ESJF in Seoul, Day 4 & 5: The War Memorial of Korea, the Museum on Korean Palaces, the DMZ, Noryangjin Seafood Market, Korean Shaved Ice (pot-bingsoo), Changdeok Girls’ Middle School, Nanta performance, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon, & Namsan
We were busy exploring the city, learning more about Korean history & culture, and, of course, tasting delicious foods. We made sure to have some live octopus at the Noryangjin seafood market, followed by deliciously cold and sweet Korean shaved ice, bingsoo! The two flavors of bingsoo we shared were the original red bean shaved ice with sweet rice cake and English tea shaved ice with hazelnut ice cream and fresh orange wedges. The SFUSD teachers also enjoyed visiting local museums, the War Memorial of Korea and the Museum on Korean Palaces, while one teacher also visited the DMZ.
The next day, we toured Changdeok Girls’ Middle School, known as Future School: a public pilot school supported by the Seoul Metropolitan government, designed to meet the challenges of the future. Changdeok uses cutting-edge technology, has small class sizes of fewer than 15 students, applies innovative pedagogy, and offers state-of-the-art facilities. While the school uses the same textbooks and offers the same courses for the same length of the time as other public schools, it looks and feels different. Progressive thinking is fostered in an engaging and nurturing environment. In fact, the principal, who kindly gave us the school tour, told us that no student falls asleep in class.
After the school tour, some of us went to see a theatrical performance with no dialogue and a lot of action. We all went to Gyeongbokgung Palace and nearby Bukchon, a historic Korean village with traditional architecture. We opted to have dessert before our final dinner together as a group in Seoul, this time Mango Mango shaved ice, another amazingly delicious flavor! After dinner together, some of us went to see the night view of Seoul at Namsan.
The five days in Seoul were informative, moving, eventful, and memorable. ESJF deeply appreciates the Korean Council for organizing the international symposium with great attention to detail. Our trip gave us many ideas to incorporate in the classroom and renewed our energy to continue promoting education in social justice. ESJF also thanks the Korean Council, Erin Hanlon, Christina Tang, and Connie Byun for sharing their photos, included in this newsletter.