At a school in Wanju, it’s all fun and games

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At a school in Wanju, it’s all fun and games


Jung Da-huin

Imagine a high school that not only allows its students to play games all day - but teaches how to make them, too.

For students of Korea Game Science High School (KGS) in the county of Wanju, North Jeolla, it’s not all about fun and games. The school specializes in information technology education.

Jung Da-huin, 19, attended school there for the last three years. After attending elementary and middle school in Seoul, her family followed her father to Wanju when he became principal of KGS. “If I had attended a school in Seoul, my life would have centered around school and hagwon,” Jung said, recalling her decision to enroll at KGS, “At first, I was hesitant about going to a school in the countryside. But I think I made the right choice. Chasing my dream has led to good results.”

A school day at KGS is not unlike any typical school in Seoul. For the first five hours of the day students study all the usual subjects, such as science, math and English. What makes this school different is that after 5 p.m., it is transformed into an IT institute.

By the time students graduate, they have created up to five computer games each. Most graduates are then admitted to IT-related departments in universities. Every year, up to five students are accepted to universities abroad.

In her last year at the high school, Jung developed a smartphone game called “Jeonju Bibimbap,” which is available for Samsung’s Bada smartphone operating system. In the game, players prepare ingredients for bibimbap in a limited amount of time. Jung developed it to help people learn about bibimbap.

Aside from numerous awards, Jung has earned game development certifications that attest to her skills as a game programming expert and Information Processing Craftsman.

Having graduated, Jung’s next step is university in the United States at the University of Washington. “I think they accepted me because I spent the last three years immersed in what I love,” said Jung, who will become a freshman at the school in Seattle in September.

The University of Washington ranks 55th among universities around the world, only five notches lower than Seoul National University.

“I want to be a creative entrepreneur like Steve Jobs,” Jung said.

By Jang Dae-suk []
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