South Korean students visit Taylorsville High


Courtesy of Luis Garcia

Taylorsvile high historian poses with IIHS student Ye Jun Kim

Payton Wright, Editor in-Chief

 For one who has not traveled often, imagining other parts of the world and their cultures is, for lack of better words, hard. Every place you go just feels like a larger part of Utah, and each person you meet is simply just another person.

  I had lived almost eighteen years in this sheltered bubble until I was offered the opportunity to be a part of the University of Utah’s Global Campus program,  where students in high school from South Korea partner with an American student in the Granite School District and they exchange cultural ideas as well as explore educational options for the future.

  When Seo-Young Lee stepped off her bus for her first day of American high school, she was almost, if not more, excited than I was for her to experience this. Seo-Young and her classmates flooded the Taylorsville hallways with curious minds, already noticing the many differences between high schools in the United States and their home.

  In the midst of clawing our way to class on our first morning together, October 16, Seo-Young remarked that there were a great deal more students at Taylorsville High than there were in her school, Incheon International High School (IIHS)–a school students have to test into and are given the opportunity to go abroad. Through the sea of people, she also observed that starting school at 8:30 am on a Monday was far more of a late start than anyone she knew was used to.

  For the students of IIHS, school begins promptly at 6:30 in the morning and doesn’t end until 11:30 at night. And we thought we had it tough. In fact, according to the Hechinger Report, this isn’t out of the ordinary for most students in North and South Asian countries. With all those hours spent studying, the students have to spend their time wisely – or risk expulsion. Rather than trekking home and studying more the students that attend IIHS live at their school and visit home on weekends.

  Besides the obvious differences at school, Seo-Young and many of her friends were quick to notice how different American socializing is. “The interactions are very different,” she remarked as she saw another student embrace their significant other in the hall. “In [South] Korea, couples do not act that way in the hall.” She agreed that when you have good friends you hug them sometimes or hold their hands, but the loud and very open declarations of love in the halls was a bit out of the ordinary for these students.

  The overall experience of meeting with these students broadened the worldview of many who were involved, including myself. The students of IIHS had a grand old time in America and can now look back on their week spent as a Taylorsville Warrior with not only fond memories to think of, but also of their new friends.