Every day, Dwight brings to life its commitment to educating the next generation of global leaders through the International Baccalaureate, cross-campus collaborations, and our culture of global-mindedness. Building on this rich foundation are exchange programs with Dwight global campuses in which students step into the shoes of their peers in other countries, broaden their perspectives, and return home enriched by the experience.
Following on the heels of Dwight's inaugural ninth grade exchange program at Shanghai Qibao Dwight High School in China, seventh graders traveled to Dwight School Seoul for their first-ever program — and both extend our school's long-standing tradition of exchanges for fifth graders with our campus in London (established 1972).
Dwight, situated in the heart of Seoul's Digital Media City (the Silicon Valley of Korea), is the first IB World School in Seoul to receive authorization for all three IB programs for students from preschool-grade 12. When 15 seventh graders from New York arrived, they were welcomed warmly and dove into their week-long adventure in one of Asia's most interesting capitals; Seoul is distinguished simultaneously by its rich history dating back 2,000 years and cutting-edge technology as the world's most wired city.
Students spent time with their cohorts at Dwight School Seoul, attending classes in design; media; and in the Korean language and culture, including traditional music, cooking, and Taekwondo. When students ventured beyond campus, their itinerary was filled morning to night with visits to the beautiful Mt. Buk-ak trail and Cheonggyecheon Stream, the ancient Gyeongbokgung Palace and Buddhist Jogyesa Temple, the bustling Namdaemun Market, Namsan Tower, Namsan Hanok Village, several museums, and more.
Shelby Korman, Associate Head of Middle School, chaperoned the students along with Michael Horvath, Dean of Grade 10. She reports, "As the IB Middle Years Program Coordinator, I have always emphasized the importance of developing internationally minded students, so I was excited to travel to Dwight School Seoul with our seventh graders. My hope for this trip was that students would experience another culture and reflect on both its similarities and differences from their own. They exceeded my expectations with their open-mindedness, inquisitiveness, and desire to embrace a new culture — and as we anticipated, they made lasting connections with students in Seoul."
Upon their return to our New York international school, students shared their impressions of this wonderful experience with their classmates through a presentation in both words and pictures. Here are just a few of their reflections:
"My experience in Korea was great. We saw a different culture, different city, and we learned new things about the world." – Fernando
"On Thursday afternoon, we went to Namsan Hanok Village and did three activities. We first tried on the traditional Korean 'Han-Bok.' The girls tried on long skirts, chima; and a short jacket, jeogori. The boys tried on pants, baji; a vest, jokki; and top under the vest. Next, we went to a calligraphy class where we learned how to write some words in Korean: happiness, haengbog; love, salang; friendship, woo jong; and peace, pyeonghwa. Later we put them on canvases. Lastly, we made bowls out of the traditional Korean paper called hanji. We had a lot of fun learning more about the traditional Korean culture." – Bella
"The trip overall was very interesting because I got to experience a new culture that was very different than mine. While I enjoyed every activity that we did, the Temple really stood out for me. I recommend to sixth graders that they take this trip next year!" – Gabriella
"I have already been able to see the impact that this trip has had on students," Ms. Korman concludes. "They approach their studies and interact with their classmates with a new maturity, and I look forward to continuing this global program next year." Click here for a look at their amazing Seoul journey through photos!