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Korean children visit Christchurch sister-school


MEDIA RELEASE
Wednesday 11 February 2003

Korean children visit Christchurch sister-school

Thirty five children from Se Ryun Elementary School, Songpa-Gu arrive in Christchurch this Monday 16 February for a three day visit at Merrin School - their New Zealand sister school.

The trip follows a visit to Christchurch’s sister city, Songpa-Gu in Seoul, South Korea by 23 children from Merrin School in April, last year.

While they are at Merrin School, the children from Se Ryun will attend classes, participate in a shared dinner, be treated to performances by the school’s cultural groups and take part in a school disco. They will also meet Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore and be taken on visits to the Antarctic Centre, Canterbury Museum, Corsair Bay and Ferrymead Historic Park.

Throughout their visit the children will be supported by four teachers and two parents who will travel with them from Korea. After they are farewelled from Merrin School, the Se Ryun party will spend five days visiting other parts of the South Island.

Parents from Se Ryun have raised their own funds for the exchange, with students being home-hosted with families. Another party of Se Ryun School children visited Merrin School in February, 2003.

Next month, two of the Merrin School pupils, who went to Songpa-Gu will speak at the Sister Cities New Zealand conference (March 24-27) in Christchurch. David Taylor, the New Zealand ambassador in Seoul, who hosted the Merrin School party while they were in Songpa-Gu will also speak at the event

Photograph Opportunities

Monday 16 February, 1.10pm – Se Ryun School children arrive at Christchurch Airport domestic terminal

Tuesday 17 February, 9am – Official welcome at Merrin School hall including a performance by the School’s Korean cultural group.

Wednesday 18 February, 11am – Se Ryun school children meet Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore in the Council Chambers, Civic Offices, Tuam St

Thursday 19 February, 9.30am – Ferrymead Historic Park visit

Background

Merrin School principal Paul MacDonald says, “Merrin and Se Ryun Schools feel that the sister-school exchanges provide excellent opportunities for children from both schools to experience and share a different culture, make new friends and in the case of the Merrin pupils to see at first hand where many of their friends come from.” About 15 per cent of Merrin’s roll is made up of children from Korea.

The two schools have been involved in a sister-school relationship for five years, which involved art works, photos, emails and written exchanges until the first visit last year.

As far as organisers are aware this is the only primary school exchange arranged between Korea and New Zealand.


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