What types of schools do most expats in your city choose for their children?
Most expats choose to put their children in an International school, the most common in Ulsan being Hyundai Foreign School (HFS). This school is based on a British curriculum. Other options include a Chinese school and a small French school with less than 10 students. Some parents choose to send their children to one of two international schools in Busan, which is 70km away from Ulsan.
To get a sense of whether or not the school is a good fit for your child/children, try to visit the facility during school hours.
What are some examples of these schools?
Hyundai Foreign School (HFS) - Hyundai opened the school in 1982. It follows the British curriculum. Ages range from 3 - 13 for pre-school, kindergarten and up through grade 9. The school is located within the Hyundai Foreigners' Compound.
Is there a lot of competition for spots in local schools?
HFS currently has approximately 150 students enrolled with a total capacity for 200-210 students.
There is a cap of 20 students per classroom. So far, there has not been an issue as Ulsan is not a common expat posting for families with school-aged children. However, it is always best to apply as early as possible before the start of the school year in order to secure a spot for your child. Prior to coming to Korea, parents are able to go on to the school websites and start the registration process online and see what is required by the school's admission office.
Are pre-schools also widely available (for children approx. 2 to 5 years old)?
Hyundai Foreign School is operating an Early Years Center for kindergarten children aged 3 - 4. The Early Years Center is open from 9am to 12pm, Monday - Friday.
Moms & Tots is a meeting of mothers with children between 0 - 26 months. They meet at the Anchae Room in Bangeojin NFA. This is a good way to meet other mothers and share information about children.
How are most kids transported to and from school?
HFS has a shuttle bus that runs from the New Foreigners' Apartments to the Hyundai Foreigners' Compound. Many parents with children attending HFS typically live on the Foreigners' Compound so their children can walk safely to school.
When does the typical school year start and end?
HFS starts their academic school year in late August and ends in June.
Is there anything else I should know about local schools?
Mixed in among the expat students are Koreans with foreign passports or who have lived abroad and meet certain requirements at the international schools. Since learning English is very important to Koreans and since many of them wish to have their children attend universities abroad, attending an international school is an attractive option to many affluent Koreans. Consequently, a number of international schools have a large Korean population, sometimes over 90%. Although not always the case, it is sometimes difficult for foreign students to adapt to the education culture in these schools, one that is extremely competitive and where their classmates may spend hours in after-school academic institutions and/or with private tutors.
Contact the school or Crown Korea for more details.
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