could never have gained if we had not made that move in 2010. My recent trip to Washington, during which I was able to attend an SFS alumni reunion, further emphasised the impact that SFS has had on students throughout the decades. Alums at the reunion repeatedly talked about their amazing experiences of Seoul and Korean culture but also of the bonds that they have made all over the world as a direct result of their time at Seoul Foreign School. Truly international! So as you flick through the pages of The Banner you will see pictures from across the globe amongst numerous family photos. Together they symbolize who we are – a community of diverse families, all open to learn from what the world has to offer and willing to make a positive contribution to that God - given world. There are many wonderful stories to be read and I urge you to take a little leisure time to enjoy each of them. Good luck and God bless, Colm Flanagan Head of School


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Message from

Our Board

British School World Day


appy New Year to you! Here in Seoul we recently celebrated the Lunar New Year holiday. Faculty and children in different sections of the school enjoyed learning about Korean traditions, games and food that are part of the holiday – and likely also part of your memories here. As we send out this first Banner issue of 2019 to you, it’s wonderful to think how our SFS Alumni and community has welcomed the New Year in so many different ways and in so many different places, yet still shares and appreciates this one place in common together. For the SFS Board, this is the time of the school year when our agenda is at its mid-point. Each of our three committees – Academic, Finance and Compliance – has been working steadily through an agenda geared toward moving forward to implement important aspects of our SFS Strategic Plan. In late November we held an informational evening for parents on SFS’ academic programs and results for 2017-18. Again in the spring we will host an evening update on our SFS budget and financial operations over the past year. We invite you to join us then. Whether you’re here in Korea or keep up with SFS through The Banner, the Seoul Foreign School Board extends to you and your family best wishes for 2019. We hope you will enjoy seeing in

this edition how SFS continues to shape students to be global citizens, incorporating our many backgrounds to enrich teaching and learning every day. As those given the gift of SFS’ international legacy, we pray for you and the school the chance to see it used to its highest purpose. “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us - [...] so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.” (Psalm 61:1&7 NIV)

Penelope with her husband and youngest son

Penelope Kim Board Chair

2018-2019 SFS Board Members Front Row, Left to Right : Sally Shim, Colm Flanagan, Penelope Kim, Steven Kim, Silvia Kim Back Row, Left to Right : Jennifer Woo, Peter Kim, Dean Park, Alain Nass, Mike Welch, Andrew Chung, Graham Dodds, Kurtis Jang, KyungEn Kim




Welcome to Our

International Issue! W

Jane with her daughter Lydia


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elcome to our newest Banner appreciating different languages. It’s travelling the which celebrates the (very world and maintaining a sense of wonder and large) theme of International In acceptance of all around us. Every Way! You can be international after living in 10 Firstly I’d like to thank you for countries (and some of us have) or just one - if the amazing positive feedback we you have the right frame of mind! received for our Visual Arts issue in November. People loved the At Seoul Foreign School we celebrate diversity opportunity to see our students’ and are delighted to say that our students are art and to hear the stories of the from 50 countries of the world and we want SFS community. I was stopped and them to all feel included by school. Our teachers congratulated so many times by are all internationally educated and qualified parents and faculty - and even the (many were students at international schools odd student! We were delighted themselves - some at Seoul Foreign School!) We to receive messages and mails from around the encourage our students to study the world and world including this one from Ien Chen in the to get out there and perform through music and States. sports. We also offer amazing international travel to many countries including Thailand, Japan, The “My name is Ien, I'm a 2009 graduate of SFS Phillippines, England, Austria and more…. and currently Creative Director at Jubilee. I just wanted to drop a quick line saying We tell our school story through the eyes and a deep thank you for including so much words of our students, parents, teachers and beautiful art in the latest Fall 2018 Banner! alumni. We also tell the story through some of the most incredible visuals I have ever seen I just came home to Atlanta where my family including our cover which was taken in Ethiopia is and was perusing the magazine in some by Kibeck Lee (Grade 9) and shows his friend of my leisure time and it reminded me much Kai Yi (Grade 9) looking out at the amazing of my own time at SFS when my passion vista. More than anything this says to me that and interest for the arts was ignited in a SFS students can conquer the world…. wonderful way. I've always felt art to be such a phenomenal medium to unite people of I’m British and have lived in Russia, Spain, all walks of life and to serve inspiration for Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Korea…. everyone and anyone to become their best How about you? What's your international story? selves.” Enjoy reading and let us know what you think! So to this issue. We hope you enjoy it and we hope it is even better than the last! It’s easy to Jane Forster use a phrase like, “International In Every Way” Director of Marketing and Communications but much harder to explain it! Being international is an attitude, a way of life, a way of thinking. It’s being open to ideas from everywhere and from everyone. It’s speaking, understanding and

What does International Mean? ES Students during 2018 United in Prayer


e asked our students to think about what the word “International” means. What does going to an international school mean? Do they feel like global citizens? Here is a

tiny section of the responses. They range from factual to emotional and mention language, location and spirit. Do you agree? What makes you international? Ask yourself and ask your friends and let us know.

Seoyeon Kim (MS Grade 7): For me, international means to communicate with different people from different countries. Alexander Derzic Paparelli (MS Grade 7): I believe that to be international means that you are born in a certain culture but as you live your life you experience many. Toby de Boer (MS Grade 7): When I think of the term international I think of different communities/people from other countries that are collaborating with each other. Chloe Park (ES Grade 5): There are all sorts of people around the world and international means they use another language from that country. So that makes us unique that we can speak another language than the language that you already know.

MS Students on Pajama Day in Spirit Week

Taylor Moon (ES Grade 5): International is language, our face and our behavior. We all aren’t from one place, but we all are friends. It makes no difference whatever their skin color or language. Marie Valeria Coarasa Bojorquez (BS Year 8): Because I live in another country that is not where I was born. Andy Park (BS Year 6): This is an international school and people from all over the world come here and so being part of the school makes me feel international. BS Students at an Author Visit session





International Stories

Thailand, taken by a student on Thailand Adventrue Trip during 2018 HS Discovery Week

Across these pages students explain in more detail their experiences at international schools. Are yours similar? Do you agree? Let us know!

Nick Choi BS Year 8


s an individual with full experience of the Korean school culture, my first impression of SFBS was an exciting sense of ‘change’. Staff weren’t completely painted with the Korean nationality and neither were the students. France, South Africa, Romania, North America, Australia - over 30 nationalities overall. Just some of the birthplaces of those who greeted me.

access to information I would never have been exposed to in a Korean school. Extracurricular opportunities have also evolved on an international scale: until now, I’ve been given the chance to participate in a global UN project alongside 600 other teams and participate in a national mathematical competition set across the whole of Asia.

But now that I’ve been fully immersed in this setting, a realization emerges that not only have my surroundings become international, so have I.

Looking forward, I feel like one more thing has transformed me internationally: the future itself. If it wasn’t for the freedom of curriculums SFBS presents to me (English National Curriculum leading into IB) I would never have the choice of educational grounds such as Cambridge, Harvard, Yonsei which I now do with my access to both the British and IB schooling. Internationality is an all-purpose key of potential that resonates within me.

Through the world-focused curriculum of SFBS, two whole languages could be merged into my identity. Not only have I been linguistically enlightened, but I feel as if I’ve absorbed those cultures as well. For example, our schoolsupported use of advanced technology provides

Yunjeong Choi BS Year 8


ell, I’m a Christian. A Christian that goes to a Korean church. Because of this I have several Korean friends, which means I can taste a little bit of their school life. Therefore I think I am qualitfied to compare school life in an international school to that in a Korean school. Three things that grabbed my attention about the differences between these schools are: Firstly, the very noticeable thing you see as soon as you enter this school is the variety of colours: skin, eye and hair colour. Here there is international colour that you don’t find in a local Korean school. Secondly, the range of cuisines that you can choose in our school cafeteria is spectacular. What a blessing! Thirdly, our school participates in a wide range of international activities such as ‘FOBISIA’, ‘AMIS’, the ‘UN Annual Global Project’, ‘TASSEL’, etc. I have previously joined four FOBISIA events around Asia and I felt amazed to greet so many friendly 8

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students from all over Asia in that one spot. Not only does the British School attend many international events, our High School also participates in the musical programme ‘AMIS’ to meet other great musicians around the world and to perform globally. In addition, my school offers fun activities ranging from Taekwondo to Disney Singing classes. This is what I think is one of the biggest differences from our school and Korean schools. I am a ‘SWEP’ goer who enjoys her life to the fullest. Overall, thanks to my school, I dare to say that I am very international. And I DO feel international every day. What about you? Do YOU feel international?

Charlotte Schlumberger MS Grade 8


lthough I have been exposed to global diversity previously throughout my life (I attended an American kindergarten, a French and a German school with students mainly from Europe and refugees from the Middle East), it has been a challenge to move to Korea. Attending a school where many of the students identify as Asian or Asian-American has been a new experience altogether. SFS has been of great help to make the transition easier for me. Despite following an international curriculum, the school has enabled me to experience Korean

culture. In the last 18 months at SFS, I have met and collaborated with many students. They have a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds, religious and political beliefs and nationalities, who certainly have different opinions and worldviews. SFS is preparing all of us to become global citizens and I believe that many of us will seek opportunities to work and study abroad later on.

Ellia Shin ES Grade 5


hat makes me feel international? Well, everyone here at SFS speaks a different language. They could be a different race, or they could have a different religion. I know SFS stands for Seoul Foreign School. That means people come from all over the world. I love SFS because everyone accepts everyone for who they are. Not what they look like. International students are unique. That’s what makes not only SFS, but its students unique as well.

Danielle Church MS Grade 8


efore I went to SFS, I was at an international school in Indonesia and attended there for several years. So by the time I got to SFS, I was already introduced to the idea of a school that raises cultural awareness. Here, I’ve learned to tolerate cultural quirks, even the ones I disagree with or don’t favor. International schools are known not only for their emphasis on cultural awareness, but also for the international opportunities. An overseas trip such as the 8th-grade field trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand has enriched my living experience

and provided a way of giving service to others. Though I’ve never been on an overseas trip for a sports event, I recognize programs such as APAC giving opportunities to play in other parts of the world. When I leave SFS, I’ll leave it with a greater appreciation of global diversity, taken on in a unique way and I'll depart with the memories of the international opportunities provided by the school that I took a chance with.

Gian Yang ES Grade 5


e feel international here in SFS because we all are from a different culture, country, etc. I feel welcomed here at SFS and as all care for each other pretty much, no one is alone. We accept each other as who we are. We don’t care about skin colour nor where we are from. We just know that they’re our friend. That is why we are all proud to be SFES students.




It's a Family Affair Every SFS family has their own international story. If we asked everybody we would get a thousand individual stories! Here we bring you a selection and we'd love to hear yours. SFS parent,

Julie Shin shares the story of a life between Korea and the US - and why SFS seemed the

natural place for her daughter, Anna Baik…


was born in Korea and went to school here. I actually used to see the SFS buses every morning as I made my way to school - never did I dream my child would one day attend school here! When I left school I travelled to New York and studied and lived there. It was a real baptism of fire - I remember that I lived on doughnuts for a while as ordering sandwiches in New York English seemed so complicated! It took a while for me to feel comfortable with English but eventually I did and it became more second nature. I graduated in Art History and then worked at the Whitney Museum. I felt part of an international city - but not necessarily part of the American

Korean community - though I did go to Korean restaurants and stores. It all changed when I met my husband, Peter, a Korean American. I soon became part of the Korean community in NY and after a few years we came back to Seoul. We toured the schools of Seoul looking for the right fit for our daughter Anna. I remember all the schools seemed very businesslike - but here there was a celebration for a teacher’s birthday and everyone seemed so happy - it was like a true community - international and diverse. Children really are allowed to be children. My wish is that we can share our good fortune with the local community here in Seoul especially with children who are less fortunate than our own…. Anna considers herself American and Korean. She speaks both languages with ease - depending on who she is with. We imagine we’ll return to the States when Anna goes to college as we are all American citizens now.

One of the more difficult parts of international school life is how often we say goodbye.

Saswati Nayak along with her husband Vijay Malik and daughter, Tanishtha Malik (BS Year 5) and son Avirup Malik (NIK) have spent five very happy years as part of the SFS community but are now moving on. Saswati shares her thoughts on her time at SFS...


e are originally from India but we’ve been expats for a long time! We’ve been in Seoul for five years after postings in Germany, Austria, The Netherlands, Abu Dhabi and Singapore. When we arrived in Korea we had no knowledge of what we wanted from a school. We were attracted by the legacy of SFS and soon fell in love with the warmth and sense of community. We loved that it actually was a truly diverse school - it didn’t just say it was! We have always felt valued and loved here - from teachers to security and bus drivers we immediately felt a part of school-life. SFS has been Tanishtha’s family for her whole school-life and she really feels as Korean as she does Indian! We are moving on to the UK where we will live in the North of England. We will miss SFS so much but will always remember it fondly. We know that we will keep in touch with many friends here and already have visits planned with British friends we have made through school here. 10

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Diplomatic Ireland


Seoul Foreign School has been the choice of Embassy families from around the world since its very early years. We are very lucky to have many Embassies represented here today including the Embassy of Ireland.

Siobhán Tracey shares the story

of a family serving their country abroad...


he Clare/Tracey family come from Ireland and moved to Seoul in August 2017. Their three children Cecily (10), Georgie (13) and Thea (15) attend the Elementary School, British School and High School respectively. As a diplomatic family - Julian is Ambassador of Ireland to Korea - they are used to travelling and starting over in new countries. Julian’s first posting was to Moscow in the 1990s. He has also been posted to New York, Bratislava, Brussels and Tel Aviv. This is their fifth posting together and their fourth with children. Cecily was born in Brussels where they lived from 2006-2011 and where their elder girls started their primary education in the local French commune school. “Sometimes, we feel the international lifestyle can be hard on children having to start afresh with new friends and schools every few years but our girls have gained a lot too, in terms of experiencing different cultures and having friends all over the world. From the extraordinary stillness of Yom Kippur in Israel to the tumult of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, we have had experiences whose memories we will always treasure. But also some sad times - we were living in New York on 11 September 2001 and like everyone there will never forget the suffering but also the unbreakable spirit and character of that greatest of cities. In the Irish diplomatic service, it is usual to go home for at least two years after each posting so the girls maintain strong relationships with family and friends in Ireland and have a very strong sense of being Irish.”

Siobhán initially worked as a lawyer but moved into the area of communications and now works for Concern Worldwide Korea, an international development NGO in Seoul. This is their first Asian posting and they are enjoying Korean life including the wonderful nature trails, food and culture. “From a family point of view, Korea is a wonderful place to live. It is very safe and our children live in a very secure environment. Our older daughters can take taxis or public transport without our worrying about them which is necessary for their independence in a city as big as Seoul. The one downside is the air quality which can be very poor on a seasonal basis. Having air purifiers and wearing masks on bad days help. We are particularly happy with SFS, with the wonderful facilities and as well as with the commitment of the management and teachers.”

Julian Clare, Georgie, Thea, Cecily and Siobhán Tracey SF S B A N N ER



Crossing Canada


Yhu Bin Lee and her daughter, Amy, have a story which will resonate with many of our families. Canadian or Korean? Korean or Canadian? Here’s how they feel about their choices, their lives here and Korea and SFS as home...


iterally days after graduation from U of Toronto, I hopped on an airplane to Korea - for good. I was very naïve to make such an important decision simply because I was amazed by the vast variety of food delivered to my doorstep in minutes after a phone call. Little did I know the hardships that I had to go through thanks to my imperfect Korean and lack of knowledge of the culture while being ethnically Korean. I cannot forget the days that I used to get appalling stares and scolds by complete strangers for speaking English on public transportation. They seemed unforgiving for being different while appearing to be Korean. After fifteen plus years, thanks to globalization fast weaving into the society, my daughter, Amy and I get only occasional stares when speaking English in the streets of Seoul. Amy being four years of age, I was curious of her unbiased opinion, as she does not seem to care one bit about the attention she receives. So I asked, “Are you Korean or Canadian?” She replied, “I am Korean because I don’t speak ‘Canadian’.” How cute! She thinks Canadian is different

Amy playing with Jaeggi at the ES Korean Day


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from English. Her answer gave me reassurance that it should not matter what language you speak, or what nationality and race you are. As one of Amy’s favorite amusement park ride’s name states: ‘It’s a small world after all’. SFS offers that kind of comfort to us. I cannot help but feel that SFS is a smaller version of Toronto, my hometown, where everyone understands and respects the uniqueness of each individual. SFS is a place where we can foster our internationalism by truly being ourselves as either Korean-Canadian or Canadian-Korean. We are very blessed to have found a place to call home in such a welcoming and supportive community as a student, parent and faculty.


Nations Picture from HS Discovery Week in Ethiopia

Signe Poulsen and her son, Yohannes are true citizens of the world. Signe has been in Korea on behalf of the United Nations for four years now and her son, Yohannes attends the Elementary School. Here, Signe explains their journey so far and what makes Seoul Foreign School a home away from home...


y the time we moved to Seoul just over three years ago, Yohannes had lived in five different countries spread over three continents. After spending his first ten months in Ethiopia, he celebrated his first, second and third birthdays in Denmark, Poland and Papua New Guinea respectively.

wherever it is, I imagine that SFS is a place he will always remember fondly. Perhaps, a little, the way I remember Pike School in Hong Kong, where I started school many years ago.

I work for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. I have been assigned postings in countries including the ones above, and before that Liberia, Timor-Leste and Kyrgyzstan. Even before that, I spent most of my childhood outside the country of my passport. Relocating to Seoul was an opportunity to experience yet another part of the world. The many opportunities that living in a modern, dynamic and cutting edge city like Seoul provides was different from many of my previous postings, where I was often based in countries that were less developed or emerging from conflict. But regardless of other circumstances, it is the people we have met in each place that have made each place unique and special.

Johannes Poulsen in school

This is Yohannes’ fourth year attending SFS and the school is one of the highlights of our time in Seoul. One thing I have particularly appreciated is that the teachers in the Elementary School are committed to bringing out the best of the international environment. Whether it has been through Korea Week, or units on a diverse group of “heroes”, or space, these topics have been taught in a way that allowed students to develop curiosity and a desire to learn more. Yohannes is lucky to have started school at SFS! We do not know where I will be posted next, but SF S B A N N ER



Teaching the World

A British Shcool class taking place ouside on campus

It takes a very special kind of teacher to leave their home country and forge a path on the international trail. Our teachers are all qualified in teaching the IB and the English National Curriculum (or both.) Many of them were trained in the UK, USA, Australia or Canada but at any one time we have teachers here from up to 30 different countries. Our teachers follow many different paths and everywhere they go they enhance their teaching skills and learn more about themselves and their subjects to share with our students here at SFS. When you ask any SFS parent what is the most important thing about our school - they all reply “the teachers!” We are proud to tell you that we search the world to find you the best. Some teachers have taught in many countries and some have only taught in Korea. Some teachers are on their first posting and some on their last. Every story is different and equally compelling. Here we can only share a few but why not ask your teachers about their experiences?

Nico and Carolyn Visahan arrived in Seoul five years ago and have really made their mark teaching in the High School and British School, coaching and involving themselves in after school activities and supervising trips. Here Nico explains what set them on this path...


espite being fresh on the international teaching scene when we arrived at SFS, we had actually lived in a total of eight countries between us before moving to Korea! Whilst we’re both British, I was born in the decidedly sunnier climes of Sri Lanka making me something of a TCK, whereas Carolyn had taught English mainly

around Europe, attempting to satisfy her polyglot aspirations. As newlyweds back in 2014, our goal was to enhance our passion for teaching with an irrepressible desire to travel the world and experience new cultures. The caliber and diversity of students that we now have the privilege of teaching, along with the healthy batch of passport stamps that we’ve managed to accrue, means that we have not looked back on our decision to teach abroad. FOBISIA competitions have provided a fascinating insight into just how many like-minded British teachers there are teaching Math, in Asia alone. Involvement in APAC competitions have further enhanced our appreciation of different customs and cultures. The opportunities are vast and exciting and whilst we absolutely love our jobs, the SFS community and all the benefits that living in Korea provides, there’s always a twinkle of curiosity when colleagues move on to new pastures around the globe. We have a little TCK of our own on the way and are so excited to see what the future holds.


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Katy and Andy Freeman arrived in Seoul last July and brought with them a wealth of experience and enthusiasm for the challenge ahead. Andy is the new Principal of Seoul Foreign British School while Katy has thrown herself into campus life. Not only is she a valued substitute teacher with experience in the Elementary School, Middle School and Sports but she can be found behind the scenes of plays and events as a dynamic member of the parent community. Here Katy describes their teaching life so far and how she feels as a ‘not so trailing spouse.’


s Andy and I enter our 20th year of international teaching I can only look back in awe at so many incredible and exhilarating experiences we have had, also knowing that it is not over yet as we look forward to our new adventure here in Seoul. Andy and I met while teaching in the Dominican Republic. We were both at the beginning of our careers and it was quite clear all those years ago that Andy had a great vision and enthusiasm for teaching and learning. Together we made a great team with our shared excitement for travel and teaching. From the DR we went on to teach in Kathmandu, Nigeria and Sakhalin, a Russian Island just above Japan… and got married! Our two daughters, Peri and Lily, were both born during our time in Nigeria but despite the girls having never lived in Wales they are both very proud to be Welsh (helped, of course, by their Dad being a proud Welshman!) Bringing up a family overseas is definitely not something to be taken lightly as it does present its challenges and unexpected turns along the way. As our international lifestyle evolved so did my role as a wife, mother, teacher and community member. From setting up the first overseas Scout troop in Russia to taking part in

mini triathlons, organising community events/ galas, running a swim club, organising horseriding activities for children with special needs, charity events, singing in choirs, learning to snowboard and attempting to learn Russian and Spanish, the list goes on with things that I never knew or even dreamed I could do! I have been labelled ‘The Trailing Spouse’ in previous locations but take it from me there is definitely no trailing involved! I have acquired so many new skills, learned so many things from so many amazing people and travelled to so many fabulous places. Living in Sakhalin for example, where temperatures plummeted to -30 some days and snow fell higher than your front door, I learned to communicate in my very poor Russian in markets where haggling on prices for fresh salmon and caviar is commonplace and even walked on a frozen sea. I feel so privileged to have been part of such unique and diverse cultures, just as I do right now living here in Seoul. We are so fortunate as a family to be surrounded by such a friendly, intriguing and engaging community. I look forward to the experiences life here at SFS will offer and to learning more about South Korean with Andy, Peri and Lily. SF S B A N N ER



Vincent Olivier is French and his wife, Claire is South African. They met in England and spent two years in a long distance relationship while Vincent worked in an international school in Frankfurt so that he could develop his skills in German. Three days after getting married, they landed in Seoul where they became the proud parents of two rescue cats. Vincent teaches French in the HS and Claire teaches KS3 in the BS. Here they describe life in Seoul and at SFS and why it works for them...


e are sometimes startled when we realise that we have roots on three continents, two hemispheres and across three different time zones! We love international teaching as it's exciting and dynamic. We can learn and teach and travel. International parents invest in their children's education which empowers good teachers to really make a difference. We also get to work with colleagues with such open minds and such a wealth of experience. SFS is not just a school - it's a family. SFS forces you to up your game. When you see the amazing theatre productions, music performances and art work, it is hard to believe that you are watching children and not professionals. Some students do more with service than many adults and it is a privilege to watch them as they develop global leadership skills. We will take away from SFS a real sense of the value of community and tradition. When people are loved and supported then everyone invests deeply into a common vision. We have no idea what will come next. We’ll have to wait and see what the future holds.

Melissa Keith, an Elementary School teacher, grew up in Canada, Singapore, Japan, USA and Hong Kong. She doesn’t think of home as being just one place. To teach children like the child she was has always been her dream. We are so happy to have her at SFS sharing her understanding with the lucky students she teaches...


became a teacher so that I could teach at international schools. I grew up moving back and forth between international schools. I have never forgotten how passionate my own teachers were. They were excited to be at work, they were eager to try new things and learn about new places and cultures inside and outside of school. International schools were places I always loved being in and so when I realized that I wanted to become a teacher I knew that I wanted to work in an international school. Selfishly, I wanted to work in an environment that was buzzing with activity and innovation. I know I will always be challenged to grow and become a better person and a better professional at a school like SFS. I also know that I can relate to my students and their families who may not know if they will be in a city for six months or six years. My hope is that my students feel the same joy I felt coming to school every day and that they feel safe in this unique international setting to challenge themselves to be the best people they can be.


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Julia and Steven Church teach in the Elementary School and Middle School respectively. Julia describes their journey which started in Canada and found them over a decade (and thousands of miles) later here at Seoul Foreign School...


resh graduates from teachers’ college, inspired by professors who had taught internationally, Steve and I found ourselves being picked up at an airport in Colombia by a stranger. We crammed ourselves and our luggage into his little red car. With open windows, no air conditioning and horns and Cumbian music blasting we sat crouched together in the back seat as we whipped and weaved our way to our new home up in the Andes Mountains. As this strange new world flashed by, I thought to myself, “What on earth are we doing?” The plan was two years teaching and adventure in Colombia and then back home to Canada to seek out and settle into more permanent teaching positions in our home town. Little did we know the exhilarating, challenging and eye-opening future that awaited us in Colombia, Indonesia, and now here in Korea!

amazing opportunities for our children and for us as professionals. Teaching internationally has opened our eyes to new perspectives, ideas and professional growth that we would never have had otherwise. Teaching at SFS holds us to a high standard that daily demands the very best from us and our children - Steve loves to get Middle School students excited about science and I love continually being surprised by the impressive capabilities of our 2 and 3-year-old students. It’s safe to say that we would not be the people we are today had we not driven down that busy, noisy, slightly terrifying road in Colombia. We are so grateful for the opportunities, life experiences and personal growth that international teaching has afforded us.

15 years, 4 schools, 3 countries and 2 kids later, we find ourselves here at SFS! We believe that international schools, especially IB schools, offer




World Day

BS World Day

Seoul Foreign British School celebrates its rich cultural diversity in many different and colourful ways but none so eye-catching as the annual Flag Day Parade. As well as the parade itself, the students take part in many other activities designed to learn about their own culture, their host culture and those of their fellow students. The PTA and Faculty organise the day together - it’s a lot of hard work but rewarding for all!


he day starts with a whole school parade of flags in the playground. All our students (and teachers) dress in national dress and carry their own flag around the playground to shouts and cheers from their friends. This year over 30 countries were represented including the UK, Korea, the US, Canada, France, Switzerland, The Philippines, India and Malaysia. The countries all aspire to be the most eye-catching and

enthusiastic! It doesn’t matter whether there are thirty or three in a group - each country takes its turn. After the parade the students work on a project for a different country in mixed-age groups. This gives them a chance to learn and teach different skills and be creative as well as make new friends. This year the project was to create a newsreel on a specific country. These activities take all day and then each group presents their findings to the rest of school to share their learning. The PTA organizes an international lunch which is extremely popular with students and faculty. The feast includes delicacies such as samosas from India, blinis from Russia, lots of Korean treats and a great selection of desserts from around the world Students have a wonderful time learning about each other’s lives. Here’s to Flag Day 2019!


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International Fair One of the highlights of the year is the International Fair. This event takes place in the Spring and brings together our community to celebrate our individual countries.


n 2018 the centrepiece was a flag parade with Colm Flanagan introducing each country with some little known facts… “Did you know in France it’s illegal to name a pig Napoleon!” Paula Gardner organized SFS’s Got Talent where lots of our budding performers took to the stage and entertained the crowds with song and dance and more!

you so let us know your special skills and talents and make this a wonderful day for all our children.” Get in touch with the PTA and be part of this great day... Date: Sat May 4 Mail to:

Many food vendors took stalls around our soccer field and food trucks set up on the track to add to the highly popular Faculty BBQ manned by the Principals of all the schools. Outside partners helped make the day very special. McNulty’s Coffee, Chakraa, Crave and French Gourmet were just some of the caterers. Sante Fe provided bouncy castles ensuring endless hours of fun for the little ones. Our faculty took on parents at various different sports including tennis and basketball. It’s incredible just how competitive a Saturday afternoon friendly can turn out to be! We had an amazing turnout of students, families, alumni and our wider community. This event really holds a special place in all our hearts. We are now planning for 2019 and invite parents of all nationalities to come and join us and be part of the day. Represent your country and organise a stall. Share your favourite foods, wear costumes and play the games of your country. Let’s come together as a school and community. Joelle Lewis, ES and BS parent and Chair of the BSPTA says, “We welcome everyone’s involvement. We can’t make it happen without SF S B AN N ER



Discovery Week We are international and being at SFS helps us see the world! Discovery Week has been one of the major milestones of life at Seoul Foreign School for decades now. But what makes it so very special? How does it fit into the curriculum? Where do our students go and why? Brian Hall and Heather Adkins explain how Discovery Week works and we hear from students and faculty that “life-changing” isn’t just a phrase - even for the most cynical! The Tiger Leaping Gorge, China. Photo by a student during HS Discovery Week.

Why Discovery Week? Brian Hall, HS Teacher


fter five years coordinating Discovery Week at SFS, I am convinced that it is the most anticipated, memorable, meaningful and community-building event in the High School. I suspect most students and teachers would agree as well. Not long after a new school year begins, our students are buzzing about "DW" as it's known and the anticipation hits a fever pitch just after the final bell on the day we reveal course rosters; you have to see it to believe it and it's one of the highlights for me. Whether our students stay in Korea (about 40% do each year) or go overseas, the teachers leading these courses try hard to organize an experience that will expose them to new ideas, cultures,

food, activities, challenges, perspectives, people and experiences. Another highlight for me is the first day back to school. Many of our students are exhausted from travel and some are noticeably sad because it came to an end and they won't experience the same thing again (although some do try the next year!) But the overwhelming feeling that pervades the school on that day is one of community: new friendships formed across the grade levels, shared experiences that won't be forgotten and new discoveries about themselves, their friends, this amazing city and country and our world. DW: It's a week to remember.

New ideas to enhance Learning Experience Heather Adkins, HS Teacher


iscovery Week is such a rich experience. Many schools have trips that resemble our Discovery Week but what makes ours so unique is the fact that they are so staff and studentdriven. Every year there are new offerings for exciting new adventures based on the interests of the staff or students who are running them. This makes the experiences unique, engaging and often life-changing. In 2018-19, we worked to add another layer of richness to our DW program. A pilot program was launched to help students engage on an academic level with their trips. We asked DW leaders to implement a driving inquiry question


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that would help the students focus their learning around a central concept. Students did research before going on their trips, had discussions and reflected on the process before, during and after. The reports from the pilot program have been positive and we hope to make it a more widely used idea for next year’s DW trips. We are making the most of these exciting opportunities to teach students about other people, cultures and communities. The pilot program’s focus is to provide a way for each student to fully engage and to walk away with a well-rounded experience that sticks with them beyond SFS.

Discovery Week is much talked about and anticipated. Many students (and parents) have little idea what to expect. They may even approach the whole thing with cynicism or fear but Discovery Week wins most of us over in the end. Sarah

Pyo and Grace Park - Seniors and joint Editors-in-Chief of The Spirit - share

their thoughts with us.

Grace Park HS Grade 12


iscovery Week! I remember the freshman me scoffing at the name, casting doubt on the prospect that I could make a meaningful “discovery” on a week-long trip with a group of people I barely knew. Now I am glad to say that the past four years have proved me wrong. I played it relatively safe and stayed local for three years. But that does not mean that my DW courses weren’t as action-packed and thrilling as the overseas courses. From tossing abnormally large cabbages for three hours or appeasing Mr Hahn’s frustration with my inability to chop carrots, I’ve had my fair share of adventure. It would be an exaggeration to say DW changed my life but it did teach me the value of friendship and risk-taking.

Sarah Pyo HS Grade 12


vividly remember the surprise I felt when I learned about the existence of Discovery Week. I was astonished at the sheer amount of freedom and responsibility - a true graduation from the restraints of Middle School! I do also remember the weirdness of the prospect of seeing teachers outside their natural habitats (ie the classroom!) Despite my doubts my first Discovery Week experience made me realise why everyone raved about it so much. I developed strong friendships with everyone on that first trip - even previously intimidating Seniors. Since then I have awaited DW with bated breath!

Grace left, Sarah right

The weeks are a welcome respite from the hectic academic life at SFS. I always felt I was on an alternate plane of reality during the seven days where the stress of homework and exams ceased to exist. I’m sad to say goodbye to DW. I’ll miss the excitement of finding out where I’m going; discussing airplane seats with friends and trying unfamiliar foods in unfamiliar places. I’m sure that nowhere else will I feel the same way again.

Jeffrey Holcomb HS Principal explains why he supports this program


n the High School there is no other event as far-reaching and powerful as Discovery Week. Several highlight events throughout each year are linked to DW - course selection, the reveal and the actual trips... all of which lead to a lasting impact on both individuals and groups. DW is truly life-changing. As students consider various options they broaden their horizons and shift their focus away from themselves to our wider world. As

they get to know their DW team and build friendships across all grades of the High School, their world begins to change. And this is just the prelude. Feedback is clear - DW exposes students to other ways of life, other histories, other perspectives. It broadens the student experience in a way the classroom never can and promotes reflection on the opportunities in the world. In short: our students will never be the same.




Our HS Administrative Assistant,

Soora Koh took part in a service trip to Mongolia. The trip focuses

on helping The Verbist Center - a child care center and orphanage. Part of the trip includes shopping for supplies for the children - a truly life-changing act of support. Here Soora talks about the profound impact the week had on her and the students she accompanied...


henever someone asks how my Discovery Week was, I always respond with the same statement: it was a life-changing experience. The Mongolia Service Trip wasn’t what I expected it to be - the city, people, culture, everything was different from what I imagined. I grew up in Panama and Brazil, studied at international schools and have always considered myself as a global person. I always enjoyed trying things I have never done before and Mongolia was a place that I have never been to - and never thought of visiting before Discovery Week. Through this one week visit to a country that I have never considered as a vacation getaway

place, I experienced so many things. I learned the social context that affects the city and the people we met during our Discovery Week. I built real and personal relationships with our Mongolian friends and our SFS students and returned with a heart that will linger in that country for a long time. Discovery Week is where we, as the SFS community, are given the option to choose to go to a place we have never been to and to try something that we will never think of trying. I guess that the best part about Discovery Week is getting to know things that you have never thought of. It changes your perspective, broadens your global experience but ultimately, gives you a life-changing experience.

Johanna Kleinert visited Ethiopia, one of our most far flung destinations...


e all hold stereotypes for everything, no matter how hard we try not to, including me. I had my own beliefs about Ethiopia but they were all proven wrong once I stepped onto the beautiful land where I’d be spending the next 7 days for Discovery Week. While I tried my best to abstain from having assumptions about Ethiopia, I couldn’t help but be influenced by what I had heard and seen from the media and people around me. The idea that Ethiopia was a poor country in terms of money, people and the quality of land was ingrained in my mind. However, I soon realized that I couldn’t be more wrong. When I first landed in the continent of Africa, I couldn’t stop gaping. The view was uh-mayzing. Desert-like mountainous lands filled with trees, cattle, sheds and villagers working. I knew immediately that my fixed mindset about Ethiopia was broken. Ethiopia - poor? No way. Sure, maybe it is a poor country because it is a developing country but in all other ways Ethiopia is one of the richest countries I have ever stepped foot on. The land, the people, the 22

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food, the culture - I fell in love with everything. The people: welcoming and friendly friendships were made. The food: exotic but tasty new favorites were made. The culture: such an amazing, memorable experience to be a part of. Obviously, there was a lot more to our trip but if I wrote about everything, I’d be taking up pages and pages, so I’ll just say this: Africa was amazing. Sure, people who aren’t exactly adventurous will have trouble adjusting to the environment but I definitely think that going to Africa is something everyone in the world should experience at least once in their life. Once you do, let me know how it went! I guarantee you, “regret” won’t even be included in your dictionary by the end of the trip.

Grade 11 student, Geoffrey

Meric took part in a very unique trip to Laos. Students had a taste of

a life entirely different to their own as they lived without phones, beds and toilets! They epitomised the service aim of the trip and of the school as a whole as they contributed to building a better life for children less fortunate than themselves. Read on for his amazing account...


his year’s Discovery Week in Laos, “Ecodormitory Laos”, was focused around service and the discovery of local Laotian culture. We started off by flying from Seoul to Luang Prabang, transferring through Vientiane airport. After meeting our guides and dropping our luggage off at the guest house in which we were sleeping, we went to visit the renowned night market of Luang Prabang.

to their families for the weekend. During the construction process, we completed a variety of tasks such as: the collection of dirt which we then converted to mud by adding cut straw and sand, the moulding and carving of mud bricks, as well as the construction of a brick wall using mud as mortar and wet sand as plaster. While the process was arduous and slow, it was satisfying and enriching.

Next morning, we hiked up a nearby mountain to visit a cave and a temple and then took a boat down a nearby river to go to the village in which we stayed for the following three days. This was a traditional Lao village and we all slept with homestays, who were very kind to us despite not speaking a word of English. While at the village, we played with the local children, ate with our hosts (who provided us with delicious food) and experienced the delight of squatty potties and cold bucket showers.

After spending three days in the village, we hiked through the jungle to a nearby waterfall, where we swam and finally went back to Luang Prabang for one night before leaving Laos.

Every morning and afternoon, we went to a nearby local school, where we worked on the construction of a dormitory for the schoolchildren. Many children have to walk over two hours a day to go to school, meaning many of them drop out of school early and the intent behind the construction of this dormitory was to allow these children to sleep at school during the week and go back home

Overall the experience was eye-opening and I believe that everyone who went on the trip learned immensely about the culture and lifestyle of Laotian people and had an eye-opening experience when living in the village with no internet, proper beds or toilets. The guides were very knowledgeable and kind and overall I greatly enjoyed the experience and would recommend it to anyone willing to do service while learning about foreign cultures.

Amalia(center) in London

Grade 9 student, Amalia

Carney went to London with Edie

Moon on one of our most popular trips - a celebration of London’s West End and rich theatrical history


y trip to London in 2018 was the first trip I took for Discovery Week. Let me just say, I started off with a bang.

The trip was a great way to start off freshman year. I was able to meet and interact with people outside my year group and even met new people within my grade. We were able to watch amazing plays and musicals every day and we gained multiple views of the culture of theatre and London in general. The supervisors and student leaders planned a truly magical experience for us and I enjoyed every part of it. I can’t wait to go on another adventure next year! SF S B AN N ER



A Gateway to the


It’s not just our High Schoolers who get all the great trips! Our students begin to travel internationally for sports or arts as early as Grade 4 or Year 5. Both the Middle School and the British School send all their students on incredible overseas trips. Our Middle Schoolers look forward to the Grade 8 Thailand trip throughout their school life. Here Justin Smith, Middle School Principal, explains why this trip is so unique and then Middle School students share their personal experiences...

Justin Smith MS Principal


Matt Gibault

n the Middle School we feel that exploring who we are and what we are passionate about are essential components of our students’ journey through adolescence. Offering students the opportunity to experience cross cultural activities, environmental sustainability, community service and leadership as an entire class creates a memorable bonding experience that exposes them to different ideas and points of view.

inspires them to get out of their comfort zone while they have the support of their teachers, classmates and friends.

Through this experience students confirm and challenge who they are and what they believe to be true about the world around them. It also

The Grade 8 trip to Chiang Mai authentically fosters the development of these attributes in our students.

These experiences help to provide our students with educational opportunities that align with the school’s mission statement and the philosophy of the IB Middle Years Program - promoting international mindedness, responsible global citizenship and service.

MS Teacher, coordinated the adventure. He was responsible for making sure it all went

to plan! He adds...


ur “service-as-action” trip this year was a six day adventure in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We stayed at Prem Tinsulanonda International School and participated in their visiting schools program which has been operating for almost twenty years. Every year they welcome around 3,000 students from over fifty schools worldwide and this year our 8th Graders were part of that number! We chose Prem for its focus on cross-cultural activities, environmental sustainability, community service and leadership. Providing our students with these experiences helped us align the trip with our school’s mission statement and the philosophy of the IB Middle Years Program.


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It was an action-packed week that included: high-ropes courses, kayaking, white water rafting, Thai kickboxing, cooking classes, a visit to a local hill tribe, a trip to an elephant rescue sanctuary, a service project where students helped build a new classroom for a school and so much more. Students were often challenged to operate at the edge of their comfort zones and this led to personal growth, new friendships and lifelong memories. The people in Chiang Mai made us feel so welcome and we were thankful for their willingness to share their beautiful country with us.

Student Diaries Ro Min Oh

MS Grade 8


oing to Chiang Mai was probably one of the best experiences I’ve had when traveling. Unlike going on a family trip to another country and doing what we’d like to do, I was able to participate in activities that I wouldn’t have normally chosen, like learning the Thai language and culture, meeting elephants, helping children in need and more. I have so many great memories from the week. One of my favorite activities was probably meeting the elephants. I love animals and learning about the animal that represents Thailand was very interesting. We even got to feed them and help them take a bath, which was very messy at first but made me learn how to step out of my comfort zone. There are many more activities that I could talk about but I’d like next year’s students to experience them all themselves :)

Teri Shim

MS Grade 8


he Chiang Mai trip was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We flew above trees, swam with mudslinging elephants, roamed shops in the open air after dark, braved rapids and 8th Graders jumping off rafts. Most importantly, we immersed ourselves in Thai culture. The people we met were welcoming and proud to share their culture with us and will be fondly remembered. We helped set the foundation for a schoolhouse for our service project. Not only did we build a schoolhouse, but we also built a community of 8th graders proud to represent SFS through service.

Iris Shim

MS Grade 8


rom cleaning elephants to building mud bricks, Chiang Mai was an astonishing experience for all 8th Graders. For a whole week, the 8th grade students had the opportunity to become global citizens. A global citizen is someone who is aware of the world around them and who participates in activities to make global changes. Through this trip, I learned to be more independent by cooperating with new friends and taking over responsibilities. Getting away from school curriculums and grades helped us refresh and reflect on what we should be aware of in the world. Overall, this trip was an opportunity for all of us to take a glimpse at some of the issues around the world.




A Week Without Walls

Picture from BS Year 9 trip to Japan

The British School also have some pretty cool trips to look forward to. Here students and teachers tell us about Japan and Brunei - highlights of the KS3 Calendar.

Vasile Lozneanu

BS Teacher


Yuna Han

very year, our Year 9 students in Key Stage 3 get to experience a Week Without Walls. The main objective of this week is to enrich the cognitive and affective aspects of the British School curriculum by providing students with experiential opportunities outside the traditional learning environment.

foster a natural curiosity and adventurous spirit appropriate for each student.

For the last few years we have visited Japan and valued our experience and learning journey through the history of Hiroshima. We visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Hall and meet Hiroshima survivors, take a walk on the island of Miyajima and enjoy some leisure time in Osaka. Our goal is always to provide opportunities that

Year 9 students study aspects of Japan’s history, geography and architecture prior to the trip. Consequently we see it as a great opportunity for our students to develop their understanding of its culture, history and geography while providing authentic learning opportunities and personal experiences that will last a lifetime.

We strive to help students develop responsibility for looking after themselves and supporting others. We give them the courage to leave Korea with friends and to try new experiences.

HS Grade 9


he trip to Japan was a great opportunity to socialize and make stronger bonds with classmates and teachers - it’s essentially a little snippet of what Discovery Week is like in High School. One of the most fascinating things is that it made me realize that there is so much more to a person than the things that they do in school. The memories made over the trip will certainly be remembered for years to come!


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- Saving the World Picture from BS Year 9 trip to Brunei

As a school we choose to take students abroad for many reasons. There is always a learning objective and a link to studies and often these objectives may be small or specific. Sometimes they are truly global. Ryan Hammerberg takes a group of British School students annually to meet with peers and discuss how we can make the world a better and more sustainable place.

Ryan Hammerberg

Yuki Sugita and Minjoon Kim

BS Teacher

BS Year 9



n May 9th, 2018, a total of 88 students from around the southeast Asian region met in Brunei to talk and experience initiatives aimed at a sustainable future. Students learned how they can become leaders in making better use of resources and actively engaging with their local community to improve sustainable development. They participated in a beach clean-up at Meragang Beach and toured the Marine Biodiversity Centre. They camped overnight at the Sumbiling Eco Village, which combines the values of social entrepreneurship, environmental sustainability and pride in its indigenous culture. They discovered many types of edible jungle herbs and plants, using sap from the gum tree to trap birds and animals and sampled delicious local cuisine. A real highlight of the visit was witnessing dawn break over the virgin rainforest after an exciting moonlit trek into its depths. The conference wrapped up with tree and seed planting and the students sharing their new and pre-existing knowledge in a final workshop. Delegates were a great source of hope for the future; their eco-intelligence and passion for environmental improvement provide a model approach for us all.

t was a great experience to be part of the 2018 FOBISIA Environmental Conference in Brunei. We really enjoyed the fact that we were given the opportunity to not only learn how to make a difference but actually get stuck in and make a difference! We contributed in making the local community more eco-friendly and learned about how to prevent the environment from getting to the point that the damage is irreversible. We also did some physical activities to experience the local climate, environment and habitats. A major highlight was getting the opportunity to camp in the rainforest and hiking through a torrential downpour. During the dinners we were able to chat with students from other schools. We went to a local beach that had been severely polluted. At first we were stunned by how contaminated it was! We were put in charge of cleaning the beach in 60 minute rotations. When finished it was clear we had made a difference! Overall, it was astonishing that we were able to put what we were learning into practice so quickly. We would love to participate again and strongly encourage others to engage in events such as the 2018 FOBISIA Environmental Conference.




The Beauty of

HS Language Class


At Seoul Foreign School we value language study at all levels. From the earliest years to graduation our students study in English but are given the opportunity to preserve their own language and learn new ones. Here Jan-Mark Seewald, Assistant Head of School - Academics, explains the importance of languages in an international school.

Jan-Mark Seewald Assistant Head of School - Academics


nternational in every way - this makes me feel at home. When someone asks me: “Where are you from?” I can’t really answer without a story attached. So here is my story. I was born in Pakistan to German missionaries. My preschool years were spent speaking German at home and Urdu (the local language) with my neighborhood friends. Then I learned English when I started my schooling at an international school. During this time my parents were adamant that I maintain my German at home and at school.

The Seewald Family

There were times in school when I hated those German lessons! Our teacher made us work hard and we learned everything from grammar, to literature, to German history and politics. I am now so thankful for that German teacher and my parents. They gifted me the privileges of multilingualism and an international outlook. After I graduated I “returned” to a “homeland” I didn’t really know, completed my National Service and studied engineering. I then moved to Australia and worked as an engineer before I became a teacher. My teaching career started in Jakarta, Indonesia, then Singapore then Hamburg, Germany. Each of these places has given me wonderful memories, meaningful experiences, lasting friendships and enriched my life immensely. I try to bring this outlook to my current role at SFS as Assistant Head of School - Academics. In this role, I am responsible, together with the sectional Principals and Head of School, to ensure that we have strong academic programs and quality teaching and learning happening across the entire school. Part of this is to ensure our students leave SFS with the ability to communicate in multiple languages and develop an international outlook. Therefore we offer each student the opportunity to learn at least one additional language besides English (see “Languages at SFS”.) Not only does multilingualism help us communicate in an increasingly connected world,


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it also leads to increased cognitive abilities in students. The benefits even extend into old age! Language learning at all levels is important. Therefore I am very happy that SFS appointed Jenny Tang as World Languages Coordinator in August 2018. We support and help develop language learning in any way we can. Besides the languages we offer within the curriculum, we are happy to work with parents to offer other languages, particularly to help maintain the mother tongues of our students. Besides English and Korean, we currently have initiatives to support Chinese, German and French speaking students in our school. We welcome ideas for more. This all adds to the diversity and vibrancy of SFS.

Languages at SFS within the IB


he International Baccalaureate is committed to supporting multilingualism as a fundamental part of increasing intercultural understanding and international-mindedness, and is equally committed to extending access to an IB education for students from a variety of cultural and linguistic backgrounds.” ( All students have the chance to learn at least two languages throughout all three programmes (PYP, MYP, and DP). We offer the option of learning Korean or Chinese as an additional language in the PYP, with Spanish and French in the MYP and DP. DP students can also pursue their mother tongue

Languages at SFS within the English National Curriculum


earning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures.” This is the opening sentence of an ENC document on foreign language learning (UK Department of Education, 2013).

In our British School in Key Stages 1&2, all students learn French or Chinese as an additional language and in Key Stage 3 the options of Spanish and Korean are added.

The Joy of Learning and Teaching Languages Aliz and Francisco Baena are from Hungary and Spain. They both teach Spanish at SFS. Francisco is bilingual, speaking Spanish and English. Alice is trilingual, speaking Hungarian, Spanish and English. In fact, she speaks Spanish so well, no one would know she is not from Spain. Here is what they have to say about learning and teaching languages internationally and being multilingual.


eaching and living abroad has meant many positive things for us. First getting to know each other and then developing our international mindset. We have learned to see things in a different way, learning new languages and cultures and finally being convinced that our daughters will grow up in an international world - an ideal situation so that they are prepared for the challenges of the globalized world in which we live. Being able to offer this knowledge in our classes is a plus for our students, while we continue to learn from them through the different ways they interpret life. Learning a foreign language does not only bring you closer to a way of speaking, but also brings you closer to a new culture and a new way of seeing things. In our experience, knowing a new language and a new culture has led us to know our own cultures much better because we have been able to compare and contrast the positive and negative things of both cultures, the new and our own.

The Baena Family




HS Self-study IB Bilingual Class

IB Bilingual Diploma

The IB Bilingual Diploma is an option chosen by many of our students once they get to Grade 11. Paul Rader explains why our students choose to immerse themselves in this exacting program and what they gain from it.

Paul Rader

HS Teacher


he IB programme’s (PYP, MYP, DP) commitment to students’ language development, both in their mother tongue/s, as well as in their second or third languages, is clear throughout. It is one of the key aspects of the curricular framework that sets it apart and makes it truly “international.” With the move to the IB continuum K-12, SFS has shown its own commitment to the language development of our students as we prepare them to be successful in a future where internationalism will be a key to success. So what does language study look like in the Diploma program (11th and 12th Grade)? All SFS 11th and 12th grade students must take English Language A (first language/ native speaker proficiency) in order to meet the school’s graduation requirements, as well as the certificate and diploma requirements. However, in order to earn the full IB Diploma students must also successfully complete coursework in a second language. This requirement can be met through a Language B course (second language with previous exposure) or in the Ab Initio course (second language with no previous exposure). Another option, which we are really excited to see students taking up is to study TWO Language A courses in order to earn the prestigious Bilingual IB Diploma. Our students with Korean heritage and native proficiency can study Korean Language A 30

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here at SFS in their regular day schedule. For our students that have native proficiency in another language other than Korean (such as Spanish, French, Chinese, Swedish, Hebrew, Urdu, Danish, Bahasa, or pretty much any other language you can think of!) they can choose to do the School Supported Self Taught (SSST) Language A with a tutor. The SSST course is organized in the High School by the Head of English Department because the course is modeled on the Language A course structure. Parents and students find a tutor who can guide their student through the two year course culminating in written exams during the student’s diploma exam sessions. I have personally enjoyed being a part of this program and helping students, parents and tutors access the bilingual diploma in their mother tongue languages. What an amazing opportunity for our students to retain their cultural and linguistic heritage while learning skills that will be with them for life!

Korea on the

World Stage For a decade now we have offered our DP students the option of studying for the Korean/ English Bilingual Diploma. Here a student explains how he finds this affects his workload and his life. He shares his hopes and vision of where this will lead him in the future.

Willy Lee

HS Grade 12, IBDP in English/Korean


espite having lived in Korea for a significant portion of my life, I had always lamented the fact that Korean was a language that I would always struggle with. I spoke in Korean within my household but often I would find myself resorting to English substitute phrases/words due to my lack of experience with the Korean language. Therefore when deciding which foreign language I wanted to take for my IB diploma, I chose SL Korean Language and Literature as I viewed it as an experience in which I could familiarize myself with my own mother tongue. Admittedly, SL Korean Language and Literature has not been an easy journey for me! Being taught a course that is entirely in a language that I was not familiar with was a humbling experience but it has also been an experience that has allowed

me to develop a unique appreciation for the Korean language. The immense course load of a bilingual diploma has been something that I have struggled to deal with at times but I believe that my hard work has paid off as the course has allowed me to speak, write and read Korean to a level of fluency I had never imagined. I hold a Korean passport and citizenship so it is most likely that I will probably come back to Korea in the near future, whether it be due to my occupation or mandatory military service. Therefore, being fluent with Korean as well as English has been an important priority of mine ever since I began High School and this objective has been fulfilled through the IB bilingual diploma program.




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Tucked away in a classroom in the High School, a very special group of students meet weekly. These are the students who have chosen to opt for a bilingual diploma in English and their mother tongue. These students are incredibly committed as they rely on self study, tutors and home encouragement to really succeed. They share the reasons behind their decisions and the impact the extra effort will have as they leave Seoul Foreign School and enter the world of further study and employment.

HS Grade 11, IBDP in English/Hebrew


chose to take the SSST course because I believe that this is a good opportunity to connect with my roots. It allows me to multitask and be able to deal with two languages at a time - English and Hebrew. The course is a good place to sharpen your skills in your mother tongue and allows you to be independent in your choices. All this encouraged me in my choice to work my way through. Even though I am not at home and I am living abroad I need to maintain the language so that I’ll be able to remember where I came from. I am obviously very attached to my family and friends and as this is the main language that we communicate in, it is very important for me to keep it. I basically do and will use Hebrew for everything. I use it to communicate with my family at home and hometown friends. Moreover, I read the news in Hebrew, TV is all

Students from an IB Bilingual Class


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in Hebrew and so on. Hebrew is the language that I identify with. I feel very comfortable using it and when I have the ability to use it I do so straight away. Hebrew will benefit me in the future as immediately after I graduate I’ll be returning home to Israel and I need to be fully back to the level that I had before I left home. Moreover, in the education aspect of it, it will allow me to work around and understand the literature part of the language more. It is worth making this big commitment because this is an enormous chance to take an IBDP course in a subject that you feel most comfortable in and one that can only increase your grades and give you time to use the language in many variations through reading.



Heritage Alice Lee

HS Grade 12, IBDP in English/Mandarin - chose the SSST course as it provides an individual

study schedule and allows her to develop literary techniques that she can use across all languages.


can manage my own study process and learning materials as long as it fits into the IB syllabus. The course helps me to maintain my mother tongue and further develop the literary techniques in it. I think this is a worthy course to take since learning in different languages gives a unique experience. For example, my conception of an identical literal work was changed dramatically as I learn it in two languages due to the different culture of the language used.

we start, everything goes smoothly just like the other subjects we take at school. I’m not sure whether the knowledge I receive from this course will benefit me in the future. Not everything we learn at this stage will be useful in the future. However, the learning experience of personal engagement and putting in effort will definitely be helpful.

The most difficult part of taking the SSST course is to find your own tutor and ensure that you keep up to date with the schedule. It is similar to the English Literature class. Once

Tina Kang

HS Grade 12, IBDP in English/Mandarin - has very individual reasons to preserve her emo-

tional attachment to her mother tongue


decided to take this course because I was really interested in Chinese and Japanese literature in Middle School and maintaining my mother tongue is really important to me since it’s one of the languages that I use to communicate with my family. Literature, especially Japanese literature, is rather important to me because it builds a rather special connection between me and my Dad. One of my favourite memories with my dad is talking about Haruki Murakami’s, ‘Kafka on the Shore’ and trying to make sense of it. So I chose this course not only because it can help me

maintain my mother tongue but to me, it also contains some emotional value. I don’t think of taking this course as making a big extra commitment because we are required to take a language course in IB and I’d rather learn a language that I already know and learn it in depth than learn a new language for only two years. I use my mother tongue language at home and also when teaching my friends at school who take Mandarin as their language course!




European Union

Marta Nieto-Kuruc

HS Grade 12, IBDP in English/Spanish


am taking the school supported self-taught (SSST) course here at SFS to challenge and maintain my Spanish speaking skills. Seeing as I don’t spend the majority of my time with my family and I live in a country where a foreign language is spoken, the self-taught classes are the only time I can properly engage academically in the language. Having come from Spain where I had the option of taking the language at a native level, I was worried I would lose what practice and knowledge I had gained from the previous years, so I opted for SSST which turned out to follow the same structure and degree of difficulty. The commitment that this course requires is definitely worth it, as having a private tutor

Johannes Christensen

’ve never learned Spanish or Korean so my interest was sparked when I was offered the chance to do a SSST course in my own mother tongue, Danish. This course has benefited me in several different scenarios and helped me to maintain my mother tongue. It’s very important for me to keep my level of Danish to a certain standard as I’ll be using it in the future and in college. Moreover, I also speak Danish at home which contributes a lot as well to this class. This course has helped me to gain permission to enter my college as well as keeping up with the other Danish students who currently live in Denmark.

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By dedicating time to SSST these last two years, I feel I haven’t wasted an opportunity to continue learning and practising a language which I absolutely want to keep speaking fluently. As a student who was used to being constantly surrounded by Spanish-speaking people, my classes not only ensure I keep up my skills but they also serve as a way for me to feel connected to my home country and mother tongue on a more personal level.

HS Grade 12, IBDP in English/Danish



allows for a more in-depth learning experience - something which is enjoyable. Having an external tutor comes with various benefits, including a flexible schedule, the chance to develop my specific weaknesses and simply how easy it is to stay focused.

I believe it’s definitely worth doing as it doesn’t take up too much time nor does it require as much work as some other classes. Besides that, it could also be easier if you’re doing the class in your mother tongue. I think it’s the best way to secure your future, at least from my own perspective as I’ll be going back to Denmark to study. This course has really helped me strengthen my vocabulary as well as the language of everyday life outside school such as talking with my old friends from Denmark or just my family in general.


International Artists

A Mark Hill Workshop

Students at Seoul Foreign School truly have access to some unique learning opportunities when it comes to the arts. We welcome regular Artists in Residence for week-long workshops as well as visiting productions, teachers and dramatists. Our teachers are sensitive to the myriad of cultures and heritages within our classroom walls and try and challenge each and every one. Our new Director of Performing Arts, John Striffler, who arrived from the environs of a New York school explains the incredible opportunities and challenges involved in his new role.

John Striffler

Director of Performing Arts


or the past thirteen years I have been a teacher and administrator at various schools in the United States but I have never seen anything like the international nature of this campus. Coming to SFS as the new Director of Performing Arts, I am simply awestruck by the amount of global opportunities the students here at SFS get to experience! On a monthly basis students in our program get to perform at cities all over the world. This year alone we

Visitors from AMDA,

have had students perform in Shanghai, Beijing, Hanoi, Kobe, Frankfurt and Salzburg not to mention the trips our students have taken to various parts of Korea. As a student in the Performing Arts Program at SFS, the world truly is your oyster! I am so excited to be here, be a part of making these experiences a reality for our students and look forward to expanding our Performing Arts opportunities around the world even further!



n September we hosted a series of AMDA Workshops with Sean Samuels in our High School Drama Lab. Our Grade 9 and 10 students learned from the best as they rehearsed Speak My Speech from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. This enabled them to practice their oration and acting skills. Workshops like these are a real bonus to students who take part in our many school performances - it gives them an extra professional opinion on how they tackle their roles. It is also an opportunity for students to ask questions about going onto Performing Arts colleges and courses after they leave SFS. We welcome visits from all international experts in the field of Performing Arts. AMDA Workshop with Sean Samuels(center) SF S B AN N ER



International Artist in Residence - Mark



n January we welcomed Australian Physical Theatre practitioner, director and writer Mark Hill as our Artist in Residence‌. Mark worked with all of our drama teachers and students of all grades from 6 - 12. It was an amazing opportunity for our students to have fantastic and inspiring Physical Theatre lessons throughout the week. Mark has performed with cutting edge Australian Physical Theatre companies Zen Zen Zo, The Danger Ensemble and De Quincey Co and with international companies Dairakudakan (Japan) and SU-EN Butoh Company (Sweden). Workshops took place in the Black Box and the joy and engagement seen in our students was reward in itself.

A Student Musician Speaks ES G4&5 Choir

Winston Lee MS Grade 8 and SFS chorist tells us why he joined the choir


choir is much more than a music group singing along together. It is a society producing good music and bonding with fellow peers. This is what SFS choir means to me. I have attended choir for two years now and I am keen to continue it during High School. The choir provides many exciting options to its students. I was able to travel to other schools twice during KIMEA and I had the honor to sing with a variety of students that I otherwise never would have had the chance to do. I am looking forward to joining High School choir next year and I am sure that there will be even more options that allow me to sing and express myself!!! 36

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How to get involved in choir?


tudents must be an active member of a choir at their school in order to audition for the honors choir. At SFS, HS students can join Concert Choir which meets during the school day, audition for Moonlight Choir which meets once a week in the evening, or join Psalms Choir which is a community choir made up of students, parents, and teachers which meets once a week in the evening.



Tom Ford conducts an SFS choir!

It is rare to find a school with such incredible involvement in all things musical. At Seoul Foreign School students are taught music and experience international competitions from their earliest years.


e have very high participation in instrument lessons throughout the school. In the Middle School Years our students participate daily in Music. They can sing or play instruments - one, two or more! We have a number of choirs running throughout the school and many are used to performing both in school and in Seoul. The pinnacle of these musical efforts is the ability to participate in international competitions. We can only focus on one group in this Banner issue (but watch out for The Music Issue later in the year!) This year our choirs have done incredibly well in KIMEA (Korea wide) and furthermore exceeded their dreams - and all other years before - with their achievements at The Association for Music in International Schools, best known as AMIS. This is an organization that brings together students of schools worldwide who excel in musical achievements. They experience days of music practice and then conclude with a concert.

Tom Ford Director of Choirs, explains our success in both KIMEA and AMIS


n the last 5 years, we have consistently placed more students into the KIMEA Honors Choir (through blind auditions) than most of the other international schools in Korea. This year we have 21 students who were successful which is great! I'm so proud of our students as the audition process is difficult and their recordings are sent off for blind auditions. Choral directors sit around and listen to tons of audition recordings and then select the voices they want. Thankfully, they usually want many of ours!

As for AMIS ( about-amis), it's the same story. When I arrived 5 years ago we had 3 students who auditioned and got in which, by the way, was exciting because most schools around the world only get a couple in, if any. Each year since then, SFS has increased the number of students being successful with the AMIS audition process with a big jump this year to a whopping 15 students being accepted in as well as one alternate. It is true that we have one of the highest numbers of students from any school this year which is so very thrilling. My students can barely contain their excitement and SFS pride.

AMIS International Choir 2019

KIMEA Honors Choir 2019

•Total numbers chosen from SFS : 15 plus 1 alternate

•Total numbers chosen from SFS: 21 students

•HS Students •Venue: International School of Beijing. A guest conductor will be flown in from the USA to conduct the choir. •Audition: students perform 2 vocalises and one classical excerpt of a song. AMIS has a set of audition materials which we are required to use. •Judges from around the world gather at a location specifically to listen to and select, through blind auditions, the singers they want.

•HS Students •KIMEA National Honors Festival (which includes choir/band/orchestra with three different guest conductors flown in from around the world) is held this year at Chadwick International School. Next year SFS will host.




Multiculturalism Through the Arts A Wrinkle In Time, MS and BS KS3 Student Play

Edie Moon Drama Director


ne of the joys of living internationally is, without a doubt, the opportunity to attend a school with students from all over the world. There was a time when the SFS student body represented 70 different countries worldwide. While today, this number may have shifted slightly, I am always excited by the diversity of the student body members represented on stage in various casts I have had the privilege of directing. Most recently, in the Middle School/ Key Stage 3 play, A Wrinkle in Time, we had students from Amsterdam, Sweden, Germany, South Korea, Japan, China, Philippines and more represented in the 40 member cast. Therein lies the challenge and therein lies the opportunity.

her family. Obviously, this had the potential of being controversial in Korea for a variety of reasons. However, we found that it was an extremely healing experience as Japanese and Korean mothers came together to help bring this story of love and tragedy to life. Again, our process immersed the children in the world of Japan as the Japanese mothers taught them the traditional tea ceremony, Japanese dances, songs and games. The mothers handmade the Japanese costumes that the students wore and spent hours checking for authenticity in the set and other details of the show. The process developed the students understanding of Japanese culture while honoring the Japanese members of our community.

Eight years ago, I directed Sadako and a Thousand Cranes in the 4th Grade. The true story speaks into the aftermath of the atomic bomb in Japan and its impact on a little girl and

Over the past ten years of directing at SFS, we have told stories on the stage of SFS that cover the world. Our casts have typically included students from at least ten or more


ne of the greatest honors of being at SFS is the opportunity to live in Korea and to experience the gift of cross-cultural living. As I have lived most of my life in Korea, I have wanted in as many ways as possible to honor the Korean culture as well as the arts of this country. I have directed Shakespeare at SFS in 4 or 5 year cycles and two of those times I was able to set the plays in Korea. Much Ado About Nothing 2000 was set in an old Korean village. During the process of creating the play, students took a trip to the Korean Folk Village together, got lessons in playing traditional Korean instruments from Ewha University students, got training in Korean Dance and did cultural training through guest speakers who were brought in to provide perspective. The costumes for the play were handmade by mothers in the community and brought to the students each individually wrapped in a pojagi as a gift. The goal of our performance was not to culturally appropriate what is sacred and deeply Korean. Rather, it was to celebrate and embrace the culture that we call home and to deepen our understanding and awareness of Korean story, history and art forms. Several years later, I was able again to set a Shakespearean play in Korea when we performed Romeo and Juliet although this time it was set in modern - day Seoul. As we have strong Korean presence in our audience, it was a wonderful way to acknowledge and honor them as well.


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he diversity of the SFS student body and parent community is one of the greatest gifts we can offer and it is our commitment to celebrate and honor that through the arts as much as possible as well. One of our upcoming plays is entitled The Syringa Tree which tells the true story of a white African-British girl growing up in South Africa during the time of apartheid. The focus of the play is best described by the writer Pamela Gien: “The play has a strong human message, a spiritual message, but it doesn't moralize. It speaks to our connections to one another, our shared loves and dreams, the earth we rise up out of, and remain connected to our whole lives, and those we carry with us, wherever we go. I think that's a powerful idea, one that gives me great hope for the future, for peace and equality in the world. Apartheid had no winners. We all lost. It was a sad and disgraceful time, and I hope the play shows the complexities. "The Syringa Tree" takes a very strong stand against oppression, but not by lecturing or sermonizing. I tried to write what I feel, that, black or white, good and evil live in our hearts, not in the color of our skin.” In order to present this play, we are bringing together the expertise of South African faculty members and parents in the community as well as a cast comprised of British Jamaican, African American, Korean American and American students who have lived as global nomads by moving around the world every three or four years. We are calling together faculty members who have grown up as white Americans and Canadians in an African world. Our goal is to embrace and understand with the greatest amount of respect possible so that we can be as true to the heart of the story as part of our educational process.

countries. Ultimately, the goal of the program is to do color-blind casting so that we are not bound and the children are not bound by those stipulations in the script. Our goal is also to be true to the story as much as possible and not to violate cultures by any form of appropriation. At the same time, however, our goal is always to celebrate and uplift by entering into the experience of others as actors and moving beyond ourselves into the world of another with as much respect and reverence as possible. Regardless of the age of our students, the PROCESS of entering the play is key as we take kids through various forms of research and dramaturgical study, invite speakers in to deepen understanding and workshop together to develop the stories we hope to tell. The selection of plays for students at SFS is one of our greatest challenges. It is based on the needs of the students as well as the commitment

to their development and growth as citizens of the world and as artistic beings. We also select based on variety so that with each cycle of plays, the students and the community experience variety in style and form. If a student leaves SFS having participated in theatre over the years, they will take with them a body of work that shows depth, diversity, acknowledgment of the Korea we live in and the stories of the world represented by the SFS community. Despite the restrictions of international licensing rights in Korea, we do our best to select plays which will achieve these goals.

(From top to bottom) Grease, Anything Goes, Shakespeare Rocks, A Wrinkle in Time

A great director of theatre, Annie Baker recently stated, “I believe that with the state of the world today, the theatre is one of the few places where dialogue is still happening.” Our hope is to keep the “dialogue” of life going through the performances at SFS while at the same time honoring the diversity of our community and of the world in which we live. SF S B AN N ER



Taking on the World! One of the wonderful things about competing for Seoul Foreign School against other Asian teams is the opportunity to create new and lasting friendships. Students get to know their opposite numbers in many other countries like Japan, China and Hong Kong. From rivalry grows respect and liking. In some instances this has led to opposing school players becoming college friends, colleagues and team mates. Here some of our students describe their trips overseas and what they gain from their experiences...

Susan Sell Haynes Director of Sport


tudents take the challenge of representing our school both locally and internationally very seriously. We see our students grow over the course of an individual tournament or a sporting career lasting through many school years. The whole SFS Sports community is so proud of what our students achieve and the way they embody our school spirit from Korea to China, Japan, the US and more. Go Crusaders!

Helena Prest

BS Year 5, represented SFS in soccer in Singapore


ast year a number of teams from SFS traveled to a soccer tournament in Singapore called JSSL! JSSL Singapore Professional Academy 7’s is Asia’s number 1 youth tournament with hundreds of teams competing, many of which were club teams, making the competition even harder. I was on the under 12 girls team, made up of 10-12-year-olds with myself being the youngest player as I was only 9 at the time. I had a great experience making new friends on my team, which were mostly 2-3 years older than me. At JSSL some matches were tough and the heat made it even harder. I enjoyed playing all the matches. Even when we lost, we would still have fun. Our team was strong and it was always fun to play a match with my team (especially if we won.) Inbetween the matches we had loads of fun, chatting, practising a bit, watching other SFS teams play their matches, eating and drinking hydrating drinks. You really got to spend so much time with your team and get to know everyone. This event was so enjoyable! My team came first place in the plate championship. We could have not done this without our coaches and parents. Thank you very much!


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Thea Clare

HS Grade 10, runs in our Cross Country Team


ast year, in 9th Grade, I heard about cross country and was intimidated by the distances and the thought that everyone would be so much faster than me. This year, I decided to try it out and I’m so glad I did. I had the opportunity to be a part of an amazing team, make new friends and go to Hong Kong for APAC, which was one of the highlights of my year. It was really cool to be able to meet students from the other schools, have fun with them and then race with them. It was a bit scary as we only had one race in Hong Kong, so we had to make the most of it. The course was really hilly and challenging but we were all happy with how we raced. I learned that although running can be tough, it is definitely worth it. The feeling you get when you cross the finishing line and feel exhausted, relieved, happy and proud of yourself all rolled into one is simply the best.

Ryan Kim HS Grade 11, plays Basketball for SFS. His trip to Beijing to play sport opened his eyes to greater issues


eldom is it that kids from schools travel to different countries for trips of service, exploration, music and art performances and sports competition. We are privileged to go to a school that grants us these once in a lifetime experiences that forever stay in our memories. I experienced this first-hand myself when traveling to Beijing, China for the annual basketball tournament hosted by the International School of Beijing. Seeing the Great Wall of China in history books and online was completely different from stepping foot on it in person. Another eye-opening experience for me was my exposure to the air pollution in Beijing first-hand. On a day where the dust levels would be enough to cancel outdoor activity, that level would be considered normal at Beijing for all schools. The school has even installed a dome so that students can do recreational outdoor activities while protecting themselves from the dust. I could have never imagined students living in environments with such high dust levels. The moment I realized their standard living conditions of dust levels, it really changed the way I thought about our country’s pollutions and how the sustainability of environments have different standards in different countries.

Ryan, front row second left with his Basketball Squad.

Finally, with basketball, playing overseas is always a positive experience because you play against High Schoolers who have lived in different countries from you their whole lives. It’s an exciting new experience that doesn’t make you feel like you are just representing your school, but rather you are playing for and representing your country. This often puts more pressure on yourself, but in the end when you win it feels so much more rewarding than a normal game in a local league in Korea. All our overseas trips make us more globally aware citizens and remind us to not take our conditions for granted. Traveling overseas is a must; it definitely enhances the international experience of being at SFS. Through these trips there are pieces of knowledge and life experiences students gain that they cannot obtain anywhere else.




The Question is


SFS MY Academic Quiz Team in competition in Seoul

Academic Quiz is new to Seoul Foreign School but already proving a hit with over 30 students signing up for the Thursday practice sessions run by Michael Harvey and cocoach, Hannah Kim.


ichael has been coaching Academic Quiz Teams (AQT) for most of his thirty years as an educator. He has started and coached teams in the USA along with numerous international schools including Zimbabwe, Abu Dhabi, China and Singapore. Among many, many successes around the world his teams at Singapore and Shanghai American School twice won the Asian Championships and attended the US National Championship where the Singapore team finished as high as 16th place.

Michael Harvey, SFS AQT Coach

Here at SFS the AQT is off to a great start as over 30 students have joined the MY and HS teams. In late January the AQT played in their very first tournament where both teams finished in 2nd place, against much more experienced teams, such as Dulwich, SIS and Busan. This semester SFS will even host several tournaments. In March the HS team plans on attending the Asian Championships at Shanghai American School and in May the MY team hopes to go to Chicago for the MS National Championships! Michael is clear about why AQT is great for students: “Successful players must learn in-depth

content of a few academic areas and obviously this helps increase grades and scores on the SAT’s. Players also learn the skills required of being a member of a four-person competitive team. These skills are highly sought after in university and in the business world. Students also learn that it is ok not to be perfect, that many times, players will buzz in with an answer that is incorrect. Learning to handle being very publicly wrong and immediately putting that behind you while continuing to take chances to help your team win is a very important part of the growth that quiz gives its players. I also expect decent etiquette from all our teams. They dress well, they are good sports and they thank hosts and congratulate opponents - whether they win or lose. AQT requires players to gain in-depth knowledge of two or more subjects, many of which require knowledge of the entire world. These include: World Literature, History, Geography, Current Events and Mythology. In addition, students may choose to study the Sciences, Classical Music and Art History.” SFS MY Academic Quiz Team in competition in Seoul


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Some of our students have hankered after an Academic Quiz Team for a long time and others have fallen into the team by accident and loved it. They all have one thing in common - a desire to succeed and progress as far as possible in every tournament they enter. Their enthusiasm is catching as you can see here....

Kate Choi MS Grade 8


i, I’m Kate, co-captain of the Middle Years Academic Quiz Team. We only began quiz at SFS this year but already we’ve come so far. Recently several of us competed in our first tournament and took second place as well as several individual spots in the top 8. If this is what we can do at only our first tournament, I can’t wait to see what we can do next! Being captain is fun but the job also carries a lot of responsibility. As captain, you often have to make quick decisions and sometimes you end up making the wrong ones. I do my best to avoid these mistakes and to lead the team well, win or lose. Quiz is great for those who are competitive or like to learn. Come by if you’d like to try it out! I hope to see you on the team soon.

Handa Jung HS Grade 9

SFS MY Academic Quiz Team. Kate Choi, second to right.


his school year, I joined the quiz team primarily for two reasons. Firstly I wanted to try something new. Secondly, a lot of my friends were going to do quiz. Though I was reserved in committing to it, I found a game I quite enjoyed that simultaneously broadened my awareness on many subjects, especially in History and Geography. This year, I would like to participate in several competitions and tournaments both on the domestic and international levels and hopefully bring home some silverware. I also hope to increase membership in our team and expose more students of our school to the game in general. We will be hosting a tournament in March.

Mathilde Doherty HS Grade 10

Handa with Mr Harvey


very time anyone new partakes in one of our quiz team practices their reaction is always similar; they encounter a boisterous group of friends and their over-exuberant coach and they stare in awed silence as we start to play. We answer question after question, each more absurd and obscure than the next and we laugh with each other even as the competition rises exponentially. It can be… overwhelming, at first. However this wasn’t always the case. Just at the beginning of the year each and every one of us was that same scared newcomer. When I look at all of the progress we have made, I am filled with a sense of overwhelming pride. I have no doubt in my mind that our team will achieve great things.

Mathilde (far left ) with HS Academic Quiz Team. SF S B AN N ER



Where in the

Our High School Counseling team tells us how

World? Rebecca Mayo

they are here to help all our students make the right decision for them. The support and resources could not be better - wherever you want to study!

HS Counselor


ith the world at your fingertips and an IB diploma under your belt, how do you choose which university will best suit your needs - academically, financially, geographically, personally? Current SFS Seniors have made these decisions and are currently waiting to hear where the next chapter of their lives will take them; some lucky students already know.

HS Counseling Team Rebecca Mayo far right

US College

In order to help students make these big decisions, SFS counselors start early in Junior Year. In September, Junior parents were

invited to an evening presentation on how the application process is addressed through seminars, presentations, workshops and counselor/student/parent meetings throughout the year. The process is thorough and intentional with the goal that all Juniors return in August of their senior year with a tentative short list of ten schools. This year’s Seniors applied to countries around the world including: Japan, Korea, UK, USA, Australia, Canada and The Netherlands. SFS students are becoming more aware of the amazing schools and opportunities worldwide for post-secondary education. With more than 200 schools visiting SFS each year, students are encouraged to talk to representatives early in order to better understand what would be “Best Fit” for them. This Fall, for the first time, SFS will host more than 150 schools in one day! More details to follow on this incredible event. For more information on the university application research process, please visit the Grade 11 page at


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Challenge! The university decision is one of the most crucial for students. Where they choose to go is dependent on many factors - it may be going “home”; it may be staying here; it may be another option entirely…

Jennifer Lee HS Grade 12, will attend Barnard College, Columbia University when she graduates this year. Here she explains her very clear reasons for making this crucial decision.


hen researching universities, the fact that my mother and grandmother both attended women's colleges was always at the back of my mind. While they never pressured me to attend a women's university myself, I have been raised with the understanding that women's colleges engender a unique community, pride and free will that is not as pronounced in a co-ed environment. Being the third generation, I didn't feel compelled to uphold the tradition but willingly desired to experience the excellence of doing so. This resulted in my deep interest in Barnard College. Last summer, I attended Barnard's Pre-College Program. On campus, I engaged in insightful conversations with current students, faculty and professors. In Korea, some question my dream of becoming an SFS Elementary School teacher; the Barnard community had nothing but support. Their encouragement -“You'd be great at it!”- reassured me to apply. Additionally, I had a remarkable conversation with the Dean

of Admissions and she reaffirmed my respect for women’s universities; they validate our voices and personal autonomy within a supportive learning atmosphere. And, of course, my 8 years at SFS cannot be overlooked. I always knew I wanted to continue my education in an academic setting like SFS: an individualized yet collaborative-based learning environment; a vibrant community; intimate relationships with teachers. At Barnard, I expect similar academic excellence: a collaborative liberal arts setting dedicated to the advancement of women; a tight-knit community; approachable world-class professors. That is not to say I would miss out on the other extreme of the college spectrum—a sprawling, coeducational Ivy League institution. Plus, living in NYC is always a bonus. College Visits 2018




Who am I? Many of our current and previous students have wonderfully complicated and rich heritages and family lives. Counselors, Lisa Adams (ES) and Jennifer Holcomb (HS) explain this minefield and offer some advice, guidance and resources for all our families.


hat is a Third Culture Kid? What is a cross cultural kid? A cross cultural kid (CCK) is a person who has lived in or meaningfully interacted with - two or more cultural environments for a significant period of time during the first eighteen years of life. A traditional Third Culture Kid (TCK) describes children who spend a significant part of the first eighteen years of their life in a country different than their parents' passport country due to their parents' work. Of course, each child and family in our school has a unique set of variables that contributes to their cross cultural identity. There are many types of CCK’s that describe the kinds of cross-cultural identities that apply to students within our very own community. Some of these types of cross-cultural identities include: Bi/Multicultural Children Children whose parents are from two different cultures - they may or may not have the same racial heritage. Mixed-Heritage Children Children whose parents are from at least two racial heritages- they may or may not come from the same culture. Educational CCK Children who attend a school of a different culture than the culture they return to each night. International adoptees Children adopted by parents from a country other than the child’s country of birth. Children of minorities Children whose parents are from a racial or ethnic group that is a minority in the country they live in. Children of immigrants Children whose parents have made a permanent move to a country they were not citizens of originally. Source : Who Are Cross Cultural Kids (from p44 of Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds)


s you look through the various types, you may find that your child’s experiences are described in more than one way. Which of these types might describe your child’s experience so far in their life?

Lisa Adams, ES Counselor


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The purpose is not to categorize our community into the various groups but rather to put into context the many ways that our children and our community represent a vast number of cultures. Each member of our community has the beautiful opportunity to live alongside and learn from each other, as we share life experiences with people who may have very different backgrounds than we have. In the book, “Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds”, authors Pollock, Pollock, and Van Reken identify some of the benefits and challenges that a CCK can face. One benefit is the expanded worldview that our children have

as they encounter people and ways of life that are different than that of their home country. Early on they discover that there can be multiple ways of looking at the same thing. With this benefit can come the challenge of having confused loyalties to a particular culture. The child may be more familiar and comfortable in the culture of the country of residence and not feel the same attachment to their passport country. Our children are often exposed to social/political situations that differ from the parents’ and grandparents’ experiences. Discussing and trying to understand your child while they process the mixed messages can be very helpful. For example, in a western-style school, children are to question and speak up. In a traditional Asian home, children might be expected to be quiet and keep their opinions private. Offering understanding and having discussions with your child while they process the mixed

Resources Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds David C. Pollock, Ruth E. Van Reken, and Michael V. Pollock. Raising Global Nomads: Parenting Abroad in an On-Demand World Robin Pascoe. Arrivals, Departures, and the Adventures In-Between Christopher O’Shaughnessy. See your counselors for more ideas of age appropriate reading.

messages they may encounter as they interact with multiple cultures can be very helpful. Another benefit of experiencing different cultures is the cultivation of adaptability and resiliency as the child experiences a frequent change of cultures. Children often pay attention to appearances, the way people relate and cultural expectations so that they can blend in as quickly as possible. This cultural adaptability starts as a way of surviving in their new environment but it also equips them for transitions and different cultural expectations all throughout their lives. The challenge can be that a child has learned to adapt to so many different cultures, that they then have a difficult time defining who they really are and where their identity lies. It can also feel uncomfortable as they may not feel as though they fully fit in any one place. As a CCK, your child is likely developing crosscultural, observational, social and linguistic skills that peers in their passport country do not have

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the same opportunity to develop. This is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding the advantages and the complexities that cross cultural children experience. As parents there are ways that you can intentionally support the unique upbringing that your child is experiencing. One way is to have family traditions that you follow wherever you live. This could be Friday night family movie nights, Sunday brunch, family dinners… A way to honor the cross-cultural experiences you have as a family is to include celebrating holidays from the cultures you’ve been part of. An example is that families within our community celebrate Chuseok, Canadian Thanksgiving and/or American Thanksgiving .

Jennifer Holcomb, HS Counselor

Another way to provide some stability in a life of mobility is to include connections to “home”. As you move from place to place, keeping objects that are personal treasures is important.

ere at SFS we can help in many ways

Our counselors, who understand the unique needs of our CCK’s, meet with students about transition as families enter and leave the SFS community. The goal is to help the child understand what is typical in transition and normalize their experience. Current students are paired up with new students to help them as they transition into the community. The PTA Transitions committee provides opportunities for parents to scope out the neighborhood, find other parents to connect with and learn about the school community. Counselors offer parent workshops addressing the unique needs of our cross-cultural students and families. There is a seminar specifically designed for our Seniors to prepare them for the unique aspects of university transition. We continue to develop programming for helping our wider student body to understand, embrace and capitalize on the cross-cultural context we live in. A number of our faculty and staff at Seoul Foreign School are CCKs or TCKs! This is a wonderful built-in support for your child as they are surrounded by people who have had similar experiences. Our counselors meet regularly with parents to support students.

Some extra material sourced from Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds (see above) SF S B A N N ER



A Cultural



Olivia Han, a recent SFS alumni, now studies History and French at Boston University. She wrote recently in The Korea Times about her life as a third culture kid and the shocking discoveries of her Korean history. She generously allows us to share her thoughts here and we are sure her story will resonate with many in our community.


am a third culture kid, which means I was raised outside of my parents' culture for a significant part of my development years. Born in Hong Kong, ethnically Korean, I was a U.S. citizen attending a Canadian international school with mostly Cantonese-speaking kids until we moved to Seoul in 2009.

I also did not feel a "oneness" with Korea, whereas in the past I always did. For several years, I felt this way. Surprisingly, it was a sporting event that allowed me to narrow this cultural gap and take the first steps towards knowledge and understanding.

Until that epiphany forced me to take a hard look at Korea's past, I honestly did not understand the animosity Koreans felt toward the Japanese. My talks with others of their generation provided different variations of the same suffering. It slowly dawned on me why people became so upset when the Japanese prime minister visited Yasukuni Shrine, when the Japanese government made attempts to change their history books regarding World War II and the sudden outpouring of grief when another "comfort woman" grandmother passed away.

During the 2012 Olympics men's soccer bronze medal match between Korea and Japan, I couldn't fully understand the animalistic, feverish excitement and desire to win and to dominate the Japanese team on the part of the Koreans.

A soccer match led to an awareness of my personal history, as well as to understanding the sufferings of countless people - many of whom I disrespectfully once considered just "old people."

I leaned towards my Grandfather on the couch and innocently asked him why people were so excited over a bronze medal match, when a more exciting gold medal match would soon follow. He glanced at me irritably and said that we needed to "get them back" for having once given us the name Nishihara.

Now, when I glance upon shriveled hands and faces lined with creases looking like wellfurrowed farmland, I know I must continue to learn about my past and help others know as well. Through this process, I no longer feel apart from other Koreans, as I realize that I am a part of living history. My name is not Nishihara.

Strangely, it was only after moving to Seoul that I felt like I was not truly Korean. It was only after meeting "real" Koreans that I realized my Korean was tinged with a Western accent.

My name was Nishihara? I was shocked when


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my Grandfather told me Nishihara was our family name during the 1910-45 Japanese colonial period. It was as though I was punched in the solar plexus. In 1940, almost all Koreans living on the peninsula had to take Japanese surnames.


Alumni Reunions Seoul Reunion

Our Alumni Reunions are eagerly anticipated and well attended. Each year we are able to reach out to alumni around the world and offer them a chance to meet their classmates and other Seoul Foreign School graduates. We currently run these events in Korea, Europe and the States. In the 2018-19 school year we have had four events and we are proud to share these amazing reunions with you.


e started in November in London where Jack Moon, Alumni Director, hosted more than 20 alumni including very recent alumni now studying at University there. The venue was in the shadow of St. Paul’s Cathedral and the evening was filled with many stories and shared memories. New friendships were also formed between our alumni from decades past who are now settled in Europe. One of the most rewarding experiences was to welcome students to the reunion who didn't graduate from SFS and in some cases, had only attended for a year or two. Listening to them speak emphasized the impact that SFS and its community has on our students both while they are with us and far into the future. It doesn't matter how long you are with us. You are an SFS alum!

London Reunion


ur New Orleans event in November spanned three days and was organised by our Class of 1978. Saturday evening was hosted by Colm Flanagan, our Head of School, CFO Clif Wilcox and Jack Moon. Friday was a “Meet and Greet” session where Jack met many of his wife’s (Edie Rader ’77) classmates for the first time. Saturday was spent wandering the French Quarter nibbling on beignets and sampling Creole cooking. The afternoon included a tour of the Mardi Gras World exhibition followed by the dinner and presentations hosted by SFS.

New Orleans Reunion

The culmination of the weekend was an amazing home cooked Korean meal hosted at Kimbel Burt's home on Sunday with many of the alumni showcasing their culinary skills to the delight of everyone there. It was a fitting end to a wonderful and memorable reunion. SF S B A N N ER




he Seoul Reunion traditionally follows the Homecoming Game on the first Friday of the New Year. This year we welcomed Seoul based alumni to our new High School building for a fantastic dinner. Entertainment was provided by our current students. The atmosphere is always unique and we welcome past alumni based in and visiting Seoul on university holidays or end of year vacations!


inally, the first days of February saw Jack Moon and Colm Flanagan take to the skies once more and host a three day Reunion in Washington DC. Over three days 70 alumni and families came together to eat, drink and share their stories. Our Saturday night dinner was held at the Mt. Vernon Yacht Club thanks to Kim McMichael Andrade (’78). After a tour of George Washington’s estate, alumni gathered for hors d’oeuvres and a wonderful Mediterranean meal catered by our own SFS grad Karen Lippold Siegel(’77). Attendees ranged from classes of 1972 – 2015. Long time SFS math teacher, Soonja Lee, attended along with two of her children, John and Hemi. Friends of Seoul Foreign School members, Harlan Lyso and Ruth Richter were also a part of the festivities.

(Top and above) Seoul Reunion


e aim to make our reunions lively and inclusive. The Alumni Office would especially like to encourage conversations with any classes that want to celebrate their 10th, 20th, 30th, 40th and even 50th year reunion. Contact us and we will be happy to celebrate along with you and support you in this endeavor. Please contact Jack Moon with any questions and comments and to share any stories of alumni life. (Above, right and far right) Washingtion DC Reunion


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Letter From

Advancement Dear SFS Community: One of the key goals in our Advancement office is building full community participation in our Annual Fund and continuing to build a culture of giving at SFS. Regarding our 2018-19 Annual Fund last Fall, we are truly grateful to you all for your generous contribution and participation in helping support the purchase of equipment for the new Multimedia Recording Studio. Many of our stakeholders have contributed to our Annual Fund this year enabling us to achieve 100% participation from four departments/ offices at SFS, a major gift from an alum, gifts in-kind and corporate donations from our friends in the community, to name a few.

to SFS and to share some of our advancement plans moving forward. Thank you for your continued support. With much appreciation, Yoojin Um Manager of Advancement

We would also like to encourage our parents in the corporate world to explore the Matching Fund Program. These are another way to help support the School. This is a giving program that enables corporations to ‘double their employee’s personal donation designated to a non-profit organization.’ This is a great way for corporations to help non-profit institutions like SFS maximize their financial support while also encouraging their employee’s spirit of philanthropy. For those who have contributed to the Building for the Future Fund, we will be placing our donor wall in the new High School building this Spring. All donations regardless of size will be recognized. If you would like to have your name permanently recognized and to be a part of our legacy, please do consider joining us in supporting the Building for the Future Fund by participating in the following ways: Naming Rights, Centennial Stones and General Donations. Together with our Building for the Future Advisory Group, the Advancement office will be hosting a Donor Appreciation Event on Saturday, April 27th. Donors and continued supporters of the Annual Fund will be invited to this event to celebrate the impact you have made

MS Voice Lab students




A Huge Thank You To…. Our


2018-19 Annual Fund Donations THE MILLENNIUM CLUB Donated $10,000 or more Rayoung (Madeline) Lee The Haelyung Hwang Family


Donated $5,000 or more Rana ’91, Dana ’93 and Anna ’96 Cho P.L.C. ’15* and J.L.C. ’18 Edward Y., Henry C., and Emily S. Chung Elizabeth ’22 and Katherine ’25 Chung Colm and Sinead Flanagan IBK Yeonhui Branch Caleb ’18 and Caden ’21 Jang Jamie ’20 and Jay ’21 Jones The Kahng Family Claire ’21 and Chloe ’25 Kim Sebi Kim ’27 Ashley ’21 and Kate ’22 Koo Joonmo Koo ’22 Jeena ’21 and Jeean ’25 Lee Lauren M. ’18, Ethan C. ’21 and Erin G. ’22 Lee Lynn ’21, Winston ’23 and June Lee Eunseo Lim ’21 In Honor of Kevin and Ellen O’Donnell The Rudolph Family – Harry, Linda and George ’07 Clare ’23 and Sydney ’25 Sohn Teo ’20 and Temin ’22 Sohn Evan ’10, Ryan ’12 and Ethan ’19 Yi Michelle, Alissa and Alex ’23 Yoon


Donated $1,000 or more Young Min Choe Minsoo Choi and June Kang James and Sarah (Hubbard) ’71 Gunberg Ian Wonwoo Kim Jee Hee Kim Jayhee Lee ’26 Jack and Edie ’77 Moon Katherine ’18 and Justin Oh Peter ’77 and Janet Pin Michael Stern ’78 KeeHyun Sung Jessica ’15, Michael ’18 and Stephanie Woo


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Donated $100 or more Anonymous Katherine Baird The Beaty Family Kang Hoe Do Young Woo Cho Andrew Freeman Lydia Forster The Gilmores – Kelly, Tu Anh, Autumn, Kaden and Cash Jee Hye Ha Caroline Hahn Sophie and Ryan Hammerberg The Holcomb Family James Hopkins Byeong Guk Jeon Matthew Johnson Anna Kim Dohyun Kim Yerin Amy Kim Sammy Taeyoung Kwon Andy and Joanna Lee Chang Hee Lee Hugh Heung Sang Lee Jeehae Helen Lee Jina Lee Young Sik Moon Byung Sil Park The Prest Family Jan-Mark Seewald Justin and Shannon Smith In Jin and Deborah Song Yuki and Haruka Sugita Juhie Suh ’92 Insil Tak Adam, Lauren, Jade ’18 and Ella ’21 Teather Yoojin Um Megan and Nathan Walker Esther Washburn Smith Clif Wilcox and Melissa Villa


Made a monetary donation Lisa Adams Danny Ahn ’20 and Annabelle Kang ’20 Young Bo Bae Ja Yong Choi Jong Chul Choi Byung Sik Chung Woo Tak Jeon Jin Hyuk Joo Seong Hoon Hong Dong Suk Kang Sang Oh Kang Chul Hoi Kim Jinny Kim

Jung Soo Kim Nam Pil Kim Hong Seo Koo Ryan and Lindsay Kuhl Byung Ju Lee Jae Hun Lee Jung Young Lee Seulgee Lee Seung Woo Lee Seung Min Nam Woo Chul Seol Dong Jin Shin Chang Geun Yang


the Word and the World

Chinese text donation

We are honored as a school to receive donations to help us develop our programs and to really contribute to learning opportunities for our communities. Here Jenny Tang, World Language Coordinator, describes a very generous donation from the Chinese Embassy in Seoul.


he World Languages department at Seoul Foreign School is honored to have received over 200 Chinese books from the Chinese Embassy in Korea. These books cover a range of topics, such as Chinese art, poetry, language and literature, history, calligraphy etc. The donation was given to the HS library and the HS Mandarin program. The HS librarian Judith Reid syas: “The High School Library is grateful for this donation of Chinese titles to our collection. The Library is working to build its foreign language collection to the benefit of those students whose mother tongue is Mandarin as well as those students who are learning the language and these titles are a valuable addition.” In the past, the Chinese Embassy has donated books to the Elementary School Mandarin program and now they are collaborating with SFS to help develop a Mandarin mother tongue program at our school. Mandarin is the newest language offering at Seoul Foreign School with classes starting in the 2013-2014 school year, joining Korean, French and Spanish. Given the importance of China in the modern world, proficient speakers of Mandarin have increased opportunities in the global world. Many international corporations and companies seek Mandarin speakers in order to communicate and do business with the world's second largest economy. Jenny Tang with Chinese texts.

Korean Poetry We are delighted to have received boxes of Korean poetic books <아침 햇살이 두고 간 먼지꽃(Dust Flower Left by the Morning Sunshine)>, generously donated by a grandparent of Emma Lee in ES, who is a close friend of the writer, Anna Kang. This poetic books consists of Korean poems for both children and adults accompanied by a musical CD. She was also awarded the New Writer Award in 2018 by the Korean Literature and Creative Writing Association. We are very happy to have these books for the Korean heritage classes and the poem units. These have also been displayed in all sectional libraries.

Korean text donation SF S B AN N ER



International Awards

We are honored to be able to offer many scholarships and awards to our High School classes. Many of these are given on an annual basis and have been established over the years by alumni and former faculty members. It is a wonderful way to leave your mark on the school and ensure that generations who follow you or your child continue to have amazing opportunities in whichever field they excel. Winners are chosen by committees including the Head of School, the High School Principal, Counselors and our Alumni Director - depending on the speciality. These awards cover sports, academics, the arts and many other areas. If you would like to hear more or would like to sponsor a scholarship then please contact Jack Moon, Alumni Director. We’d love to hear from you wherever you may be in the world today.

The International Businessperson of the Future Award


ince 2003, a generous donor has been sponsoring the ‘International Businessperson of the Future Award’ scholarship to a graduating senior who is pursuing a college degree leading to a career involved in the private international business sector. The recipient of the Award in 2018 was Matheus Rempel. The scholarship was endowed anonymously in honor of Kevin and Ellen O’Donnell. Kevin O’Donnell forged a career in international business. Along the way, he brought the Peace Corps to Korea. Ellen O’Donnell spent her early years in China, the daughter of medical missionaries. She happily moved a family of

eight children from Ohio to Korea, to support her husband’s dream. The children attended SFS. Throughout their lives, Kevin and Ellen have been positive role models for values and ethics. It is in their honor that the Seoul Foreign School International Businessperson of the Future Award is presented to the graduating student who best exemplifies a strong set of personal ethics and fairness in dealing with others, who shows a facility for international exchange and who visualizes a career supporting international understanding through private enterprise and business development.

American Journal of Health Promotion Award


he American Journal of Health Promotion Award is given to an SFS Junior (Grade 11) who best exemplifies optimal health in each of the following dimensions: •Physical (sport and/or fitness related activities) •Intellectual (intellectual and academic achievement) •Social (relationships with family, fellow students and faculty as well as participation in student organizations) 54

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•Emotional (ability to work effectively under pressure) •Spiritual (having a sense of purpose in life, the ability to receive and give love, and showing charity and goodwill towards others). Jasmine Kipa was the recipient of the Award in 2018. It is sponsored annually by an SFS alum, Dr. Michael O’Donnell ‘70 at the Art and Science of Health Promotion Institute.

The Rogde Family Visual and Performing Arts Award


his Award has been sponsored by Langston (Former Assistant Head of School – Operations) and Linda (Former Faculty) Rogde to a graduating Senior who has demonstrated outstanding talent and abilities in either Performing or Visual Arts and plans to pursue higher education in the fields of Performing or Visual Arts.

was something that has been commemorated for many years. During their time at SFS, they always enjoyed the many performances and art exhibits and supported many talents in our students. Christopher Thies was the first recipient of the award in 2018. Here he is pictured with Edie Moon and his parents.

Langston served as SFS’ Chief Financial Officer and eventually Assistant Head of School – Operations from 1996 until his retirement to San Antonio in 2010. His tenure at SFS coincided with and was instrumental in fostering a historical period of growth at SFS – both with respect to enrollment and the building of new facilities. He passed away in October 2016. Linda contributes her years of expertise as the Media Specialist for students and played a significant role in the lives of many faculty women on campus who were blessed with her warmth, mentoring and friendship through the years. Her handcrafted quilts for the newborns Please look out for scholarship applications this coming Spring! Contact Yoojin Um ㅐor Jeff Holcomb for more details.

Finally a very special Thank You to

Transportation W

e are truly grateful to our transportation department for their 100% participation to our Annual Fund this year! A high percentage of participation from school employees, does indeed encourage other members in the community to participate. Thank you for helping us move towards building full community participation and creating a culture of giving at SFS! Can you spot your transportation hero?

Our transportation team



Pic of the MS trip to the Peace Observatory overlooking NK

Seoul Foreign Middle School 7th graders' visit to the Peace Observatory on the North Korean border. Photo credit - Libby Beaty and Matthew Johnson

Seoul Foreign School International in Every Way

Profile for Seoul Foreign School

The Banner 2019 Spring  

Seoul Foreign School Magazine, the Banner. 2019 Spring Issue.

The Banner 2019 Spring  

Seoul Foreign School Magazine, the Banner. 2019 Spring Issue.

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