Everything They Told You—The Dangers Of Gossip

PC: socialidentitynetwork.com

Through countless judgments, lies, regrets, and false assumptions, I’ve come to a standstill in my thoughts about relationships—both with friends and family. The diffusion of information through rumors and gossip spreads like rapid fire, twisting simultaneously in multiple paths of communication, like minerals flowing through the roots of a tree. So common is this type of transmission, that any normal person would be tied into its complex passageways. If we were to look at the cause of all this, often times exaggerated information, we see it starts with one person. They hear that another person has done something out of the norm, something weird, amazing, disappointing, or disgusting—they tell it to someone else around them, who tells the same thing to another person around them, and the information spreads with an insanely rapid pace, sometimes reaching entire grade levels in only a few hours,

Especially in middle school was tougher than it should have been for many people, making them care about their appearance and think that beauty was the key to gaining momentum on the social ladder. What was fueling this was gossip that sucked away at our self-consciousness, envy, and fear.

We think that gossip is harmless, that as long as someone doesn’t hear something, they won’t be hurt by it. But it’s only a matter of time until the snowballed rumor reaches that person.

Plain and simple, gossiping is bullying, but an especially hard one to catch. There are simply too many lies that float around, whizzing past one student, transferring to another—like a multitude of diseases that everyone is infected with. Though we don’t hear much about gossip, it is a serious problem, a problem that is hard to solve, and a problem that exists everywhere. People often want lies to be true, and it is terrifying how easily they accept them.

In our school, there is a sea of complicated hatred, woven inside and out with piercing deceptions; all created by our classmates, siblings, friends, and even parents. And this is such a disappointment to all of us.

The next time you find yourself about to whisper something to your friend about the ‘gross’ kid in the back, take a step back and realize that you have no right to judge them that way if you don’t know a single damn thing about them. Think about the consequences of that our actions will take, imagine being subject to months of alienation, rejection, disgusted stares, and whispers. Imagine withstanding the pain of exclusion as our ‘friends’ leave you, convinced that the lies spread around us are true.

– Michelle Lee ‘22

Featured Image: socialidentitynetwork.com

New Service Program: Kyung Dong Won Suwon Orphanage

As the only service club to incorporate middle schoolers and high schoolers, the new service program, Suwon Orpahange, has officially been introduced to KIS highschool.

Recently, a new service club led by a freshman was introduced to the KIS high school service program. Although the club was created 2 years ago, it officially became part of the high school service program this year. The club has meetings every Tuesday and goes to the orphanage once a month. During their service hours, they teach English to preschoolers and early elementary students. The orphanage was created for children who lost their parents after the Korean War and has been operating for 60 years, taking care of 3,500 kids in total.

The club started about 2 years ago when Stanley Yang (‘21) began service drives supported by the middle school Student Council. As Mr.Kennedy, the service coordinator, wanted to continue that service, he connected Stanley to Jenny Shin (‘19) and other members who wanted to join the service. The service club recently became a high school service club with about 15-17 members (mostly freshman, middle school).

PC: Mark Park

The group always met on Tuesdays during lunch in order to plan out their service. They mostly discussed the materials and the lesson agenda of the service day. They mainly focus on teaching the kids the ABC’s and basic English with various materials and methods such as matching cards, coloring letters, or counting objects. When looking at the lesson plan, they planned out the basic activities and presented the materials that they were going to use for service. Although going to the orphanage is only once a month, they still were able to teach efficiently.

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On the service day-which is every 2nd Saturday, everyone had to gather around the school about 12:00 and ride the school bus to there. During the ride, they were reviewing their lesson plans were readying themselves to sing the song, ‘Row, Row, Row your boat’. Surprisingly, when they arrived, many of the kids were inside the house, preparing themselves for their lesson. Immediately, the group gathered their materials and started their lesson with each kid assigned to one of the members.

Most of the time, the children were coloring in basic English letters that Stanley had prepared. During the lesson, they ran through several different activities that focused on the ABC’s such as coloring/matching the letters, flash cards, and writing it. Most of the kids were very focused and concentrated with their assigned tutor, hence they were able to finish at least one of the activities. After about 40 minutes of their activities, they were given milk, Oreos, and gummy bears to freshen up while finishing up their activities. As their age varied from 7-9 (Korean age), some were able to finish the activities very quickly while some were struggling. Despite the differences, they were still able to improve their English and interact a bit more with them.

Interview with Stanley Yang, leader of the club:

What made you start this club?

From middle school, I started this club called ‘volunteering drive’ where it was hosted by Mr.Corey in 7th-grade leadership class. After my friend and I found this orphanage, we made posters and videos to present what we did there in the one day service. As Mr.Kennedy was interested to expand our program, I started to communicate with the teachers and reached a decision where we would create a club for the orphanage. Now, we have 17 members

What are some improvements that you can aim for in this club?

So, basically, we are right now teaching the basis of English to these kids (about Kindergarten) such as ABC. We want to do more effective outside activities other than indoor activities. Also, we want to incorporate special holidays into the lesson or go to special places such as aquarium or other field trips to entertain the kids more.

What’s the ultimate goal of this club?

Our purpose is to raise awareness that there are people in the world yearning for love. Probably, there are other orphanage clubs like Suji Boys town or Geumsae, wants to raise the awareness of this matter. Not only high school but middle school and elementary can understand this issue as well.

What are some personal things that you learned or felt?

I will be honest with you, I established this program just for my own benefits like college applications. Throughout several services, I learned that helping people play a big significant role in the society. There will be more people in desperate situations that need our help, and right now, this is what I strive to do in order to at least participate and help out the society.  

How are you going to expand this club?

Currently, our service club is the only club that incorporates middle school and high school. So maybe, rather than weekly meetings, we want to try to go to the orphanage about 3-4 times a month. Also, we want to let other clubs or teachers work with us in service time. Furthermore, Charles Park (‘20) wanted to bring his music team to teach the kids about music or how to play the recorder.

– Mark Park (’20)

Things I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Self

KIS students reflect on their past.

As much as we contemplate on what to do with what’s ahead of us, we look back in regret of the decisions we made as children, perhaps impulsively and for sure unforeseeing how it will affect us today.

How incredible would it be to have a mirror that not only reflects you from now but you from yesterday and you from tomorrow?

Let’s see what advice students at KIS would like to give their younger selves.

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Unfortunately, time is not a force we can overpower. And after all, it’s hard to live a life with No Ragrets. And that’s why we’re evolutionary beings–we learn from our mistakes!



– Yoo Bin Shin (’18)

Photos by Clare Kwon (’18), Victoria Shin (’19), Kyle Son (’20)
Graphic by Neo Pak (’19)

New Faces at KIS

An introduction to the new faces at KIS.

As PSY says in his new hit song, “Hey we want some new face.” Seems like KIS has took a leap to make PSY’s dream come true as KIS, for the following 2017-2018 school year, has recruited new amazing teachers and students for a better environment! It is difficult to adjust to Korea especially coming from a non-Asian school including the culture and language. Let’s see what they have to say about Korea and about themselves!

Ms. Verick (AP Literature and 9th grade English teacher)

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PC: Clare Kwon (’18)

  • Introduce Yourself and where are you from?
    • My name is Mallory Verick and from Northern Illinois.
  • Where would you consider you safe haven in KIS?
    • I would consider my safe haven in KIS my very own classroom. I taught in Brazil before I moved here to Korea, and there, I didn’t have my own classroom. Having my own classroom makes me feel very comfortable.
  • Where is the place in Korea you want to go to the most?
    • Hiking is a very big hobby of mine, and anywhere that I’m able to hike I would like to go.
  • What’s your favorite deli food?
    • I’m vegetarian so favorite a specific “favorite” deli food is hard.
  • If you can teach another subject what would it be and why?
    • If I could teach another other subject it would definitely be related to music. I love playing the piano and guitar; I sing too! Before I lived in Brazil, I was practically fluent in Spanish but now I’m fluent in Portuguese; p.s. I have certification to teach Spanish!
  • What is a tip on how to survive your class?
    • Participate in discussions and do your reading! We just do the rest here in class. Especially for essays, find the pattern that fits your profile and writing style and get comfortable with that!
  • What are you the most excited about this year?
    • Traveling — anywhere and everywhere!

Mr. Dawson (Environmental Science and Physics teacher)

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PC: Clare Kwon (’18)

  • Introduce Yourself and where are you from?
    • Hi my name is Jonathan Dawson and I’m from Melvin, Australia.
  • Where would you consider you safe haven in KIS?
    • Because I don’t have a classroom to myself yet, I find myself the most comfortable in the staff room where it’s quiet.
  • Where is the place in Korea you want to go to the most?
    • I want to explore the culture of Korea so Gyeong Bok Dong palace in Seoul. Plus I heard that Everland and Caribbean Bay are very popular here. I’ve always been a huge Girls Generation fan so although it’s embarrassing, I want to go to one their concerts.
  • What’s your favorite deli food?
    • It would be the popular rice cup ONLY when it has beef. I don’t like the tuna rice cup, because I’m actually allergic to tuna.
  • If you can teach another subject what would it be and why?
    • I’m currently teaching Environmental Science and Physics. I taught Biology and Math a while back. I wouldn’t mind teaching any of these subjects mostly because they all incorporate looking at the big picture of the concept.
  • What is a tip on how to survive your class.
    • If you don’t understand something, ask for help.
  • What are you the most excited about this year?
    • Experiencing Korean culture.

Kristian Noll (’18)

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PC: Clare Kwon (’18)

  • Introduce yourself and where are you from?
    • Hi! My name is Kristian Noll, and I came from Germany. Before Germany, I lived in Pennsylvania.
  • Where would you consider your safe haven in KIS?
    • I would consider my safe haven in KIS next to Hannah McCullough, because she was the first person that introduced me to new aspects of KIS.
  • Where is the place in Korea you want to go to the most?
    • The place in Korea I want to go to the most would be the Olympics in Pyeongchang next year.
  • What’s your favorite deli food?
    • My favorite deli food is the sticky red bean bun. It’s a new food that I’ve tried since coming to Korea.
  • What is a tip on how to survive a class.
    • My tip whether it’s in KIS or in any other school is to work ahead.
  • What are you the most excited for this year.
    • I’m excited for graduation. (with Hannah McCullough)

Just like the rest of us are adjusting to the sudden changes of the cafeteria such as the second floor of the high school building, these new teachers and students need our help to fit into our community just like home. If you can, make sure to give a friendly hello and smile. We are excited for all the new teachers and students of 2017-2018 to become part of our “legacy.”

Not to forget, we also welcome Mr. Bisco, Ms. Kellar, Mr. Aulton, and other new students!

– Tae Young Uhm (’18)


Environmental Science: Stepping Out of the Classroom

Students apply environmental science to new realms–new classes, extracurricular activities, and EE-trips.

“Acing a rigorous test or getting a first hand experience? The latter gives me the thrills.” – Kevin Suk (’18)

KIS has steadily advocated a novel approach to learning: learning from doing. Over the few years, there is one course ahead of the game—Environmental Science.

Based on the foundational skills established from the AP Environmental Science class, Diana Koo (’18), Sarah Mirae Kim (’18), and Kevin Suk (’18), with Mr. Taylor, have together built a new class solely focused on Independent Research. The Independent Research class follows a distinctive curriculum in that it does not have one. Instead of referring to specific pages of textbooks or understanding specific theories, the class is about learning on the way—thus, undefined—and taking what they have learned the past year to understand and assess the real world. Kevin (’18) says, “The class is very free and full of creativity; our desire to apply what we learned in school to reality and thereby make a tangible difference allows us to stay motivated.” Throughout the year, the three students will each conduct their own researches on Seoul’s water, fully immersed in the opportunity to take the seed of their ideas, plant it, and feed it.

Apart from the school curriculum, the application of Environmental Science in KIS has been displayed by extracurricular activities—an active environmental club Green PEAS. Despite being an year-old club, Green PEAS has since broadened their sphere of influence; evident changes materialized in the school environment are integrating natural elements to remodel KIS and facilitating the recycling in classrooms. Kevin, founder of the club, says the club “aims to improve KIS’s environment and combine a variety of fields together using ‘green’ as a solute.” He emphasizes that Green PEAS in fact manifests interdisciplinary learning—“those interested in business [have sold] thousands of dollars worth of worm fertilizers, and those talented in designing [have created] bird houses to observe growth from shell to feathers.” At the end, actions taken by members of Green PEAS all come down to the unified willingness to bring change to the KIS environment with knowledge acquired from various subjects.

The passion for Environmental Science further escapes from the restricted boundaries of the school campus. Along with the traditional class Experiential Education trips, KIS now offers Experiential Education trips to K-Water reservoirs. Whereas the applied learning aspect may be a bit open-ended for regular EE trips, the trip to K-Water is an unquestionable application of more specified talent. Kevin adds, “The trip concentrates on doing in-depth analysis and research about the water quality of Korea and how it is regulated by scientists at K-water. We also conduct experiments on plant growth, nutrient run-off, and other topics that are impossible to be tested within the classroom environment. We are literally performing what we learned through the textbook in reality.”

– Yoo Bin Shin (’18)

Featured Image: Claire Yoon (’18)

Cliche but Not-So-Cliche Tips for a Successful School Year

Nervous about the new year? Have no fear! Here are seven tips directed towards just KIS students that will start you with a cringe but end you with nods of agreement and readiness.

  Regardless of whether you’re a fledgling freshman flying through the exciting doors of high school for the first time or you’re a stressed-out senior already irritated by the Common App essay deadline that awaits you, whether you’re new and lost or completely sick of this school, the beginning of the school year is usually intimidating. You’re given a blank canvas: a blank Powerschool, blank knowledge on most of your courses, a blank piece of paper that every teacher hands out, asking you to make a name tag because they’re not good with names—but something more that too. You’re given a clean slate on which you can not only draw out a new roadmap for your school year and plan accordingly to your new teachers and courses, but also diverge from your initial scheme and go totally different directions, experiment, and adjust to change in the new school year.

Every year Buzzfeed and Youtube and advice columns provide you with “Back-to-School” advice on how to survive high school relationships, how to boost your self-confidence, what to wear on the first day, what workout routines you should put yourself into to amaze everyone on the first day (of course),  but these tips are often nebulous, abstract, and hard to relate to. But have no fear! Here are 10 cliche but not-so-cliche tips from a senior directed towards just KIS students that will start you with a cringe but end you with nods of agreement and readiness.

1.pngLunch: that word just stimulates my good spirits. If you grab a student in high school randomly in the H3 hallway and ask “When’s your favorite time of the school day?” he or she will most likely say “Lunch” or perhaps “Autonomous”. This is natural, because lunch is like an oasis, setting you free from the exhaustions of A,B or E,F blocks, and recharging you to full battery before the heat of later blocks overcome you until the end of the day. Most people spend their lunch time devouring a nutritious meal, but that’s not your only option. You can grab a rice cup from the deli and chill with your friends at the back of the library. If you want to be the diligent student you are even during lunch, you can seek available teachers for help or study quietly in the new second floor area. Whatever you do is up to you, but make sure you recharge because lunch time is golden time.


2.pngA traffic jam that can be compared to that of Los Angeles is the KIS High School traffic jam. Due to the inundation of people in the hallway as soon as the bell rings, passing time is a nightmare for most. However, if you choose your route wisely, not only will you save time, but also prevent yourself from being stepped on by a herd of students. The most handy methods of getting to class are using the back stairs, entering the G3 back door, and walking outside. Back stairs of the high school and G building are incomparably less dense than the main stairs; however, one thing to note is that those stairs are famous for attracting couples who seek privacy—if you want to see less people but more PDA, the back stairs are just for you. Entering the G building through the G3 back door is often useful because instead of having to storm up the steep G building stairs, you can easily stroll up the hill. Walking outside is a similar idea: along with avoiding a human stampede, you can save your energy by walking on a flat surface instead of a set of inclined stairs, and also maybe feel the tickling breeze or the tingling sunlight.


3.pngSouth Korea—it is ranked one of the highest in the world in terms of the best education system. With an established education system comes competition. Although KIS is not a Korean public school, competition among students is found ubiquitously in all aspects—grades, athletics, awards, etc. As much as competition is essential for personal motivation and ultimately academic success, comparing yourself with others is never healthy. You are you, and she is her. She is her, and he is him. You may think she’s more attractive, he’s better at AP Physics than you, she plays three Varsity sports while you play none, she received two awards at the end of the year, and the list goes on, but you have characteristics that make you special. Those characteristics are definitely different, but those characteristics are definitely there. After all, every star is unique, but they all shine at one point in time.


4.pngIn my opinion, the single most cliche statement I hear all the time is “Find something you’re passionate about”. Not only is the phrase cliche and overused, but my initial response to that statement as a teenager was “How?”— “How can I suddenly find what I’m passionate about?”. But it really clicked when I actually started involving myself in various different activities; you may or may not be enthralled by it, but you must give it a try in order for you to decide. Try out for the tennis team. Enter the Poetry Out Loud Competition. Sign up for Patio on Fire. Beyond the walls of the school, look for service opportunities and do what you enjoy. When the time arrives, you’ll catch yourself fully absorbed in something you can finally call your “passion”.


5.pngThat we humans crave routine is a fact supported by numerous psychological studies. We are animals of routine, accustomed to conducting a series of actions repeatedly due to the comfort the familiarity provides. Establishing a morning or night routine benefits our lifestyle in many ways, but the biggest advantage is an improvement in time management and control of our life in general. Consider this: between Maria who gets home from cross country practice everyday, showers at 6pm, eats dinner at 6:30 pm, starts homework at 7:30pm, and goes to bed at 10, and Jennifer who gets home from volleyball practice and watches TV at 6pm on some days and starts sleeping on others, who lives in a more organized, structure manner? Flexibility is a key component that we have to embed into our lives; however, a balance between routines and flexibility is what will open the doors to a healthy high school life.


6.pngHaving piles and piles of friends is great, but if your relationship with them are shallow and disconnected, what is the point? High school is a time for change and new discoveries; whether you like it or not, you are prone to go through a transformation of some sort, whether it be in terms of  personality, physicality or  interests. Finding a friend who will support your choices, encourage the changes you make, and appreciate you as you will go beyond the traditional role of a friend. Having many relationships may increase the number of likes on your Instagram picture or the number of snapchat streaks, but the need to maintain and manage those relationships will add to your exhaustion already piled up from school work. Hence, devote yourself in a few strong relationships with people whom you can rely on, you are comfortable with, and you know will always be on your side. Quality over quantity.


7.pngIn the tip above, the emphasis is placed within the parentheses. Play hard within reason. The balance between working and playing is important—it is an irrefutable fact—but realization of your current position is critical as well. At this age, at least in Korea, you are expected to learn: that’s how society has been shaped over the several decades. Rather than complaining and rambling about your status, simply embrace it. Remember you’ll only be a high schooler once in your life, but also that you’ll only be applying to college once! Make the most out of it.

Whatever choice you make, wherever you take yourself, be brave and bold. After all, whatever you decide to put on the new canvas given to you, regardless of whether it’s a straight line or a scribble, when you look back, it will be art–a spectacular work of art.–

– Hannah Kim (’18)

Graphics by Neo Pak (’19)

NHD Recap

On February 25th, passionate students from all over Korea gathered in KIS for a special annual event: NHD. Follow Blueprint throughout a series of interviews.

Featured Image: Sammie Kim (’18)

While most students slept in late on the Saturday morning of February 25th, taking time to relax after the tiring school week, some made their way to KIS early in the morning, bracing themselves for a day of competition that would mark an end to months of work. These students had worked on either a paper, website, documentary, performance or exhibit that illustrates an event or movement in world history and presents a thesis about it to participate in something called NHD: National History Day. Ranging from 6th to 12th graders, every participant strived to challenge their research and historical analysis skills, exploring a unique topic that genuinely interested them and applying it using a personal asset such as drama, art, or film.

The event progressed smoothly and ended in a success- all thanks to some of the key contributors who were able to make this competition possible. Along with Ms. Gillette, the KIS NHD club took major initiative this year by not only organizing the NHD history bowl but also managing the Korea NHD website and making various posters and pamphlets. Moreover, the NHS club helped out, making sure the day was fluid by directing the participants and judges find their way around the school. Blueprint interviewed multiple people for a well-rounded balance of perspectives on the event:


  1. Ms. Gillette (Head Organizer for NHD Korea competition)

In what aspects can NHD challenge and develop a student, apart from historical knowledge?

“In addition to increasing their knowledge of history, NHD helps students develop solid research, writing and presentation skills which can be used in any class they take, even in university! “

What is your favorite part about NHD?

“My favorite part of NHD is all the different topics the students come up with to fit the yearly theme. Even as a teacher, I learn something new every year.”

Why should more students participate in NHD?

“More students should participate in NHD because: 1) the skills they learn are very helpful 2) they have a chance to go to America and compete against students from all over the world and I would love to see more KIS students each year and 3) history is fun!”

Do you have any other words for students who participated this year?

“I would like to thank all the KIS students who participated this year. I am very proud of them for working so hard on their entries. I hope to see them all back next year!”


  1. Edward Hwang (KIS NHD Club officer)

What are your impressions of 2017 NHD?

“I think the best part about this year was how the KIS students took initiative to help run the event, such as by spending hours to devise the questions for the history bowl, which was pretty amazing.

How do you think NHD club specifically helped out in organizing the event?

“Most schools, though I’m not sure about SIS or SFS, don’t really have a club solely dedicated to managing NHD, since Ms. Gillette has always been around as the head. And even before she came around, it was Mr. Yanuszeski who took the lead to organize NHD.  But as a club, we strived to improve it. We try to set NHD apart from other events because there are not that many humanities related competition in Korea. And I feel this year, the opening ceremony also ran more smoothly than last year’s.”


  1.  Roger Han (KIS NHD Club officer)

What are your impressions of 2017 NHD?

“Compared to last year’s NHD, it was great how the club officers and members really got to help out to organize the event. I would say we had a greater sense of achievement.”

How do you think NHD club specifically helped out in organizing the event?

“We did all the background work; to put it quite frankly, most of the ‘dirty work.’ Ms. Gillette was obviously in charge; we helped out with sorting the categories out, organizing the history bowl and carts for the contestants, and just making sure the competition runs smoothly.”


  1. Selena Kim (NHD website 1st place winner)

What are your impressions of 2017 NHD?

“NHD helped me become more aware of how concrete events in history still influence the world today and how deep of a context historical events can have. I never thought of myself as much of a history person but NHD helped open up a portal that allows me to look at history at a larger, interconnected scale.”

What would be your advice for future NHD competitors?

“The greatest piece of advice I can give to future NHD competitors is to choose a topic that genuinely interests you. Since the most authentic work always sprouts from true interest, a topic that is unique to the person will surely make the best work.”


  1. Jenny Chung (NHS volunteer for NHD)

How was your experience with 2017 NHD?

“I actually went to the Nationals last year with a couple of other KIS students. But this year, as an NHS member, I decided to volunteer and help out managing the event. I honestly didn’t get to see anything else other than the exhibits, but I was clearly shocked at the scale. It was way better than what I initially anticipated. In the Junior exhibits, I remember seeing a project with a monitor, and it looked like an [actual] museum, which really shocked me, and there was [also] one from SIS that was really well done. From the ones in our school, JJ’s and Jaemin’s really caught my interest.”


While not everyone got to go home with a medal by the end of the day, it was clear that they all walked away with a special experience: a vibrant celebration of learning.

-Sammie Kim (’18) & Jisoo Hope Yoon (’19)



AP Reassurance

Are you worried about your future APs? Find out how your upperlassmen think about their current AP classes!!

Dear suffermores and potential freshmen,

Throughout middle school and the start of high school, we’ve always feared this year. The year where sleep is no longer in our definition and the overflowing stress eats us alive: junior year aka hell year. Yet, we also get a lot more freedom in choosing our courses allowing us to somewhat appreciate our junior year. The problem with this freedom is that selecting our own courses gives us both anxiety and independence. As the first month of 2017 comes to an end, it’s also time to turn in our course registration form. You’re a struggling suffermore and after a long hard thought of what AP courses you want to take, you confidently turn in your course form. But even with that, you still have a feeling of concern in the APs you chose? BUT don’t worry about a thing! Here are some amazing words of consultation from your lovely upperclassmen for you and your AP course registration.


Although it is known to be one of the easier APs, you shouldn’t underestimate an AP course. AP Envi has an average AP score of 2.59! But keep in mind that this is the average score in the US. You only need a 75% in order to get a 5.

You get to know more about Korea and what is going on in the world. It is an interesting class as we get to figure out how the earth is formed and how it functions. Not only do we go in depth about the earth, but we also examine the living organisms in certain areas.ith it being a visualizing class, the course allows what you learn to be embedded into your head quite well. In this class, my favorite part is it’s hands on activity such as looking through microscopes and going on school trips. AP Environmental Science isn’t my favorite course, but it is still a course where I get a lot of information. And I’m growing to love it!

-Paul Song (’18)

Unlike most other AP classes, AP Environmental Science is a course that requires a lot of hands-on work. For example, during our water unit, we visited the Tancheon River to collect samples that we used to analyse the quality of the water. One aspect of the class that I really appreciate is that Mr. Taylor helps us understand how the concepts we learn in class are applicable to the real world. This allows us to be aware that these environmental problems are relevant and very much prevalent in our society, which makes it easier to truly understand these concepts. Mr. Taylor’s very passionate about this subject, and he would do anything to further your interests and passions in this area, so I would advise those interested in taking this class to approach him and ask him for help if you want to advance your knowledge in environmental science (especially if it’s something of your personal interest!)

-Sally Hong (’18)

4There had to be two teachers for AP Lang this year because so many students signed up.

AP Lang is  a class that destroys your self esteem, but as you overcome those obstacles, it shapes you to become a better writer.


As much as it is an English class, AP Language is an opportunity to truly get to know yourself. You’re given chances to reflect on who you are through projects such as the MGP. Now it’s your choice whether you take these risks or not, but if you do, I can assure you that AP Lang will be a very memorable and valuable class.

– Samantha Kim (18’)

7 AP Capstone is one of the newer courses as it was introduced to KIS last year. Every Capstone student always emphasizes the usefulness of the class in everyday life and other classes.

More than a class, AP Capstone Seminar is better described as a platform for your passions. We are given a lot of freedom in choosing what we want to research and what approach we want to take– something that is specific to this class and a part of the class that I really value and appreciate. If I were to give a few tips to students that are interested in taking this class next year, I’d tell them not to feel restricted about what they can research on. There are so many options you can explore that it’s a waste to write a paper on something you’re not interested in.

-Sally Hong (’18)

5We do about 5 labs during the first semester and it helps the students visualize concepts learned in class as they are directly related. 

AP Chem is a class where there are a lot of formulas, and a lot of labs are done. Throughout this course, it’s very important to ask Dr. Cuthbertson (the chem teacher) a lot of questions if a concept isn’t understood because the pace in  class is very fast. Not to mention, the regular Chemistry subject really helped, so listen to Mr. Joo and Mr. Taylor! Don’t just memorize the math formula but also try to understand how the process works.

-Michelle Kwon ’18

unnamedThis course also incorporates biology at the beginning. There are always new ways to learn in this class such as games.

AP Psychology changed me, changed my life, and changed the way I see the world. Ms. Hawkinson is the most wonderful teacher I’ve ever met, and I promise you, she is there to help you in both academic and non curricular aspects. READ, follow her instructions, have a positive mindset, and you’re good to go! 🙂 (Remember that you have upperclassmen like cough, me Sara Kim, cough who are more than willing to help you out!)

-Sara Kim (’18)

I really enjoyed the course and definitely recommend it if you like learning about people and why we behave the way we do. It’s a very interesting class that isn’t only based on textbook reading and tests, but has a lot of projects and in class activities to enhance your learning, so if you’re into “hands on” learning this is the class for you. For tips I’d just say don’t fall behind with the readings; their assigned for a reason, so that by the end of the year or each unit you won’t have to study that much for the test, since you’ve already been learning cumulatively throughout the course. You’ll also learn a lot about yourself through this course!

-Juliet Miinalainen (’17)

6There’s an extra credit project every year where you make a music video about an Economy concept! It’s really enjoyable and who doesn’t want extra credit?

It’s not a basic core subject but expands on how you think. It won’t be a easy course for those who can’t change their perspective and strategies on how you think, but it makes you think more practically. Econ has seriously changed me as a person.

-Elizabeth Lee (‘18)

AP Econ may seem easy for students at first, and it may stay that way for some, but it may also turn into a very challenging course, so you need to study and actively listen to the lectures if you want to do well in class.  You guys have a new teacher next year so I don’t know how different or similar things will be. Graphs seem really complicated at first, but it gets easier. But for some people the graphs will stay complicated. Econ’s not math or science of anything like that so don’t think like that.

-San Yun (18’)

1Every single class usually opens with content questions where discussions are held about the reading from the previous night.

It’s a very self driven class with every class opening with “content questions” which are obtained from the reading homework we have each class. In this class, you’re independent and have to make sure you read every single night or you get lost. This is because we usually write APUSH style essays related to homework from the night before and etc. Even if you’re not a history person, it is very interesting to learn the different aspects of what happened through America over the years, especially since Trump became president this year.

– Anon

APUSH is a course where you have to stay on top of things. You have to stay on course with your reading, and it’s very helpful if you read a little ahead. AMSCO is also a book you should consider buying as it gives short concise summaries of the chapters, although it is good to read the textbook for more specific details. This course isn’t just about memorizing facts, so this course is suitable for the history lovers.

– Michelle Kwon (’18)

The letters AP sound quite alarming and intimidating, but there’s a lot more to them than the GPA. Strive for the courses you truly have interest in! Enjoy your classes and have fun. And most importantly, if you have questions, ask them!!! Feel free to reach out to the upperclassmen for some words of wisdom anytime and anywhere. 🙂 *we aren’t as scary as we look*


Your upperclassmen

– Tae-Young Uhm (’18)

SEOMUN XIX: An Achievement of Young Minds

Providing an insight into diverse student experiences of SEOMUN and the famed ICJ.

From November 24th to 26th, hundreds of students from different international schools gathered to participate in the 19th annual SEOMUN conference hosted by Seoul Foreign School (SFS). Yet, there was one evident difference—the location. For the first time, the conference was held at not the Coex but the Ilsan KINTEX center. Despite the change in location, SEOMUN remained the very in terms of endless passion, active exchange, and fruitful debate of young intellects.

Yet in the conference rooms of KINTEX were not only students participating SEOMUN as delegates to represent countries, to draft, resolutions, and to debate on worldly issues. For the conference being completely student-run, students partook in the conference with varying roles. Students took leadership. The executive secretariats as well as chairs were completely composed of students who often had prior experience of MUN. In fact, there were two media teams, Seoulite and SEOTV, dedicated solely on publishing updates on the three days of the conference by press and video respectively. Not to forget, the littleluns who have the most integral responsibilities of passing notes and counting votes are also students. Attending the same conference yet witnessing it with such varying roles, SEOMUN participants are likely to have widely different experiences.

How was your experience of SEOMUN as a ____?

General Assembly II Delegate: Elizabeth Choi (‘18)

“This year was my second year participating in a SEOMUN conference.Through this year’s conference, I realized that all the committees were truly different, not only in terms of the issues discussed but also cooperation among delegates. Frankly speaking, SEOMUN XIX was an opportunity for reflection for me both as a student and a delegate. Because the committee size was grand, it was quite difficult for me to fit in and find a place to passionately contribute my ideas. Although it was thrilling to see the heated debates and speeches among other delegates, I felt that the more the conference progressed, the more I lost my place in the committee, especially due to my absence on the second day. But don’t get me wrong. The delegates of General Assembly II were cooperative and one of the most enthusiastic group of people I have met during the different conferences I have attended. Furthermore, I noticed that all delegates, especially those in my lobbying group, had great leadership and never ceased to ask questions for feedback. I was often amazed at how supportive, confident, and bold each delegate was when he/she came up to the podium. All in all, this year’s SEOMUN XIX was a great chance for me to observe and learn from other delegates as well as a chance to look back on my personal MUN progress. I wish that next year, I can participate in a slightly smaller committee so that I can contribute more to the conference.”

Security Council President: Geo Han (‘17)

“My experience as a chair was like a culmination of my five years of experience in MUN. However, I felt the pressure of perfecting every procedure to provide the best experience for all the delegates in Security Council since they are the elites of MUN and also because this was my last conference. The level of debate was exceptionally high for all of the delegates conducted thorough research ahead of time, and all I did was guide them throughout and remind them of the protocols of MUN. It also felt surreal for me since I was in the exact same spot 2 years ago as a delegate of Security Council. It felt a little weird seeing myself in the same committee, but in a different position. All in all, I believe I can call this year’s SEOMUN the best conference I’ve ever participated in with all the helpful delegates and thoughtful co-chairs Grace Lee and Jennifer Rhee.”

Seoulite Reporter: Kristin Kim (‘20)

“As a reporter, I definitely had a much more relaxed time because as long as I handed my drafts in on time, I could go to whichever committee and watch yet not participate. Although I was a little stressed when I got writer’s block while writing an introduction for one of my POI articles, I genuinely enjoyed being a reporter. The best part was that the Seoulite room had so many snacks, so I ate a lot while I was there. Seoulite is composed mostly of SIS students, and luckily they were all very nice too, so when i was struggling, I knew that I could ask anybody (including the KIS juniors!) for help.”

SEOTV Editor: Joey Park (‘18)

“My experience as a SeoTV editor was phenomenal. Of course, there were moments where I hoped I signed up as a camera man rather than an editor, however the hard work paid off eventually. I enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment even if the result ended up not the way I had in mind. SeoTV offered multiple challenges, and these challenges that I faced as an editor raised the feeling of accomplishment, which I would like to experience again! Although the final video seemed to contain many errors, it was perfect to me.”

ICJ Report

For more than 4 generations of SEOMUN, KIS has dominated at one specific committee: the famed International Court of Justice(ICJ). Known for its peculiar proceedings that vastly differ from the other committees in the conference, ICJ throughout the years has come to be known as one of the most prestigious committees. Unlike other committees that discuss resolutions for global problems, the ICJ instead focuses on righting international wrongs. For example, this year the ICJ’s Advisory Opinion was the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organisation upon a Complaint Filed against the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the anticipated Court Case was Questions relating to the Obligation to Prosecute or Extradite (Belgium v. Senegal). The set-up of ICJ is very much like that of a Mock Trial; there are advocates defending each position, witnesses that provide in-depth analyses of the topic at hand, and judges that determine the final verdict. But for the KIS ICJ Chairs, Judges, Witnesses, and Advocates, who by the way won the Belgium v. Senegal court case, ICJ is much more than just a simulation of real world problems.

ICJ President: Suahn Hur (‘18)

“International Court of Justice. The grand title of this committee intimidated me since my first experience in it as an advocate for SEOMUN 2015. This year for SEOMUN 2016, however, I had the grand honor of serving as a president, which, regardless of the committee, is a pressuring position to take in the world of Model UN. As a president, my role greatly varied from other chairs in the entire conference as I had the role of a judge within the actual court of justice. From training advocates on court procedures months ahead of the conference to ruling objections during trial, it has been an excruciating process both mentally and physically. However, watching the judges and advocates fiercely voice their opinions in the committee room was rewarding nonetheless. Close interactions between the chairs and the judges and advocates prior to the conference, which I define to be the most unique quality of ICJ, enhanced my experience from ICJ overall, and I cannot be more thankful for having been able to lead such a special committee this year!”

ICJ Deputy Assistant President: Sally Hong (‘18)

“From the procedures to the issues we debate on, the fundamental nature of ICJ vastly differs from that of other committees. This year, the judges debated on the legitimacy of a decision made by the ILO Tribunal where they had to discuss the legal identity and relationship of the different pertinent parties. They not only had to debate on the issue as a whole, but they also had to weigh the evidence that they would use to come to a conclusion, taking into consideration the credibility and possible biases. The advocates, on the other hand, debated on Senegal’s obligation to persecute Hissène Habré. Even though there were a few minor disputes and heated arguments beyond the typical “healthy, fruitful discussions”, judges and advocates were still able to see past these problems to focus on their responsibilities as “delegates” of a major international court, which I was very relieved to see.”

ICJ Advocate: Leanne Kim (‘19)

“Being an ICJ advocate was an experience that I think was vastly different from other MUN committees, because it held a different value. Instead of a standard conference procedure, we followed a mock trial procedure that grew very heated and intense. It’s especially different in terms of the specifics– the entering of evidence, objections, direct examinations and cross examinations. Though I value both standard MUN and ICJ, I think ICJ holds a different aspect of debate and speech, where you deal with a specific international dispute between two or more nations.  Overall, ICJ was an experience that was really exciting and intense!”

ICJ Witness: Sara S Kim (‘18)

“Having been a mock trial witness and through my time onstage as an actress, I was very confident of my knowledge and skills. Soon after the preparation process began, I realized that I was back at square one; I had a lot to learn after all the experience I had. The objection rules were different, an unbelievable amount of content knowledge was required, and on top of that, I had responsibilities in my own committee, Six Party Talks, as a main submitter.  Nevertheless, with the support of my ICJ partners and thorough preparation, I walked into the court room with a newfound confidence. Was it hard? Yes. Was it stressful? Of course. But do I regret it? No. Was the achievement worth all the hassle? Absolutely. The strange sensation of thrilling satisfaction in midst of palpable tension—that’s why I loved (and still love) ICJ.”

For these excited MUNers, ICJ is a culmination of months and years of preparation throughout every debate prep and theatre rehearsal. For these MUNers, ICJ is the ultimate stage where they can showcase their impassioned worldviews and their eloquent delivery. So next year in SEOMUN XX, take the time to stop by ICJ. The sight you see will leave you in awe.


Single-Sex vs. Co-ed Education

It has been hotly debated: Single-sex education or Co-ed Schools?

“I want my son to realize that women have roles in society as well.”

“I don’t want my daughters to have a phobia against men when they grow up.”

These are some of the common arguments from parents who are against single-sex education. In fact, the growing disdain towards same-sex education contributes to the recent decline of single-sex education : over the past three decades, according to the Guardian, the number of single-sex state school declined from 2,500 to just over 400 while 130 schools in the UK do not offer it. 

In spite of the numerous advantages given by proponents of single-sex education, there is an increasing number of people who defy them. Diane Halpern, former president of  American Psychological Association, claimed that segregating females and males not only “foster sexism and stereotypes” but also proves futile; there is no concrete evidence that substantiates the widely held belief that single-sex education yields benefits. For instance, an analysis of 184 studies that tested 1.6 million students from 21 nations failed to discover any advantages of single-sex education.


An interesting perspective brought forth by a staff columnist for the Daily Campus, Alex Oliveira also brought into question on whether or not single-sex education bridges the gap in gender decisions on STEM careers. Oliveira describes such education as an “oversimplification” that “ignores the fact that all students are individuals” who learn all differently. She further goes on to argue that dividing girls and boys will confuse the divisions in their “expectations for each other” since we are in fact establishing a set goal for the genders: girls to STEM and boys to arts. Another obvious argument is futuristic: if students do not engage in works with the opposite sex, they will not be able to cope when in the workplace. Canberra Grammar School (CGS) and other single-sex schools have recently transitioned to co-ed for the purposes of the future.

As a student who has attended a girls school in Australia for several years, I find the arguments of those who are against somewhat ludicrous. While attending Canberra Girls Grammar School (CGGS), I was able to develop strong interests in a variety of subjects including maths, creative writing, and textiles; the upperclassmen there have taken up even careers such as mechanical engineering  and actuarial studies after they enrolled in a building class at CGGS.


As classrooms are orientated for girls, they engender affinity and understanding for one another as they participate much more actively. Of course, when transitioning to a coed school, it was difficult to adapt to having both genders. However, it was not that bad of a transition because I had opportunities in and out of school to interact and work with males, and I think this is where most miss the point: going to a single sex school doesn’t mean you are completely precluded from the opposite gender. You can still have numerous outside of school activities that you can participate in, and even activities at school. For example, CGGS interacts with the boys’ school several times a year in musical festivals, formals, and other collaborative activities.

There’s a lot less to worry about since you didn’t have to be as careful as you would have to be in a coed school. Even if you get in a verbal fight, things were settled within minutes…we had much tighter bonds than guys do in coed school since we went through a lot together and I still miss this brotherhood.” —Geo Han (’17), student who attended all-boys school. 

When asked to Karen Kim (‘18), who attended a girl’s boarding school, maintained that she disliked the school. Karen noted that while many believe that it is safer to attend a single sex school (especially for girls), she disagrees. Others who were interviewed repeated the idea of “dullness” without both genders. However, for mothers, it is divergent as they hold strongly to the belief that it is better and safer for their kids to go to single sex schools.


As the gap between those who are for and against single-sex education enlarges, it is vital for us to take into account both sides of the case. Even though coed schools may be advantageous to those of single sex, there is no doubt that there are still people who prefer single-sex education over co-ed. So what do we do?

We should not diminish single sex education and those who do attend them. There are students who prefer them and others who don’t; it all depends on their personality traits and learning styles.

—Sarah Se-Jung Oh (’19)