Students use summer break as chance to engage in extracurricular interests

Pressured by rigorous academic standards, SIS students have limited time for real world experiences. However, summer vacation gave students the chance to broaden their horizons.

Working 12 hours a day as a steel factory worker, six hours as a convenience store clerk and five hours as a waiter at Moonmyung restaurant, Jason Moon (12) earned a total of $1120 over the summer. The salary served as pocket money for Jason, but for many of his coworkers, it was a deficient source of income. By getting to know these employees, Jason was able to gain valuable insight.

“I was really shocked to see the  horrible conditions of the factory,” Jason said. “It was hard to breathe because of the humidity and the dust surrounding me. Also, although working with the machinery was pretty dangerous, the workers only had gloves for protection and got little rest. But it still felt good to be paid, so that is how they must have felt as well.”

Jun Chung (12), like many others, took the opportunity to pursue his hobbies by working with James Bernal, a National Geographic photographer. For two weeks, Jun and 20 other students woke up at dawn and trekked through the wildlife of Iceland, taking photos to capture the essence of the country.

“[The work] was pretty demanding,” Jun said. “But I got to  see Icelandic culture, and that was  a cool experience. Working with James showed me that regardless of whether your career choice leads to wealth, you can be happy. I also gained respect for the environment and a sense of responsibility. Although I don’t plan on majoring in photography, he got me thinking about my future. ”

Other students attended camps to further their interest in music. Alix Kim (10) was admitted as an oboist to the compettive summer program at Interlochen, specifically designed for high school musicians. Selected as one of 16 oboists from an applicant pool of 70, Alix was granted a partial scholarship and was given the opportunity to work with various acclaimed professionals to expand on orchestral and ensemble material.

“For the first time I was able to interact with people from all around the world who enjoy music,” Alix said. “Music has always been a part of my daily life, but playing music at a professional level with people who share the same passion as me was a whole new experience. This experience also helped me realize what it would be like to work as a professional oboist in the future.”

For many students, the eight-week break provided time to not only relax but also partake in activities that are not available during the school year. Others were able to explore the unfamiliar and familiarize themselves with likely career paths.