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Immaculate Conception School hosts Korean students

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Marlborough – “Alex” explained that he is 11 here, but 12 at home in South Korea. Everyone in that country celebrates a birthday on New Year’s Day. And in Korea, his name is Kim Ju Young.

Alex is one of six students visiting Immaculate Conception (IC)School, which has about 200 students in preschool through eighth grade. They are spending four to six weeks living with local families and attending IC, through the International Student Exchange Program (ISTEP), said Julie Purcell, school advancement director.

Placed in Lisa Trudeau’s fourth-grade class, Kim Ju suggested the students call him Alex, Trudeau said.

“It’s quite an experience – it really is – the opportunity to have a connection with another culture,” Trudeau said. “It’s a unique opportunity for the students to experience another culture.”

For the students, however, it’s a chance to experience American culture and immerse themselves in the English language. In fact, Kim Ju said that’s why he decided to participate in the international program.

“It’s great,” Kim Ju said. “I [will] learn English better here.”

Susan Hunt, who has three visiting students in her fifthgrade classroom, said that while the students have shared some of their culture and knowledge, they are here to experience American school life.

“It’s important for them to follow through the day and immerse them in English,” Hunt said.

While the language is challenging, the length of the school day is less so. Three fifth-grade students placed in Hunt’s class, in a mix of English and Korean, discussed their schedule, until Young Hoon Kim explained that at home they spend a full day in school, then attend “youth academy” to continue their studies into the evening.

Their experiences here, however, continue beyond the classroom and school day. The students discussed a visit to New York City and Washington, D.C., last week, and a planned trip into Boston.

“It is a great time,” Young said. “Everyone is kind.”

He described the kindness of a stranger who helped him when he spilled a drink on the airplane, and classmate Beom Jin Park agreed.

“My teachers are very kind, and every subject is good, great,” Beom said.

Two other Korean students, Min Soo Cho and Young-Kyo Park, are also attending IC School.

Families hosting the children include John and Sonia Foster of Hudson and Marlborough residents Jason and Elizabeth Young, Patrick and Anne Brassil, Marcia and Digna Montes du Ocu, and Prakritewar and Papia Santikary.

Principal Martha McCook first learned about the ISTEP program when she was contacted by Ernest Yang of ISTEP, Purcell said.

“It’s a great opportunity for children in the school to really be exposed to the [visiting] students and visa versa and share the experience of the educational traits with each other,” Purcell said. “It’s been a great experience for the whole school community.”

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=6400

Posted by on Jan 29 2010. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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