By Pfc. Jin ChoiJune 30, 2010
CASEY GARRISON, South Korea - Twenty-four students and five teachers from Dongducheon Foreign Language High School recently toured U.S. Army Garrison-Casey.
The students are not traditional high-school students. They hail from different regions in Korea, and attend the school specifically to learn a foreign language and only return to their families on weekends. The Casey Garrison tour gave them an opportunity to practice the English they learned in the classroom.
As they arrived at the United Services Organization building here, they were greeted by Lt. Col. Richard Fromm, garrison commander, and a few Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, USAG-Casey.
They were quickly broken into three groups of eight students, who were led by one U.S. Soldier and one Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army Soldier as tour guides.
The tour began by visiting Hanson Field House, the library and the HHD barracks where the host Soldiers live. The students were particularly eager to look around the barracks because they live in a similar dormitory environment. They visited every room where Soldiers work and play, and the more they saw, the more they were surprised.
"I came on this tour to experience where U.S. Soldiers and Korean Soldiers work together," said Kim Kyu-hyuk, one of the male students. "I am surprised the Soldiers have their own rooms, not like the Republic Of Korea Army, and they spend their free time well. I didn't expect Soldiers to have such nice facilities.
"I share a dormitory room with three other friends and everything in this building is much better than what we have on our campus. It's usually fun but sometimes I need my own space."
The groups gathered for lunch in the Gateway Club, where they chatted as though they were old friends.
"Those who are participating in today's tour are getting the opportunity to practice what they learn in class," said Kim Young-kwan, chief of the English Education Department, during lunchtime. "This is a place where everyone speaks English naturally so this place is the right place for them.
"I brought students here last year, but the students who are participating today are more enthusiastic and they keep trying their English, so I know it is working for them."
After lunch they took a windshield of Casey Garrison and Camp Hovey. The students were curious about everything they saw and kept the Soldiers busy answering their never ending questions. After group pictures in front of the 1st Tank Division near Dragon Valley they went bowling in Casey Lanes.
The U.S. Soldiers who served as hosts understood the significance of the visit and were pleased to show their guests around the installation.
"This kind of program is good for both Korean students and Soldiers," said Staff Sgt. Pearlimac Simmons, Casey Garrison transportation officer noncommissioned officer in charge. "It is good to show them how we live on post as Soldiers in Korea. Where we sleep and what do we do for recreation. I am glad we can show them our culture. It was a great time for me."
Kim Kwang-yoon, an English teacher at the school, said the tour was also beneficial for his students.
"My students are foreign language school students so they were interested in meeting Western people and wanted to practice their English," he said. "They really enjoyed the tour today."