Wollumbin High School is not new to cultural exchange. Recently, it extended its exchange program overseas to Korea.
In this exchange, Wollumbin High School forms a sister school relationship with Jijok Middle School in Korea. The aim of the program is to strengthen the language skills and cultural understanding of students.
The program began in 2007 with Wollumbin High students going on two trips to Korea.
The first trip took place in April 2007 when six Korean language students from Wollumbin accompanied their teacher, Mrs Lofts, on a trip to Cheongiu, a large city in the middle of South Korea. It was Spring and the students were attend Jijok Middle School and to stay with local families. On arrival at the airport, they were taken by mini van on an hour trip to the school. There we were met by excited Korean students and their parents and the Wollumbin students were allocated to their home stay families.
In the following three days, the students participated in sport, cooking, craft, computing and traditional music classes. The students from Wollumbin found school life to be a bit different to what they were used to. The cafeteria style lunches, having to change shoes to enter school, the huge TV screens and computers in all classrooms were of particular interest to students. After the school experience, students had five days of sightseeing which included picnics, shopping and visits to amusement parks. Highlights of the trip were the visits to Seoul and the demilitarized zone.
The second visit took place in October 2007. This time, four students met up with a larger group of students from throughout the state and travelled to Korea. They too, experienced local school life and visited places of interest.
As a part of the program, a Korean intern, Mr. Jun, came to work at Wollumbin High School. He was sponsored by the Korean Consulate who also provided the school with photo resources depicting Korean life, prizes for outstanding students and for competitions throughout the year. Mr Jun involved the students in many cultural activities such as calligraphy, fan making and mask making.
At the beginning of the 2008, Korean students came to Wollumbin with 14 students from Seoul attending Wollumbin High School for approximately one month. The Korean students were billeted by local families and participated in school activities such as the school swimming carnival. They also visited the Currumbin Bird Sanctuary on the Gold Coast.
In March that year, three students from Wollumbin High School attended the Model United Nations Assembly (MUNA) and represented South Korea. At MUNA, students took part in debates about current world issues and argued their points from the Korean perspective. The students were highly commended by Rotary for their efforts.
The Korean cultural exchange program is open to any students who study Korean in Years 9-12. Wollumbin High School is located on the NSW north coast close to the Queensland border. It has approximately 500 students. Most of its students come from English speaking backgrounds.