Vienna High School hosts South Korean students - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Vienna High School hosts South Korean students

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VIENNA -- 25 South Korean teens get a taste of Southern Illinois this week. All week long, they'll attend classes at Vienna High School and experience the everyday school life of American teenagers.

Tuesday, classes at Vienna High School began with a different kind of teacher. Multiple students from South Korea gave presentations about themselves and their county, hoping to give American kids a lesson they've never learned before.

"Kind of helps us to become a little bit more well-rounded. I think that's definitely a great opportunity that we've been given," says senior class president Hannah Loyd.

The Korean students got paired up with student council members, following them from class to class.

Senior Class President Hannah Loyd says language has presented her biggest challenge.

"You can still connect at a lot of levels but you also have a cultural divide and you're learning a lot more about other cultures, which it's amazing to learn," says Loyd.

"Native Americans are really fast-speaking so I can not understand most of their speech," says, Lucy.

The Korean students chose American names to better relate. 16-year-old "Lucy" noticed a big difference in how classes operate.

Imagine when the bell rings, teachers switch rooms, not the students.

"Students don't move in their class and teachers only move to their lecture," explains Lucy.

Lucy also says she was surprised to see high school kids driving. But her biggest came in learning how much they all actually have in common.

"Our students are realizing that these students from the Republic of Korea are from all the way across the world, but are pretty much just like them," says Dean of Students John Giffin.

It's even got many of the Vienna teens wanting to go to Korea.

"I don't think ever in the past. I want to travel to South Korea and now they're like, 'how can we do this, Mrs. Palmer? How can we get a trip set up?'" says student council sponsor Beth Palmer.

After school hours the Korean students stay with Johnson County families.

Loyd says she hopes they're stay in Southern Illinois will make a lasting impression.

"I hope they leave and they feel how welcomed they were," says Loyd.

The connection came through a partnership with SIU that Vienna school leaders hope to continue in years to come. The Korean students will wrap up their stay, Friday with some fun activities planned before then.

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