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Keen to learn . . . South Korean pupils get some fresh air at Mountainview High School.PHOTO: CHRIS TOBIN

by Chris Tobin

The day after arriving in New Zealand last week, a group of South Korean pupils were sitting down to an examination at Timaru’s Mountainview High School – but it will not be all work during their three-week stay.

Mountainview’s international student director John Wilson said other schools had said they were crazy running a three-week programme for the pupils outside of school time.

“It’s not all about profit; it’s about sharing our culture.”

The 32 pupils, aged 10 to 18, arrived last Thursday and will be based at the school. They were having lessons in mathematics, drama and science but the main purpose of the visit was to immerse them in a new culture and improve their English.

Every Saturday during their stay there will be fun activities including a trip to Tekapo, then to Oamaru and Moeraki, and finally, a day at Caroline Bay.

The Auckland agent who helped organise the visit, Valentina Koo, said she worked in partnership with Korean company, Sollute Ltd, to arrange the visit and approached Mountainview High School.

“It is actually easier to run this in Auckland where I’m based but there are a lot of Koreans there.

“This company [Sollute] did not want them to go where there are a lot of Koreans, they want to give the children the chance to speak English.

“The first time I arranged students to go to Te Aroha College in the North Island, the headmaster there advised me to contact Mountainview High School.

“We had very good feedback in Te Aroha and we intend to come to Mountainview three times a year; we’ll be coming again in February and July.

relationship and, if it’s successful, we could work something with Opihi College also.”

Mr Wilson said there was a lot of work involved with organising homestays, making sure the pupils were happy and safe, and ensuring the school was meeting expectations.

“It’s hard work but it’s good fun, too.”

Mountainview High School also regularly hosts school groups from Japan and Thailand.