Children arrive on first Korean/Kiwi primary school exchange
14 February 2003
Twenty five Korean children from Se Ryun School, Songpa-Gu arrive
in Christchurch this Monday 17 February for a four day visit at
Merrin School - their New
Zealand sister school.
This is the first stage of a school exchange, which will involve
23 children from Merrin School visiting Songpa-Gu in April. As far
as organisers are aware, this is the first primary school exchange
to be arranged between New Zealand and Korea.
The initiative came from Merrin School teachers, after watching
many Korean children excel in the classroom. We were very interested
in the society that these children had come from, says Mary
Jonker, a Merrin School teacher and organiser of the exchange.
Merrin also has strong links with the local Korean community. About
15 per cent of the schools population is Korean and there
are few children at our school who do not have at least one Korean
friend, Mary says.
Parents and teachers felt that visiting our sister school
in Songpa-Gu would provide an excellent opportunity for some New
Zealand children to see at first hand, where their friends had come
from. We thought it would also provide an excellent opportunity
for some Korean children from Merrin School to share their background
and culture with their Kiwi friends.
While they are at Merrin School, the children from Se Ryun will
attend classes, join in a top team competition, be treated to a
performance by the schools Korean cultural group and participate
in a pot luck dinner.
They will also be taken sightseeing including a tram ride; a barbecue
at Corsair Bay; and visits to the Antarctic Centre, the Canterbury
Museum and Willowbank.
Throughout their visit the children will be supported by their
school principal, two teachers and two parents who will travel with
them from Korea. After they are farewelled from Merrin School, the
Se Ryun party will spend a few days travelling in the South Island.
Parents from Merrin and Se Ryun have raised their own funds for
the exchange, with students being home-hosted with families in both
So far, the Merrin School fundraising committee has raised $40,000
for 23 children, six teachers and 9 accompanying adults to travel
from Christchurch to Songpa-Gu. This includes $2,000 from the Christchurch-Songpa-Gu
Sister City Committee; a $2,500 donation from the Asia 2000 Foundation
and a return ticket to Korea for one child from New Avonhead Travel.
Tuesday 18 February, 9am Official welcome at Merrin School
Hall including a performance by the schools Korean cultural
Tuesday 18 February, 11am Top Team Competition at Merrin
School involving children from Merrin and Se Ryun Schools.
Thursday 20 February, 10.55am Tram ride for Se Ryun children.
Meet at Cathedral Square tram stop.
Mary Jonker, Merrin School/ Se Ryun School exchange organiser,
Ph 358 8369.
Sue McFarlane, Christchurch City Council , International Relations,
Ph 941 8959
Top of Page ~ Media Release index