With only about 80 million native Korean speakers worldwide, South Korea’s current potential to interact globally is limited. It’s no surprise then that the nation has taken an active interest in providing English education programs for its students.
Public schools currently offer a standardized English curriculum. Parents, however, do not feel that it is substantial. They recognize the benefits associated with having their child study English and they seek additional resources.
After all, English is one of the six official languages of the United Nations; it is the predominant language of the Internet, and it is the international language of business.
An English initiative parents often overlook, due to the over saturation of hagwon advertisements, is an English camp. These are places where kids get to spend an entire day immersed in the English language and interact with foreign teachers from around the world. One such camp attracting attention now is located in South Jeolla Province -- It’s called Mokpo English Village (MPEV).
From the moment students step off their buses and walk into the school, they are greeted by a welcoming staff of teachers waving and ushering them inside. Both students and teachers are excited for the day ahead. After a brief introduction in the auditorium, the bell rings and everyone makes their way to class.
The facilities at MPEV provide an experience unattainable for students at an after school academy or public school. Each of the 16 themed rooms is filled with interactive tools for the children to use. There’s a hospital room that functions as a medical test-center, a produce-stocked mart room, a karaoke/music room with instruments to play, a kitchen to bake in, and MPEV even has a space where students can learn how to reserve a hotel room. Time is spent learning English in action, not just sitting at a desk.
School-aged children ranging from kindergarten to middle school can attend MPEV. In a recent student survey, 93.2 percent of fourth graders thought MPEV was helpful for their English; 90.4 percent said they would come again. These numbers indicate that students are simultaneously adding to their academic abilities and having an enjoyable experience.
Oftentimes, as an educator or parent, finding a quality location for students to learn English is time consuming, stressful and costly. With MPEV, there is no hassle. The school is funded and backed by the local government, so quality and affordability are guaranteed. All students who have a desire to learn are welcome. Each day provides five dynamic and interactive lessons. If students take part in a two-day program, they receive a special passport book that includes practice dialogue from the day. It serves as a great keepsake as well as a study tool.
After-school classes are offered during the week for all skill levels up to sixth grade. It is a worthwhile program for those who want to learn English with people from abroad and meet new friends. All classes in this program follow the public school year calendar in regards to holidays and festivals.
If the weekdays are too busy for some students, Saturday morning programs are also available. The school provides a beginner phonics class for the little ones who want to jumpstart their English skills. For the students who have a basic English foundation and want to learn through stories, we have the “Book Clubs.” Students have the rewarding opportunity to interact with a native teacher through storytelling and discussions. Activity classes such as: Cooking, Science, Music, and P.E. are included for Saturday morning as well. The school does not hold programs on Sunday.
For this upcoming year, the school will be making changes to programs as well as enhancing the curriculum. The staff is excited for the changes and would like to invite all students to come study English at Mokpo English Village.
By Cullen Shortt and Casondra Koufos (firstname.lastname@example.org