Seoul International School

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Seoul International School
서울 국제 학교
South Korea
Type Private, Day
International school
Established June 5, 1973
Headmaster Hyung Shik Kim
Grades K-12
Campus size 8 acres
Campus type Suburban
Color(s) Orange and Black
Mascot Tiger
Newspaper Tiger Times
Yearbook Tiger's Eye

Seoul International School (or SIS as it is commonly called) is a secular international private college preparatory school situated in Seongnam, South Korea[1] offering an American curriculum in an English-only setting.

When Seoul International School first opened in 1973, it was the first foreign school since Korea's liberation from the Japanese annex to be fully recognized by the South Korean Ministry of Education.[2] The school was first located on the campus of Konkuk University where a new classroom facility was completed in 1976.

The school graduated its first four-year high school senior class in 1978. As SIS grew and expanded, the school required more facilities and a larger campus. In 1981, the present 8-acre (32,000 m2) site was selected, and the school buildings were designed with unique Korean architectural motifs. The 150,000 square feet (14,000 m2) campus was completed just over four years later. The move to the current campus was made in May 1985. Conveniently located in the city of Seongnam (on the border of southeast Seoul), the school is about twenty-five minutes south of Lotte World, the Jamsil subway station and Olympic Park. The school is located near the Bokjeong Station on Seoul Subway Line 8.[1]

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), based in California, accredited Seoul International School for a six-year term in 1979. Subsequent reaccreditations were received in 1985, 1991, 1997, 2003 and the spring of 2009.[3] As a condition of attending the school, every student is required to hold non-Korean permanent residency or citizenship.


Seoul International School is committed to the arts, humanities, and sciences as the best preparation for higher education, for service to humanity, and for lifelong learning in our rapidly changing world. Its efforts focus on developing students’ intellectual, creative, moral, physical and emotional abilities to their fullest, in cooperation with parents and the global community.

Vision Statement- Adopted 2016

Seoul International School will foster an earnest passion for learning that inspires students to work with others in creating a better world for all.

Mission Statement- Adopted 2016

Seoul International School develops inquisitive, independent thinkers and collaborative learners, who acquire the essential knowledge necessary to be caring and creative contributors to the world around them.

Campus & facilities[edit]

The school has a fully functional wifi network that boasts one of the fastest and most efficient access to the Internet of any school in the world. All classrooms, campus areas and facilities are fully networked. There are two libraries and several recently updated science laboratories. All students in grades 4-12 are part of a one-to-one learning network, complemented by an Apple company technician who is full-time on campus and a professional and effective technology learning staff who take care of student and teacher needs in a 100% Macintosh computer program. Athletic facilities include three gymnasiums, a tennis court, a five-lane indoor 25-meter heated swimming pool, a soccer field with artificial turf, and weights and gymnastics rooms. Playgrounds, soccer fields, and libraries are available for student use during classes, for recess, and after school. One of the gymnasiums was demolished for the construction of a new elementary building and has been completed as of 2013. It contains 7 floors with elementary school classrooms, a newly constructed full sized gymnasium in the basement level, six stories of classrooms, learning spaces, two multi-purpose rooms, specialist Art, teacher preparation, ESL/SN rooms and a sixth-floor gymnasium for elementary students. It also has 2 basement floors, with the B2 consisting of the gymnasium and swimming pool.

The 350 seat school auditorium is used for school assemblies, teacher and parent functions, fine arts productions and concerts and is fully equipped with lighting and sound systems. The auditorium was completely renovated in 2016. Music students are offered a range of facilities from band, strings and choir rooms to soundproofed practice, instrument, choral and strings rooms.

The tuition of the school is competitive with world class college preparatory schools around the world but it is one of the less-expensive private American curriculum schools in Seoul & Korea. The tuition ranges from 20,200,000 Korean Won to 25,001,000 Korean Won per year. This is roughly between 19,000 and 24,000 USD per year. The school provides an almost door to door bus service with a fleet of newer and highly maintaned, professional staff buses that commute students to and from their homes; this totals to 2,503,000 Korean Won per year, which is about 3,000 USD. The school also boasts a fully functional cafeteria which serves hot meals to students and staff each day. The school is very popular among Korean families who place a high value on Education and a values system that teaches their children to be stewards and leaders of a just and sustainable world. In spite of its high tuition, the school offers a top priority education for its students who aim to go to college in the United States.

In elementary and middle school, there are about 20 (ES) to 20 (MS) students per homeroom. There are four to five homerooms in each grade. In high school, there are about 12 to 20 students per class. In school year 2017-2018 hte average class size is 15.0 for all classes and 15.2 for Advanced Placement classes. Every year, 100% of the graduating class matriculate into colleges and universities, with the majority going to the United States upon graduation along with a few students moving on to Korean universities. Less than 5% of them go on to different countries, most likely Korea, Japan, or China.

Out of the international schools located in South Korea, Seoul International School has one of the highest academic ratings, with 100% of its students graduating from high school. A number of these students attend Ivy league and other prestigious universities and colleges after their stay at SIS.

Core values[edit]

SIS has established a set of core values in order to shape its students. Based on its mascot the Korean tiger, students are expected to follow the TIGERS values:

  • Trustworthy Individuals
  • Independent Thinkers
  • Global Citizens
  • Effective Communicators
  • Reflective Learners
  • Socially Responsible

Teachers and faculties emphasize these values in and out of the classroom, engraining these values into team sports, the curriculum and clubs and activities in the school.


Academics and a high value on educational outcomes are a high priority for all SIS students. As a result, the grade average of students is at around 3.8 out of a 4-point GPA scale.These criterion -referenced grades are fully supported by external metrics of successful educational outcomes on AP exams, the SAT and ACT, outstanding college acceptances to the most competitive schools in the world (including Princeton, Yale, Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Penn, Chicago, CalTech and many more, just in the recent years 2015-2017)

Advanced Placement (AP) courses are also offered at SIS in high school and students are encouraged to take any of the 22 offered courses. In an effort to balance student success the school provides planning and management of choosing classes for students with workshops, meetings, college counseling and information about the best number of AP courses that students should take with the hope of alleviating stress and providing a balanced yet challenging course load for students.

SIS also offers non-academic courses, including classes in art, drama, and music. There are many non-AP classes including a wide variety of Arts, music and design classes, government, statistics, anatomy, mathematical functions and models, history, communications, life sports and many, many others. The school also offers the AP Capstone program classes in Seminar and Research as of the 2016-2017 school year.


Seoul International School is a Division 1, but primarily Division 2 member of the Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference.[1] SIS fields teams in tennis, cross country, and swimming for Division 1 and volleyball, basketball, cheerleading, and soccer for Division 2.

Student life and activities[edit]

Middle school[edit]


In middle school, there are six sports that students can choose to be part of. Some occur in the same season.[4]

  • Soccer
  • Cross Country
  • Swimming
  • Volleyball
  • Table Tennis
  • Basketball

Advisory and electives[edit]

Advisory is a period that allows students to meet with their homeroom teacher and interact through fun activities and games. It was established with the aim that students will bond with their teachers and engage in a non-academic environment. Secret Santa happened during Advisory in the 2014~2015 year.

Middle school students have multiple electives that they can choose. The list includes MS Global Issues Network (GIN), Drama, Music (Band, Choir, or Strings), Art, Yoga, and more. The electives allow students to explore and pursue various non-academic courses.

Student council (MSSC)[edit]

Officers that make up the student council are elected through a democratic process. Speeches are made in front of the entire middle school student body and each individual vote for the candidates of their choosing. MSSC is in charge of organizing multiple events, including an annual carnival that is hosted towards the end of the school year.

High school[edit]

The high school has an outstanding faculty of over 50 highly experienced and credentialed teachers. Most teachers have a master's degree in their field of study and some have doctorates. The high school administration oversees the school academic and activities programs. One hundred percent of students move on to competitive & top universities in many areas of the world, but mostly to the United States. Typical schools include: Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Dartmouth, Harvard, Cornell, Penn, Brown, Stanford, MIT, U Chicago, UCLA, Georgetown, Carnegie Mellon, Georgia Tech, Wellesley, USC, Michigan, Syracuse and many other great universities (inclusive of school years 2015-2017). The high school offers over 22 AP classes in 55 different sections, including the AP Capstone Diploma, which the school has adopted for the 2016-2017 school year. A robust activities and Fine Arts program complements an outstanding academic preparation. The school offers a high quality strings program, orchestra, instrumental band, chorus and prestigious men's and women's choral programs. In addition the school offers Model United Nations, Law Club, Media Club, Forensics, UNICEF, Habitat for Humanity, Chess, an active Student Government, and more than twenty other offerings for students to be involved in community service and activities programs. The high school also has a wide array of offerings in sports as a member of both the KAIAC and AISA conferences for sport competition. Games and tournaments take place in soccer, basketball, volleyball, cheerleading, tennis, swimming, cross-country, and badminton, with AISA teams traveling to competitor schools from Nagoya, Osaka & Yokohama in Japan, KIS in Korea, Busan and to include Kaohsiung, Taiwa in 2016-2017. SIS teams are always competitive in league and AISA tournaments, many times winning games and titles. High school students are the leaders of today, not just tomorrow, although they prepare in high school for leadership positions in university and life. The school has a student code of conduct for both academics and integrity as a student and typically students excel in meeting the high expectations set for them. The school is a closed test center for both the SAT and the AP exams and the administration upholds all students to integrity standards in testing that exceed those required for both of these tests. Students have the highest of values regarding their own success and the benchmarks they set for themselves to be successful in school and in life, as students and as humans. The school in the best high school in Korea, in many ways, and is one of the top performing high schools in the world. The current administration and faculty is led by Dr. Jim Gerhard, a long-time international school educator who has taught and led high-performing schools in many different countries.



There are numerous student organizations in high school. Clubs play an important role in high school as students commit their time to multiple clubs. The existing clubs include UNICEF, Habitat for Humanity (HFH), Global Issues Network (GIN), Primary English Teacher Association (PETA), Green Club, National Honor Society (NHS), Korean Animal Service Association (KASA), North Korea Human Rights (NKHR), Tri-M Music Honor Society, Kaleidoscope, Seoulite, Model United Nations (MUN), Community Service Club and more.

Students are asked in the beginning of the year to fill out a Common Application in order to apply for club/s of their choosing. Many commit to few clubs in freshmen year and work to earn leadership positions in their junior or senior year.


  1. ^ a b Location & Maps, Seoul International School. Accessed March 14, 2008.
  2. ^ The Tradition of Seoul International School. Accessed March 14, 2008.
  3. ^ Seoul International School, Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Accessed March 14, 2008.
  4. ^

External links[edit]