Seoul Foreign School

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Seoul Foreign School
39 Yeonhui-ro 22-gil, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea 03723
Coordinates 37°34′9″N 126°56′13″E / 37.56917°N 126.93694°E / 37.56917; 126.93694Coordinates: 37°34′9″N 126°56′13″E / 37.56917°N 126.93694°E / 37.56917; 126.93694
Type Private School
Established 1912
Head of School Colm Flanagan
Enrollment ~1,500
Color(s) Red
Athletics conference KAIAC
Team name The Crusaders

Located in Seoul, South Korea, Seoul Foreign School is a Pre-K to Grade 12 college preparatory school founded in 1912 by Christian missionaries to Korea[1] and emphasizes Christian values. Currently, the Elementary and Middle Schools offer an American-based curriculum. The High School offers the IB Diploma and IGCSE. The British School offers the national curriculum of England. As of August 2016, the Elementary School will offer the Primary Years Programme (PYP), and the Middle School will offer the Middle Years Programme (MYP) in Grades 6 and 7 (Grade 8 will start the MYP in 2017). Seoul Foreign School has been located in Yeonhui-dong, Seodaemun-gu since 1959.


Seoul Foreign School was founded in 1912, by seven Christian missionaries to Korea, with a class of 18 students.[2] Today it is the 7th oldest International School in the world, including the oldest British International School in Korea, and the first in South Korea to offer the IB Diploma and IGCSE concurrently.[3]

Seoul Foreign School is the only International School in Seoul to offer a diverse, and complete Pre-K to Grade 12 educational experience by providing both the English National Curriculum or an American curriculum, culminating in high school with the IGCSEs and IB Diploma.


British School
Head Teacher: Dr. Timothy Gray MBE GMI
Deputy Head Teacher: Peter McOrist

The British School (SFBS) offers a curriculum based around the English National Primary Strategy and National Curriculum spanning from Reception to Year 9. It is a member of the Federation of British International Schools in Asia (FOBISIA) and students compete in athletics against other member schools. There are children from over 50 nationalities at the school.

Elementary School
Principal: Damian Prest
Assistant Principal: Brian Webb
Counselor (Grades 3-5): Mrs. DeAnna Dunn
Counselor (Grades Pre-K -2): Ms. Margaret Park

The elementary school (SFES) offers a curriculum based on standard U.S.-style grade school education. Grade levels include Pre-K to 5th grade. School uniforms were introduced to SFES in the school year 2008-2009. The Seoul Foreign Elementary School offers specials for every student including Music, Korean, Information Technology, Library, Art, and PE. A new building was completed for the 2008-2009 school year and includes a new cafeteria, 400 seat performance hall, media center/library, upgraded classrooms, and a spirit store. Every elementary classroom teacher utilizes a Smartboard and various other technology such as an iPad or a Laptop in their classroom. In the fall of 2011, a 1-to-1 laptop program was instituted in the fifth grade.

Middle School
Principal: Justin Smith
Assistant Principal: Anne Gardon
Counselor: Dale Swanson

Support programs are in place for students who need help gaining a mastery of academic English or who may have mild learning difficulties. There are four foreign language tracks offered: Spanish, Mandarin, Korean (for non-native speakers), and heritage Korean (for native Korean speakers). The music program is especially strong, with multiple levels of course offerings in choir, band, and strings orchestra. Every student also takes Christian Studies, an academic course that introduces students to the foundational ideas of the Christian faith from a non-denominational perspective. Students who are interested in exploring their faith on a personal level may participate in a vibrant after-school discipleship program. All students take PE. All SFMS students are able to participate in a variety of after-school sports. SFMS belongs to the Korean American Interscholastic Activities Conference (KAIAC), allowing for competition and collaboration with other schools in sports and the arts.

High School
Principal: Stuart Kent
Assistant Principal: Jeff Holcomb, Ruth Sanderson
Athletic Director:

The high school (SFHS) offers a western style curriculum that is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The high school is also authorized to offer the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) program through Cambridge International Examinations and the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma program from the IBO. Graduates from Seoul Foreign School attend universities and colleges throughout the world.

Music program[edit]

All students from kindergarten through 8th grade take music as a core part of their curriculum. The school offers band, choir and orchestra classes as well as IB music and a band program. The Middle School has two bands which are Concert Band, and Symphonic Band. Both the Middle School Symphonic Band and the High School Wind Ensemble have won numerous awards and acknowledgements in the field. The Middle School Symphonic Band won a platinum award [highest ranking award] on a nationwide competition in 2015.[4]

Performing Arts Facilities[edit]

The Lyso Center for Performing Arts is a 10 million dollar complex dedicated to the performing arts. It includes large rehearsal rooms for band, choir, and orchestra, as well as ensemble and individual practice rooms. There is also a keyboard/composition lab. The main theater seats over 700 people, has a hydraulic orchestra pit, a turn table, and a removable large Wenger acoustical sell. There is also a Black Box theater with flexible seating up to 200 people. Robb Hall is a mid-size theater and has seating for 450 people.

1:1 Program[edit]

In the fall of 2011 Seoul Foreign School began the process of rolling out a 1:1 laptop program. The rollout began in grades five and six in the elementary and middle school and years six and seven in the British school. In the school year 2013-2014 school year the 1:1 laptop program was fully rolled out, encompassing grades four through twelve school-wide.

Discovery Week[edit]

Each fall/autumn all High School students participate in Discovery Week, a week-long educational experience that focuses on study beyond the classroom. Led by High School faculty members, a wide variety of courses take place within Seoul; others take place in different countries throughout the world. There are four different categories for the Discovery Weeks trips: service, educational/cultural, physical/active, and trips regarding the arts. The 2012 Discovery Week trips overseas courses went to Cambodia, China, Philippines, England, Nepal, Italy, Vietnam, Japan, and the Tioman Island.

Athletic Facilities[edit]

Seoul Foreign School has an indoor sports complex which houses two gyms, each with several basketball courts, indoor volleyball courts, as well as one weight training/fitness room. Also, located outside are two more basketball courts (next to the soccer field). More basketball courts can also be found on the British school playground. There is an artificial turf football (soccer) field, a sandpit for long jump, and a running track. There is also an indoor pool and two tennis courts are situated above it. Two more tennis courts are situated adjacent to the British school playground. There is also a gymnastics room for various uses ranging from acrobatics workout to ballet practice. An additional four tennis courts are located on the roof of the cafeteria.

Extracurricular activities[edit]

Seoul Foreign School supports a number of activities. At the HS level, an academic activity is the AMC (American Math Competition) competition with three levels of competition: 8th grade, 10th grade, and 12th grade. SFS High School has an active Model United Nations activity with weekly meetings and two meets annually (one in Seoul and the other in Beijing.) A Speech and Debate team also represents SFS with forensic meets with local and area schools. There are a number of choral, instrumental (band, orchestra, and jazz band), drama, and musical productions throughout the years. High school students are also able to participate in Habitat for Humanity, both national and international builds, and the National Honor Society. As for sports, Seoul Foreign School is part of the Korean American Interscholastic Activities Conference (KAIAC) and the Asia Pacific Activities Conference (APAC). The fall sports for high school are tennis, volleyball, cross country. Cross country and volleyball both have Varsity and Junior Varsity teams for both genders, whereas there is only one co-ed Varsity team for tennis. Winter sports are basketball and cheerleading, both of which have Varsity as well as JV teams. Soccer and swimming are both spring sports, and they both have only Varsity teams.

SFS Middle School participates in an area Spelling Bee, KMO and other clubs. There are also sports and other after-school activities, such as the Jazz Band/Ensemble, chess club, instrumental private lessons. Film club is also a popular club that meets on Mondays to create films and at the end of the year, hosts a film festival with all of the profit going to GIN (Global Issues Network). Additional activities are sponsored by each division's "Senate", or Student Council. These activities include dances, swims and various other events throughout the school year. The Boys Varsity Soccer Team is known for their multiple wins in the two competitions the team participates in: KAIAC and APAC.

The 2010-2011 Girls Varsity Soccer Team of Seoul Foreign School won the All-Girls APAC Super Tournament hosted by Shanghai American School Pudong, beating 12 other teams, undefeated.


Seoul Foreign School is a private non-profit organisation. Although they have no specific obligations to publish their financial data, SFS recently published a financial report for the year ending on June 30, 2008 where total revenue was $3,393,043 and payroll was $1,884,055.[5]

Children whose parent/s are pastors of various Christian denominations may receive tuition for free or at discounted price.

Christian Emphasis[edit]

SFS seeks to model Christianity through the hiring of exceptional and experienced educators who are also practicing Christians.[6] The influence of Christianity originated in 1912 when missionaries first-founded the school and continues today. The school is not affiliated with a particular denomination or church, nor are students are required to come from religious backgrounds. The school has a mandatory Christian Studies course, lasting one trimester, to be taken at the middle school level, and offers optional religious studies courses at the high school level.

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Ken Jennings: holds the record for the longest winning streak in the U.S. syndicated game show Jeopardy![7]
  • Ien Chi: Korean American filmmaker, 2011 winner of the Best Director and Best Picture awards at the world's largest student film festival: Campus MovieFest[8]
  • Eddie Shin: Korean singer and actor. Recently re-debuted with an Asian-American singing group, Aziatix.
  • Jessica Lee Da Hee: Korean singer; Debuted in 2011 as a part of the group, C-REAL.
  • Shannon Bae: Korean singer; Debuted in 2017 as a member of PRISTIN.


  1. ^ "International Christian School in South Korea - Seoul Foreign School". Retrieved 9 February 2017. 
  2. ^ "A foreign school with a family feel". Retrieved 2015-06-02. 
  3. ^ "International Schools in Seoul South Korea - Seoul Foreign School". Retrieved 9 February 2017. 
  4. ^ "Fine Arts Program at Seoul Foreign School". Retrieved 9 February 2017. 
  5. ^ Financial Report, Statement of Activities (for the year ended June 30, 2008). Accessed 9 November 2009
  6. ^ "Christianity at Seoul Foreign School". Retrieved 2015-06-01. 
  7. ^ e.g. Seoul Foreign School 1984 Yearbook, Class 4G
  8. ^ "IFG Winners". Campus MovieFest. 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-30. 

External links[edit]