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8,182 km is a nearly unfathomable distance. Imagining how different the landscape, the culture, the people, and even the weather will be on the other end of the Pacific Ocean is a difficult task, but that was the task put before our twelve students who ventured to South Korea to visit, to teach, and to interact with our gracious hosts as part of the Lead Across Cultures program.
Being thrust into a new land is a great way to leap out of one’s comfort zone; and with a country and people as beautiful as South Korea, that leap was a lot easier to make. We were in awe of the sprawling cityscape, the never-ending supply of great food, and most importantly the hospitality of all who cared for us. After experiencing some of what the city of Seoul had to offer, we traveled to the countryside of Hampyeong where we settled into our English camp for five days at Wolgwang Christian School. Our grade eleven and twelve students created activities, lessons, and opportunities to connect with the students who arrived at the camp. Our SCS students received a crash course in teaching, learning to be flexible and handle anything that was thrown at them. With activities like “Korean Idol”, bottle rockets, ice cream making, and sometimes just running around chasing kids in the gym, our students were exhausted by the end of the week because they had truly given everything that they had to engage all the WCS students.
Our grade eleven and twelve students created activities, lessons, and opportunities to connect with the students who arrived at the camp.
To wrap up the trip, our students spent a few days living with homestays from WCS as well as from our other sister school, Soongduk, and experience the day-to-day life of a Korean family. They shared meals, activities, and traditional clothing, and by the end of their time they had become “fast family.” For our students, this was the experience that they relished the most – being a part of a family from the other side of the world. Through this homestay, they learned that empathy is about understanding and stepping into the story of another, and there is no better way to experience that than living with a family.