EDUCATIONAL IMMERSION RESIDENTS GOING TO KOREA TO TEACH AMERICAN CULTURE.
VALENCIA - While the American students never really warmed to the idea of soup with breakfast or the ever-present kimchi - a spicy pickled cabbage - exchange organizers believe the best way to teach young Koreans about American culture is to bring it to them.
Henry Park, a Santa Clarita resident and businessman, who left South Korea in 1982, has escorted local teachers and students to his native country for seven summers to serve as instructors and aides to Korean children at an English immersion camp.
``The accent, and to understand the American culture, is not easy to study just in school,'' Park said. ``When American teachers and students go there, they share their cultures - like eating time, sleeping, manners.''
This year, the two-week, dormlike experience organized by Park's program, Family to Family, will take place in the ancient Korean capital of Kyongju, where 40 Santa Clarita Valley adults and teens will live with and teach nearly 400 South Korean children - entirely in English.
Arroyo Seco Junior High seventh-grader Tessa Ludwick can't wait to begin helping her mother in July teach the campers about life in America.
But she admits her enthusiasm may stem from a more personal place than others who have signed on.
``I don't think it would have struck me as much had the trip been to Spain,'' said Ludwick, who was born in South Korea and adopted by an American family when she was just 5 months old. ``My mom and I were discussing how, since I have to teach the kids what the English words are, they'll say the word in their language and I can learn some Korean.''
Her mother, Karen, agreed that the temptation of living with the people and absorbing their culture was too rich an opportunity to pass up.
In addition to learning math and English, often with the help of fun and games, the campers and their American teachers go swimming, play tennis, visit sights and sing songs.
Diana Thayer, the Family to Family's program director and a retired teacher who taught at Arroyo Seco in Valencia for 30 years, has twice made the journey.
``The Korean kids keep daily journals and the American kids help them use accurate English,'' Thayer said. ``Every night, the American kids will be dorm captains, each assigned to about 10 Korean students in a dorm room.''
Valencia English teacher Phyllis Campbell taught the Korean campers last year and said there are visible differences between the American and Korean students.
``There's a real eagerness. Most of their parents are very educated and they realize the importance of the English language in business and on a global level,'' Campbell said. ``And the Korean children really seemed to have a great love for the outdoors. It wasn't about playing video games indoors.''
(color) Henry Park, left, Diana Thayer and Phyllis Campbell are organizing a trip to South Korea for Santa Clarita area teachers, parents and students to join an English immersion camp.
Shaun Dyer/Special to the Daily News
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Apr 13, 2001|
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