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41 South Korean students visit Tucson for Ambassador Program

Posted January 10, 2014

Forty-one students from Ulleungdo and Shinangun, South Korea, will arrive in Tucson Friday to participate in Tucson Unified School District's Tucson-Korea Ambassador Program. The students are scheduled to arrive Jan. 10 at Tucson International Airport and will stay through Feb. 6. On Jan. 13, a morning welcome reception will be held at Santa Rita High School, 3951 S. Pantano Road.

TUSD's deputy superintendent for teaching and learning, Adrian Vega, and Jim Fish, director of student equity and intervention, will be among those who welcome the students to Tucson. The Tucson-Korea Ambassador Program is in its fourth year and is sponsored by Tucson Unified School District's Pan Asian Studies Department.

The visiting students will be paired with student ambassadors from Secrist Middle School, Magee Middle School and Safford Magnet Middle School. They will stay with host families during the visit to give them a sense of what life is like for their American peers.

"The reason for coming is to get a cultural experience," says Tsuru Bailey-Jones, director of TUSD's Asian Pacific American Student Services and Refugee Services. "The program also helps open our students' eyes to global relationships and what life is like in other countries."

Bailey-Jones says one of the remarkable results of the program is the lasting friendships that form between the American and Korean students. Many from the first group of 19 visitors are still in contact with their host families four years later.

The students are scheduled to visit Sabino Canyon, the University of Arizona, the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum and Old Tucson, and will participate in TUSD's Lunar New Year performance. TUSD's Pan Asian Studies advocates on behalf of all Asian and Pacific Islander (API) students and families and provides support through collaborating with the community. Working with schools and the community to build global relationships is a major goal of the department.

More information about Pan Asian Studies is available at their website.