International School or Korean Local School?

Story by Helen Cho

Do you know what a local school is? Many of you might have been in a local school before coming ISS. If you didn’t know,  a local school is a school in your home country where you speak in your mother tongue. It is a government school in your home country that you have to go because of compulsory education.

Do you know what an international school is? Of course you do! You are in an international school right now. An international school is built for increasing internationally minded people. People who enter the school are both local people and foreigners. An international school is different from a foreigner school.

A foreigner school is built for foreigners who don’t live in their own homeland and people who lived in foreign country 3 years.

Have you ever been to a local school or an international school? I have been in both local and international school in 2 different countries. Local schools and international schools have differences.

International school prepares you for the IB program.

In Korea local schools,  there is no IB program. In science, for example, we study with textbooks and memorize things instead of doing experiments. We have to prepare for the scholastic ability test that is held every year on November 12. This one day’s score decides whether you can go the college that you wanted to go to. That’s a lot of pressure! This exam is so important the airplanes don’t take off during the listening exam to insure that students can hear clearly. Many students get stressed and feel uncomfortable.

IB program is also hard but the final exams last three weeks, not just one day.

So, which school style is the best fit to me?

I’ve been in an international school only couple of months, and in that time I have found that an international school focuses on experiments and justifications. For me, an international school’s science is more difficult because of experiments. In Korea I needed to only memorize. So even though an international school’s science is difficult, I can understand the explanation better.

If the person who likes to memorize things without conducting experiments, a local school in Korea is fit to you. But for a person who can’t memorize things without understanding, international school that teaches reasons about the subjects substances is fit to you.


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This was a project in our Korean class at an IB school. This kind of work would be uncommon in a Korean local school.

2 thoughts on “International School or Korean Local School?

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  1. I am so impressed that you are writing such a thoughtful article after only a couple of months in an international school, Helen! I have also seen you really benefit from the Drama class and how we try to teach creativity and risk taking instead of just memorizing and reciting lines. You have done a great job in adjusting to the new world you are in, and I hope you keep enjoying it!


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