ISS goes on cultural exchange trip

ISS students Sherry Ge, Vivian Wei, Sunny Dong and Claudia Choi stand with chemistry teacher Chris Tetzlaff and dorm parent Holly Rodgers during a reception in Shanghai. (Contributed)

ISS students Sherry Ge, Vivian Wei, Sunny Dong and Claudia Choi stand with chemistry teacher Chris Tetzlaff and dorm parent Holly Rodgers during a reception in Shanghai. (Contributed)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

Indian Springs—Eighteen members of the Indian Springs School faculty, staff and administration went on a cultural exchange trip to South Korea and China from June 14 to 22.

According to a news release from the school, the trip was an effort “to gain a deeper understanding of the customs—and needs—of” the school’s Korean and Chinese students, who make up nearly one third of the ISS boarding community.

The trip was arranged for the school by AJIN USA, whose CEO, Sea Jung Ho, is the father of an ISS student.

“We were very fortunate to be working with AJIN USA,” ISS Director Gareth Vaughan said. “They had so much experience because they do similar trips for their workers and employees.”

During the nine-day trip, the ISS faculty, staff and administrators visited Seoul, Daegu and Busan in South Korea, and Shanghai in China. They went sightseeing, experienced the culture and ate authentic food. They also held two evening receptions for alumni, current and incoming ISS students and their families.

“Families traveled hundreds of miles and traveled for hours to be there,” Vaughan said.

Korean and Chinese parents of ISS students cannot regularly attend school events, so the trip was “such an important community effort,” Vaughan explained. It was a “bonding experience” for not only those on the trip, but also for the students and families they met with, and Vaughan said it “reinforced and cemented the relationships” between the school and families.

The trip also gave the ISS faculty, staff and administrators deeper insight into the culture of their Korean and Chinese students, and some of the challenges they face coming to school overseas.

“It gave them (ISS faculty, staff and administrators) a very important cultural insight into the families they’re working with,” Vaughan said, adding they gained an understanding of “what it must be like for their students who are coming the other way.”

Vaughan said what was learned on the trip will be brought back and incorporated into the school in both an educational and practical way.

“A lot of things will be brought back into individual classes,” Vaughan said. “We’ll look at everything we do, from what food we cook and offer in our dining halls… right through to how we help (foreign students) arrange their travel.”