A Day in the Life of a Heungdeok High School Student

by Tiffany Chu


The biggest highlight of my Autumn Camp was seeing our school film come together in less than one week. I asked for student volunteers to step up and take the lead on this project, and I was lucky enough to get five passionate & dedicated campers + one non-camper, who was the man behind the seamless camerawork. My vision for this project was to have campers consider the most important elements of Heungdeok student life and condense these ideas into one video that they could share with their homestay families this winter break and ultimately, anyone who is curious to see what Korean students are involved in outside of their traditional academic classes. I’ll never forget the mornings in my English classroom spent reviewing filming schedule and our afternoons spent running all around school making sure we didn’t miss anything. I met our school’s award-winning shooting team for the first time (one of the members is currently participating in the 2015 Asian Games) and galloped on invisible horses across the soccer field with my film team. I was mistaken for a student countless times by other teachers and at one point actually donned a student blazer for a scene that didn’t make it into the final video. I’ll never forget the look of horror on a 3rd grade student’s face when he walked by in the middle of us filming a student leader stopping me in the hallway tensely and with a small push to inform me that my hair was out of dress code. :’D
Through each of my 24 campers, I was reminded once again of why I came to Korea in the first place — to discover the many facets of Korean students that are often overshadowed by their portrayal in books and news articles as one-dimensional study machines. I fell in love with my students over the course of two short weeks, as they invited me into their lives and revealed their incredible talents and creativity. These are students who have a passion to explore the world. Yet, they are each uniquely fearless enough not to lose sight of who they are in doing so. Though my students all wear the same uniforms and may look similar on the outside, they are people with diversely beautiful dreams and the self-determination to get them there. I am so proud of the work we accomplished during autumn camp!