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CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — Forty South Korean high school sophomores will spend five days next month improving their English by clambering over tanks, looking at jets and having fun with American kids their own age as part of a U.S. Forces Korea Good Neighbor English Camp.

The 14- and 15-year-old students from Pyongtaek and Seoul will see F-16 jets at Osan Air Base and, at 2nd Infantry Division bases, an M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank and a Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

They also will visit the Joint Security Area near the Demilitarized Zone and attend an American-style barbecue at Yongsan Garrison, USFK spokesman David Oten said late last week.

Base military and civilian families will host the students May 17-21, Oten said.

“It is part of USFK’s Good Neighbor program to promote cultural links with South Koreans. It is just an immersive environment where 10th graders can come and be American kids for five days,” he said.

One parent who volunteered to host a student, Army Col. MaryAnn Cummings, USFK spokeswoman, predicted her own children, ages 6, 12 and 16, will enjoy the experience.

Several young South Korean military academy cadets recently visited her home for dinner, she said.

“My husband cooked traditional Thanksgiving dinner. That was a little bit of a surprise for the South Korean cadets to see my husband be the chef,” she said.

Cummings said she’s asked to host a boy she hopes will get to know her son Chris, 16, a top student, football player and musician.

The South Korean student “will get to see what life is like in my house. There is always a lot of discussion going on … homework for the kids … somebody reading … somebody watching TV. We’ll play typical American games … the type of food we eat is pretty traditional American,” she said.

Other activities for the South Korean students and Seoul American High School students during English Camp are to include a sport and recreation day, a pizza party and a movie night, Cummings said.

The camp will help young South Koreans understand what life is like for Americans living in their country, she said.

“I don’t think there is a lot of information out there about how life is for Americans in South Korea that young South Koreans are exposed to. We have a number of good-neighbor activities but unless you are part of that activity, young South Koreans might not know what life is like for us here,” she said.

Families wanted to host Korean students

U.S. Forces Korea officials are seeking 50 Yongsan Garrison families — with children — to host the South Korean students during the English Camp.

“You get an extra son or daughter for a period of time,” said USFK spokesman David Oten.

Call 723-4661 for more information.

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Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.
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