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Kang Han-sul, left, a student at the German foreign school in Seoul, hands L.J. Christie a guitar in teacher Lisa Riehle's guitar class. Kang and 22 other German students went to classes Tuesday at Seoul American High School as part of an exchange program.
Kang Han-sul, left, a student at the German foreign school in Seoul, hands L.J. Christie a guitar in teacher Lisa Riehle's guitar class. Kang and 22 other German students went to classes Tuesday at Seoul American High School as part of an exchange program. (Jeremy Kirk / S&S)

YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — About two dozen students from a local German foreign school came to Seoul American High School on Tuesday as part of a cultural exchange program.

The exchange was the brainstorm of Laurie Clark, who started Seoul American High’s first German language classes six months ago. Clark said she sent an e-mail to the German School in Seoul — known as Deutsch Schule — to see if officials there were interested in having a students visit each other’s school.

Karin Guther — an English teacher at the German School — was interested. While Clark’s students played host, she said, Guther’s high-schoolers had assignments: gathering information on how classes are conducted and scheduled compared with German schools.

“They aren’t here just for having fun,” Guther said.

But there was plenty of fun to go around. L.J. Christie, a 16-year-old sophomore at Seoul American, was paired with 14-year-old Kang Han-sul of the German School. The first class they shared together was teacher Lisa Riehle’s guitar class. It may have been one of the rare times the students had seen a teacher with a guitar, showing kids how to rock out to power chords.

The students paired with partners and followed them to their regular classes. The high point was Clark’s 9:30 a.m. German class. The German students already are very proficient speakers of English thanks to Guther’s instruction.

With 96 students, the German School is quite small compared to the 631-student Seoul American High School, Guther said. Except for foreign-language courses, classes are taught in German.

Since Clark’s class is fairly new at Seoul American, she said, she uses quite a bit of English to explain grammar, mixing up the 90-minute class periods with videos and other cultural activities.

And the students will get a chance to use some of their German: Thursday, some of Clark’s students will visit Deutsch Schule.

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