On Thursday 5th October, 10 senior students travelled abroad to South Korea, accompanied by Mr Ambrose. On exchange with Munchang Boys High School for the first time, it was a busy 12 days packed with new experiences, tastes, sights and friends.
When we arrived at Incheon Air Port, Seoul, we were greeted by Young Kim. Young has been a friend of SBHS for a long time and she was our chaperone during our time in Korea.
Day One saw a trip to the National Museum of Korea and National War Memorial in Seoul, where we learnt about Korean culture and the Korean War. It was an eye-opening experience to see what the Korean people had gone through during the war in the 1950s. After a long day out (and over 48 hours with no sleep) , we headed back to our accommodation to get settled in, and catch up on some much-needed sleep.
Over the next couple of days in Seoul, we visited the DMZ (Demilitarised zone) which was thrilling! There we had the opportunity to meet US soldiers, Korean Soldiers and best of all, look out over the border between North and South Korea.
We also had a chance to do some shopping in Seoul which was different to what we were used to down at The Palms. We spent one evening in a shopping centre called Hongdae, which was great for buying cloths and gifts for our families, but it was shoulder to shoulder the whole time.
While in Hongdae, we preformed the School Haka only to be approached by a grumpy man claiming we had no permit to perform in a public area (which we didn’t).
On the 9th October we endured a two-hour-long bus ride down south to a village called Mungyeong, roughly the size of Timaru. When we arrived in Mungyeong we were greeted by senior staff of Munchang Boys High School. We introduced ourselves over a delicious lunch before meeting our host families, who took us home to get settled in and to get to know one another better.
On Day Two in Mungyeong, we went to morning classes with our host students and toured around the Munchang Boys campus. The afternoon saw a trip to Mungyeong Saejae which is an ancient mountain pass connecting Mungyeong to Seoul.
Over the next couple of days, we visited many ancient temples, Buddha shrines and museums.
While in Mungyeong we took part in the opening ceremony of the Citizen Sports Day where we performed a Haka in front of the Town Mayor and VIP stand. That afternoon, we headed back to school and had the opportunity to get some study in before we performed the School Haka at their school festival.
The next day saw a trip to Gyeong City where we had the chance to look around some famous landmarks and ancient tombs. That evening we stopped in at Mungyeong Girls High School to say "Hi" and perform the School Haka at their school festival. The girls went crazy and everyone wanted to take selfies and add us on Facebook.
Our last day in Mungyeong was a free day with our host families. We did a variety of activities with some families going zip-lining, clay shooting, archery classes, karaoke nights and quad biking.
The next morning it was time to say good- bye to our host families. They had looked after us very well! Some tears were shed but we all said we would keep in contact with each other. We said goodbye with the School Haka, boarded the bus and headed back to Incheon Airport.
On the whole, it was a great trip with a mixture of culture, education, food and good times. Definitely a trip none of us will forget.
The tour group was: Zack Avery, Dan Bublik, Jackie Chen, Connor Edwards, Daniel Hodges, Rory McWhirter, Corbin Newlands, Thomas Pirker, Weston Pugh, Mitchell Rowe and Mr Ambrose.