October 28th, 2016, at 3:00 PM sharp, students immediately began piling out of classrooms at the sound of the bell. Soon after, a series of shrieks and giggles began to reverberate throughout the hallways of Seoul Foreign High School. This was not because it was a Friday, nor was it because they were merely in a rush to go home for the weekend. It was the fact that 3:00 PM marked the beginning of Discovery Week (DW) 2016: a week full of learning, bonding, and, most importantly, fun.
The aforementioned example is a testament to the extent to which Discovery Week is enrooted into SFS culture and the anticipation that comes along with that every year. The idea behind the implementation of such a week was, as stated on the Seoul Foreign School website, to provide students “with an excellent experiential education opportunity” that could not have been gained through time spent in the classroom. In other words, the SFS website explains, “it is a regular school week in that the program has educational objectives, but it is different in that courses are offered in a format which most often does not resemble traditional classroom instruction. The offerings are rich and varied and may be conducted on the SFS campus, in Seoul, in Korea, or overseas.”
One of many students greatly affected by this year’s DW, Joan Gwak (11), described the Compassion Vision Trip that she went on this year as “providing a humbling experience.”
“I learned that poverty is much more than lacking something physical and I was able to place a face on this largely unexplored topic. I also made new friends through the love of Jesus and learned about the miracles God does to help bring children out of poverty. Seeing the kids smile despite their neediness for love and material things made me realize that I have much to be grateful for and that it is my responsibility to help these children around the world who have no vision for their lives,” she explained.
However, the benefits of Discovery Week are not confined to personal realizations and life-changing service trips. They also expand to skill development. Alec Lim (10), who participated in the Hoops 4 Life Basketball DW course this year, expressed his hopes for his future athletic ability. He revealed that “everybody was so driven and so supportive of each other, it really brought out the best version of myself and motivated me to work harder, really pushing myself to the limit. It was a great chance to explore what I was capable of and rediscovering myself as an athlete.”
We are living in a society where educational attainment is perceived as most successful in the classroom, and the opportunities to enjoy other experiences have become increasingly rare. Seoul Foreign School’s unique Discovery Week is therefore not only a time for students to take a break from arduous academic work, but also a chance for students to open their eyes, cultivate invaluable skills, and become a true global citizen.