Daewon Foreign Language High School

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Daewon Foreign Language High School
Daewon Foreign Language High School.png
Koreans Branching Around the World

세계로 뻗는 품격높은 한국인이 된다
Seoul, South Korea
Type Private school, Day school
Religious affiliation(s) none
Established 1984
Principal Kim Il-hyung (김일형)
Faculty approx. 85
Grades 10-12
Enrollment approx. 1,250
Average class size 32 students
Student to teacher ratio 14:1
Campus City
Annual tuition $5,000[1]
Tree Wisteria
Flower Lilac
Song 대원이여 영원하라
Student publication Daewon Beacon

Daewon Foreign Language High School (also known as Daewon, or Daewon FLHS; Hangeul: 대원외국어고등학교, 대원외고; Hanja: 大元外國語高等學校) is a private college preparatory school located in Seoul, South Korea.

Daewon, along with Daeil Foreign Language High School, is one of the first foreign language high schools in South Korea

Daewon's curriculum is centered on the specialized education of various European and Asian languages. Students choose one primary language as a major from Chinese, French, Japanese, Spanish, or German to study during their three years at the school. Korean and English are mandatory subjects, regardless of which focus language students choose when entering the school. There does exist, however, an English department with submajors in Spanish, Japanese and Chinese.

Like most schools in Korea, Daewon starts its school year in March, starts its second semester in September, and ends the school year in February. There is a weeklong spring break in mid-February.

Daewon is one of the four schools run by the Daewon Education Foundation, all of which share a campus in Junggok-dong, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul.

The school's primary language of instruction is Korean.



Dr. Lee Won Hee, Founder

Daewon was founded in 1984 by Dr. Lee Won Hee, then an executive director at Samsung subsidiary Cheil Jedang. Lee had submitted plans for a private foreign language school to the government in 1982, beginning construction of the prospective school's campus expecting the charter to be approved. But when the Ministry of Education rejected his proposal, Daewon Girls' High School was established to take the place of the language school. The following year, however, Daewon's charter was approved, along with that of Daeil Foreign Language High School, and in 1984, the two opened their doors as the first two foreign language high schools in Korea.

Daewon did not have a school uniform for the first few years of its existence, and the distinctive blue blazer and khaki slacks would not be put in place until later.


In 2011, Daewon put into effect an entirely new admissions procedure that effectively superseded the admissions examination. The change was mandated by a government directive that required all Special Purpose High Schools to select students based on a uniform two-step procedure that involved middle school English subject scores and a brief interview. The new system eliminated the English listening examination that had been the centerpiece of the previous admissions system, in addition to forbidding the school from considering students based on scores from other subjects or extracurricular achievements. This change followed another government mandate, which had in 2010 limited the area from which the school could receive applications to within the bounds of the capital city, Seoul.

These mandates were part of President Lee Myung-bak's education policy, which aimed to expand access to specialized secondary education. The policy has met with mixed results and reactions: while more students from financially challenged families could enter Daewon under the new quota system, the new system has also been widely criticized for being unable to accurately assess applicants' language abilities, since it is blind to certified language tests such as the TOEFL examination. The school continues to accept athletically gifted students with exceptional abilities in golf without regard for academic performance.


The Daewon faculty includes graduates of various Korean universities as well as a small number of foreign instructors who teach Chinese, French, Spanish, German, and English conversation classes. Current and former GLP teachers include graduates of Harvard University, Princeton University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Virginia, Stanford University, Duke University, Cornell University, Columbia University, Williams College and the University of Michigan.[2]


Academic tracks[edit]

There are two academic tracks at Daewon FLHS, the Korean curriculum ("domestic") track and the Global Leadership Program ("international") track. Students are required to choose between the two upon application, but track transfers are permitted, though rare. In accordance with government mandates, the two tracks are now integrated, meaning that track divisions do not fall on department lines. The class of 2013 was the last class to be divided strictly upon track lines, with international track students forming the English department and domestic track students comprising the other language departments at Daewon. The domestic-international track ratio is approximately 6:1.

Korean curriculum track[edit]

The majority of the school's students are enrolled in the Korean curriculum track, where they prepare for entrance into Korea's top universities, such as Seoul National University, Yonsei University and Korea University. Preparation involves rigorous cramming for the CSAT examination, as well as training for the nonsul examination, a written examination similar to the SAT's essay section. As Korean universities strengthen their emphasis on extracurricular activities and extracurricular academic achievement, domestic track students are beginning to emulate their peers in the Global Leadership Program (GLP), engaging in various club activities and preparing for Advanced Placement examinations.

Global Leadership Program (GLP)[edit]

Daewon FLHS hosts the Global Leadership Program (GLP), a special academic block scheduling course intended to prepare students for colleges abroad. The Global Leadership Program is run on a sign-up basis: students may choose to take GLP courses after regular school hours in addition to the Korean-language curriculum offered by the school. GLP courses are centered on critical and academic use of the English language, with classes such as English Literature, Critical Reading, Speech & Debate, and English Composition. However, additional voluntary courses that cover academic disciplines ranging from Mathematics to Psychology are also offered. Themes covering a wide array of other academic disciplines such as International Relations and Philosophy are also discussed and covered in regular GLP classes. These classes are taught almost exclusively by distinguished foreign instructors with degrees from schools such as Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, Cornell University, University of California, Williams College, and other prestigious American colleges, and are operated on a very rigorous basis. It is not unusual for students to spend six to eight hours per day to complete reading and writing assignments, and students are expected to meet the highest academic standards.

The Global Leadership Program was launched in 1998 as the Study Abroad Plan (SAP), but has since changed its name. However, GLP's tradition is one that cannot be ignored: GLP is the largest and oldest preparatory program for high school students intending to study overseas in Korea as of current, with approximately 250 current students and almost a thousand graduates. It is also the most successful, having consistently sent the most students to the best schools in the world.

Although Daewon does not follow the AP or the IB curriculum, GLP courses are intended to be comparable in depth and rigor to such classes. Most GLP students study for AP Exams in their own time. The most popular was the Calculus BC Exam, and 52 of the 63 students who took the exam scored a 5.

As of June 2006, the average SAT Reasoning Test score (75 students tested) was 1485 on the 1600 scale and 2171 on the 2400 scale. The most popular Subject Tests were Math Level II (78 students tested) and Chemistry (56 students tested), and the average scores were 787 and 745, respectively.

Since the first class of 2000, the vast majority of GLP graduates have matriculated at US colleges and universities.[3]

Campus facilities[edit]

Academic facilities[edit]

  • Yongma Hall is the largest building on the Daewon campus. Built in 1982, it is also the oldest building on campus, and it houses all of the freshman and junior year homerooms, as well as most of the school offices. The first and second floors are home to a number of administrative facilities, including the main school office, the Principal's office, the offices of the Daewon Education Foundation, and those of the Daewon Educational Scholarship Foundation. In addition, the main offices of the International Department and the Language Department are located respectively on the fourth and fifth floors of the building. Other facilities in Yongma Hall include the main computer labs, the science lab, foreign language classrooms and the music room, where the school orchestra meets. The student lounge on the first floor is frequently used for student club meetings or for school projects.
  • The Injung Hall building acts as an annex to Yongma Hall and is home to the senior year homerooms, as well as the secondary computer lab complex. First commissioned as a computer lab building, its use was later diverted to accommodate the senior year students. The building was completed in 2003, and was built by Samsung C&T. The annex to the International Department Office is on the fourth floor, and the third floor houses a number of conference rooms for counseling sessions. While it is accessible from Yangam and Yongma Halls via skybridge, it also has its own entrance facing the playing field.

Athletic and multipurpose facilities[edit]

  • Woojung Hall is a multipurpose building that houses the school cafeterias, Arts complex, Foreign Language Department, and the Vision Room, a medium-sized lecture hall. The most recent addition to the campus, it was completed in 2005, and is connected to Yongma Hall. Cafeteria halls occupy floors two through four, and a Korean traditional music complex and dance studio use the fifth floor. It is also home to the International Cooperation Center.
  • Seoam Auditorium doubles as a theater and indoor athletic complex, and is shared with all schools on the Daewon campus with the exception of Daewon Girls' High School, which has its own auditorium in Jangan Hall. It is most frequently used by students rehearsing for arts performances, and is also used for school assemblies and as a lecture hall for entertaining guest speakers. The annual two-day-long school festival, FOLA, is also held for one of the two days at Seoam Auditorium.
  • The outdoor basketball court is located at the northeast end of Woojung Hall, at the northernmost edge of the school campus. It is home to the school basketball team, the Demigods.
  • The playing field is at the northeast end of Yongma Hall, and its cornered by the northwest face of Injung hall and the southeast face of Yangam Hall.

Other facilities[edit]

  • The Junggok Hall complex is currently occupied by Daewon High School, and parallels the southwest end of Yongma Hall. It is also home to a secondary library and a small computer lab. A smaller school store is located toward the back of Junggok Hall, and is frequented by Daewon High School students.

Student life[edit]

Dress code[edit]

The school uniform is required wear for students at all times. Boys wear khaki slacks with a navy felt blazer, and girls wear a similar blazer with charcoal-colored skirts. White dress shirts must be worn, tucked in. An ivory knit pullover vest goes with the uniform, but may be dropped when wearing the thinner Spring blazer. In the summer, an alternate uniform consisting of light khaki bottoms and a short-sleeved shirt is worn. A dark brown knit cardigan is permitted and worn throughout the year. There is no school tie, but belts are required for boys all year round. For both genders, any underwear underneath the white dress shirts must not have colors. Those who fail to meet the school dress code receive SLG cards, which must be erased through various activities by the end of the school year.

Daewon has maintained a strict dress code until very recently. However, with the election of new Student Council members in 2012, and the appointment of Dr. Kim Il-hyung as principal the same year, the rules have largely been loosened in an attempt to improve student life at the school. A dress shoes-only rule was scrapped in early 2012 in favor of the more comfortable sneakers, and navy school hoodies were created to be worn on campus. Slippers and flip-flops are banned except during study hall.

Extracurricular activities[edit]

More than 30 extracurricular activities are available to students at Daewon, including school choir, a newspaper club, a capella club, and a school band and orchestra. All students are required to join one extracurricular club, and students are encouraged to form and join other unofficial student organizations that exist on campus. Students enrolled in the GLP program may join two to four additional clubs, including some American-style club activities such as Debate, Model UN, and Model Congress that are unavailable to non-GLP students. In the case of Korean curriculum students, participation in club activities has grown explosively over the past two years as the nations's top universities increase their emphasis on extracurriculars. Official clubs, as well as clubs that perform the traditional dances of each language department, showcase their activities during FOLA, the annual school festival.


Daewon maintains close relationships with a number of secondary schools outside of Korea. Among its sister schools are the Hainberg Gymnasium in Göttingen, Germany; The High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China, in Beijing; and Seirin High School, in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan, all of which send exchange students to Daewon.[4] In addition, Keio Shonan-Fujisawa Junior and Senior High School of Japan has an active student exchange program with Daewon, and biannual visits are made alternately by Keio students and students in Daewon's Japanese department. In addition, Daewon is affiliated with Stanford University's Online High School, and a small number of select students in the Global Leadership Program attend OHS through dual enrollment.

In May 2008, Daewon entered into a partnership with Bromsgrove International School Thailand, establishing the Bromsgrove Daewon Foreign Language School in Thailand in eastern Bangkok.[5] The Korean program at BDST is taught by Daewon faculty.


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Sam Dillon, "Elite Korean Schools, Forging Ivy League Skills," New York Times, April 27, 2008
  3. ^ Ellen Gamermann, "How to Get into Harvard," Wall Street Journal, November 30, 2007
  4. ^ http://dwfl.hs.kr/glp/glp08.asp
  5. ^ "Bromsgrove Welcomes Daewon Foreign Language High School from Korea," May 18, 2008

Coordinates: 37°33′49″N 127°05′20″E / 37.56361°N 127.08889°E / 37.56361; 127.08889