Building bridges beyond borders

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Year 12 Regents’ students visit South Korea

Late January saw a delegation of seven students and two staff members from Regents International School Pattaya leave for the Australasian Regional Round Square Conference in South Korea.

An astounding minus two degrees welcomed the contingent at Incheon International Airport, resulting in a mad dash towards the waiting vehicles ready to take them to Cheong Sim Academy, a boarding school an hour and a half from Seoul and Regents’ Round Square sister school.

Hitting the slopes.Hitting the slopes.

With two days to kill before the conference took place, students and staff hit the slopes for some snowboarding lessons – a stark contrast to the heat and humidity of Thailand! Although the skill level was low initially, progress was definitely made over the course of 48 hours.

After the extra-curricular activities came to an unfortunate end, it was time to meet up with the other schools, most of which were from Australia, along with our host school and two campuses from Dover School in Singapore.

The trip to South Korea was centred on the theme of “Building Bridges Beyond Borders” dealing with the different chasms they came across in the world – both physical and psychological.

North Korea in the background.North Korea in the background.

One example of the chasms in Korea was the splitting of the Korean peninsula after the war. Students were able to step in the DMZ (demilitarised zone) and actually see North Korea, right across the river some 300m away. Pupils went up an observation tower to learn more about South Korea’s mysterious neighbouring country. The three glass panels of the tower were lined with binoculars, pointing their lenses towards the North Korean landscape.

Round Square Delegation.Round Square Delegation.

South Korea has an interesting polarity of urban and rural, old and new and of course North and South. The students had a wonderful experience and are immensely grateful to be a part of a school that fosters this kind of out-of-school learning.