American and Korean children become friends at the Korean-American joint summer school

by Mun Kyeong Seo, Mi Jeong Kwon and Binna Hwang
U.S. Army

CAMP HUMPHREYS -- More than 160 American and Korean kids participated in the 2015 Korean-American Joint Summer School at Pyeongtaek International Exchange Foundation and U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys from July 29-31.

 Summer School was a very good chance for children to learn about Korean and American culture. On the first day Korean and American children met in front of Camp Humphreys and moved to PIEF in Songtan by bus. Camp counselors divided the children into eight groups, each identified by a color of the rainbow. Each group went to their classes and participated many interesting programs.

 At the classes, children learned Summer School's song 'We are best friends' and sang it together. They made a Korean traditional costume called 'Hanbok', with Korean handmade paper and key rings of beads.

 On the second day, they started the day by decorating hand mirrors and eco bags. The kids had a lot of fun with colorful arts and crafts they made. For lunch, American children had a chance to experience Korean food. They had Teokgalbis, which are small Korean grilled beef patties. After that, classes were divided in Nongak (traditional Korean music) group and K-pop dance group. They learned K-pop dance, Korean instruments and practiced many Korean rhythms for their last day performance.

 On the final day the summer school the kids visited Zoeckler Gym at Camp Humphreys and enjoyed playing basketball, scaling the climbing wall, face painting, caricature and balloon games. The kids also had lunch in the Provider Grill Dining Facility where the Korean children enjoyed American food.

 The final event of the camp was a graduation ceremony with student performances for their parents at the Paengseong International Exchange Foundation Center.

 The children performed Nongak and K-pop dance perfectly; their parents were very happy with the performances and gave it up for the children. The kids really enjoyed this summer school program and that made for perfect performances.

 Michelle Park, one of the camp participants, said "I think the best program was 'K-pop dance,' it was really creative. I participated in this program over the last three years. Summer school provides many different programs every year but I'm very sad about that Summer School's period has been shortened."

 Another student who enjoyed the show, Ki Chan Kim, said he enjoyed playing Korean musical instruments.

 "I think the best program was 'Nongak'! The reason is it enabled us to play Korean traditional instrument directly, it's so great. " When they had to go home, some children cried to be leaving their new best friends.

 After the student performances, the graduation ceremony began. Mr. Kong, Jae-kwang, mayor of Pyeongtaek City, presented certificates of graduation to the Korean and American students who completed the camp.

 This summer school program was held by PIEF. PIEF is to manage Pyeongtaek City's international exchange relations systematically and effectively, and play a lead role in Pyeongtaek's globalization. Matching USFK's move to Pyeongtaek and the increasing numbers of multicultural families and international students in Pyeongtaek, PIEF work towards supporting its foreigners, globalizing its citizens, and strengthening international exchange among the two. PIEF promotes various cultural exchange programs that allow both Pyeongtaek citizens and foreigners to participate in.

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