SOURCE: Brentwood School

Brentwood School

January 19, 2012 16:19 ET

Brentwood School Welcomes Forty 4th and 5th Grade Students From the Kyonggi School in Seoul, South Korea, for a 2-Week Cross-Cultural Experience

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - Jan 19, 2012) - Students from the Kyonggi School, a K-12 school in Seoul, South Korea have visited California for the past 10 years, staying at Cal State Dominguez Hills and spending their time engaged in a wide variety of cultural experiences. But something was missing -- an experience with their American peers. This year, they came to Brentwood School in Los Angeles, CA. Within just the first few hours of their arrival on the Brentwood campus, friendships formed as the Korean students realized that their new friends were not all that different from themselves.

In a series of ice-breaker activities on the West Campus field last Friday, the students compared sneakers and eyewear, favorite foods and musical groups, learning that kimchi and seaweed are equally as popular with American students as pizza and cheeseburgers are with the Korean students. Hand in hand, they helped each other navigate the barriers of language and culture, and found common ground.

This cultural exchange came about through a series of conversations with the Kyonggi administrators. "They researched schools in the area and found Brentwood School to be the best fit for their students," said Mary Fauvre, Director of Brentwood School's Lower Division. "They approached us with this opportunity and we knew this would be a great experience for them and for our students. We are eager to show our guests the school and the city, and to learn about their school and their culture."

The Kyonggi students who were chosen to visit Brentwood passed a competitive examination in order to be selected for this trip. While at Brentwood School, they will experience what it is like to be a 4th or 5th Grade student in an American school and will participate in all classroom activities, including learning about Martin Luther King, Jr. in 4th Grade and reading a specially-selected book in 5th Grade called Archer's Quest about a Korean American's encounter with a legendary figure from ancient Korea.

Most valuable are the moments outside of the classroom when the students can get to know each other on a personal level and continue to find ways to connect. The Korean students will spend most afternoons on cultural and sightseeing tours throughout Los Angeles and will also participate in service learning field trips to Tree People and Heal the Bay with their Brentwood friends. Towards the end of their visit, the Korean contingent will see a musical theater performance, followed by an All-American BBQ with sports and team-building activities for all.

As described in our diversity statement, "We are committed to weaving diversity into the fabric of who we are, what we do, and what we value," explains Head of School, Dr. Mike Riera. "Giving children from different cultures the opportunity to interact in engaging and personal ways over a period of time is a meaningful introduction to global awareness and makes the notion of being citizens of the world relevant to them."