Korean, American students come together at Osan

by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker
Osan Air Base

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs office and Osan Middle High School hosted the 13th annual Osan English Camp as part of the U.S. Forces Korea Good Neighbor Program at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, May 29-31.

The English Camp gave 19 Korean students from the Pyeongtaek area the unique opportunity to immerse themselves into an English-speaking environment to help them study the language and American culture by staying with American families for three days while attending classes at Osan Middle High School.

“We have been hosting young Korean students at OMHS for the past 13 years,” said Yi, Chong Kun, 51st FW Public Affairs Community Engagements Chief. “The program is very successful and it’s rewarding to see Korean and American students build friendships at such a young age. These students represent our future leaders and this experience will leave a positive impression on both cultures.”

Each Korean student was paired with a student of their own grade from OMHS, whose families took them into their homes for the duration of the camp, allowing all participants the chance to experience firsthand a new and different culture.

“It was good spending time with people that have a different culture than me,” said Hwang, Eun Jung, a participant of this year’s English Camp. “I think it was a great opportunity to grow my communication skills with other people.”

Hwang, also known as Della to her American classmates, was partnered with Andrea Leon Guerrero and her family for the English Camp. In that time, Hwang was able to participate in activities she had never done before, like bowling.

“She was only with us for two nights, but I felt like we fit in a lot of great experiences during that time,” said Valene Leon Guerrero, Hwang’s sponsor for the program. “We even have plans to go bowling again together. I look forward to keeping in touch with them, and I hope to participate in the camp again next year, and for as long as we’re here.”

At the completion of the camp, a graduation ceremony was held for the students and their families – American and Korean – where each child was recognized and given a certificate. During the following reception, the families shared their favorite experiences and hopes for a continuing friendship in the future.

“The last day of the camp, I was sad,” wrote Kim, Ga Ryeong, a participant of this year’s English Camp, in her feedback. “I really want to go to OMHS after this. I’ll miss my sponsor and her parents, and the little puppy named Cookie too!”

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