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GFRA Forums : New or Moving to Geoje - Q&A : Okpo int'l school vs BIFS?
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Okpo int'l school vs BIFS?

Posted: 13 February 2012 - 02:09 PM
My husband and I are considering moving to Busan/Geoje with our 4 year old twins and 18 month old daughter. The children will turn 5 and 2 in August. I believe the school year start on september?

I would really like to know which school is the best for children as young as five. I really don't need them to learn latin or read fluently by christmas. We are from Norway, and they're not even meant to start school until they're six. I'm pretty chilled out when it comes to the whole academic aspect of schools for children this young. I prefer a positive, fun environment that emphasises play and physical activity. Having saif that, the feedback my girls get from their local pre school/kindergarten, is that they are advanced for their age. They can write their names and are interested in reading etc. I think they are just normal, well adjusted, intelligent four year olds.

I don't know why, but my gut feeling tells me that BIFS is a better school for my children than okbo. Or am I wrong? We haven't decided on whether we will live in Geoje or in Busan and let my husband travel to Geoje every day.

Also, I believe that the okbo school doesn't have anything to offer my the two yeare old? Any good daycare centre in Geoje?

Which school we chooe will determne where we will end up living, so this is important...

I am grateful for your advice!
Same Topic Again
Posted: 13 February 2012 - 04:00 PM
There is already a lot of discussion on this topic by people who have used both.
Best to trawl through themang make an opinion.
Posted: 13 February 2012 - 06:19 PM
Your children are little stick to Okpo school if you are living on Geoje. There are no real benefits to sending very young children all the way to Gijang, the location of Busan International Foreign School. In fact I would double check that a child as young as 5 could even travel on the Busan International Foreign School bus from Geoje unaccompanied. There are a lot of Norweigen families live in Busan and send their children to BIFS, that may help with your decision making regarding your location. English as a first language families seem to favour Okpo and Ulsan, sending their (predominantly older) children on the school bus.
Posted: 16 February 2012 - 01:57 AM
THank you, Angela.
I did read the previous posts however I couldn't find the answer to what I was asking, namely the quality/character of the school.

We've now been in touch with OIS and are told that there are no available places in Year 1 from September. We have to sign up for a waiting list. That's a bummer.
Do we have any other option on Geoje at all?

Also, I am trying to find out about daycare options for our 2 year old. It's pretty hard to work this stuff out via Google only... Does anybody know anything about the daycare situation in Geoje?

Posted: 16 February 2012 - 04:00 AM

Just wrote a long informative reply and then when I tried to post it the silly thing disappeared!

The crux of my reply was this:

Non of the schools are worth the money we pay, which is just extortianate.

Non of the schools here are special & the quality of education seems to depend entirely on the indiviual teacher. With parents complaints and concerns being disregarded, if your child is unlucky that year there is very little you can do. & that, in our experience, has been a common theme at all of the International Schools our children have attended in Korea.

(The campus at Busan Foreign School looks impressive but the lack of (gym) equipment etc means it isn't utilised to its full potential).

My daughter attends Busan International Foreign School as they offer IGCSE courses and she is 15. We are from the UK and the exams taken after this course at 16 are vital for the next step of her education.

My son, who is 11, attends Busan Foreign School as the Elementary curriculum, in my opinion, is far more structured than the PYP taught at BIFS. This school is closer to Haeundae & on a smaller campus. He wants to return to BIFS next year for Middle School.

At your children's very young age it makes absolutely no difference what school here you send them to.

There really is no right or wrong answer unless you know for a fact that the Year 1 teacher at a particular school here in Korea has a very bad rep?

Hopefully they will atleast be taught the basics and will learn to read and write in English in a safe enviroment. They will make new friends from all over the World.

If you can get your kids in to Okpo School then I think that would be ideal. Your husband works on Geoje. & from what I have read on friends Facebook pages etc there very much still seems to be a sense of community with the Okpo School mums. I am sure they will help with daycare info etc once you arrive (have you contacted Rainbows Playschool?).

If you can't get them into Okpo School at all then the decision really is about whether your hubby wants to drive from Busan everyday, the traffic is a nightmare. The school situation, in my opinion, as your children are so young is the least of your worries.(Unless your husbands company doesn't pay the school fees and they are double in Busan to what you would pay in Okpo).

Make the most of it, things start to get very complicated here when your children get older!

These are just my opinions from my experience.

Drop me a line on if you think I can help further.

Best of luck.
Posted: 16 February 2012 - 04:13 AM

(The campus at Busan Foreign School looks impressive but the lack of (gym) equipment etc means it isn't utilised to its full potential).

This should read Busan International Foreign School!

& just to confirm there are 2 'foreign' schools in Busan.

Busan International Foreign School (BIFS) is in Gijang (& is the one with the fancy campus!).

Busan Foreign School (BFS) is near Haeundae in Busan (has an American curriculum & a smaller campus).

Are you confused enough yet???!
Posted: 16 February 2012 - 05:38 AM
Thank you so much, Angela! I might send you an email one of these days! So many things to research (besides working more than full time and looking after 3 kids! Woha!)
School info
Posted: 19 February 2012 - 10:30 PM

Making this decison is very difficult ! I would say that having younger kids sending them to Okpo is probably ok as angil said there is a nice community but the standard of teaching is always a question but it depends on your standard and what you want for your kids in the first place, where you are from, where you plan to be later on.. a million questions. The traffic to travel to work to Busan is a nightmare for sure. There are now 3 buses running kids to BIFS , the youngest I think are year 2 (grade 1) , but a 2 year old would be too young I think, its a long journey ! As Angil said, as your children get older is is more difficult , Okpo does not offer enough of an education in my opinion for older children , but as you have much younger children its different, if you can get them in ! There is talk of another school being built eventually offering more numbers etc but I have no idea when ? Being a mum I would think that you would want to be close to young kids at school and be able to get to them quickly. Good luck with your plans, its not easy ! I currently send my two kids aged 9 and 12 to BIFS but I changed my mind 3 times about sending my 9 year old to BIFS because of the travel , but it has been the best choice and they love it ! Any more questions, keep asking as I know there are a lot of people talking about this subject , and the more info you have teh better, its a never ending topic !
Posted: 02 February 2013 - 08:08 AM
I am considering a position that would require me to move to Korea an work at Okpo. I would move with my wife and 12 year old daughter who is in 7th grade in the USA. Can someone give me an update on the schools? how is the trafic between Busan and Okpo, if I decide to live in Busan near the schools?
Posted: 17 March 2013 - 12:37 AM
There's a bus to BIFS every morning. Driving in to Okpo everyday may be quite a journey. OIS may add a year 9 next year which would be USA 8th grade. Lots of improvements to that school this year. Cheers!
Posted: 17 April 2013 - 08:48 AM
With regards to OIS, there is another temporary campus opening up for Year 4 to Year 9 for the 2013-2014 school year. The original OIS building will be for pre-k to year 3. Anyone that has applied should receive confirmation one way or another in May. The new school building being built is the new accommodation for OIS and will be ready in 2014. Until then, with the extra temporary campus for the upper classes they are creating extra room for all the new kids that are coming to Geoje for the school year 2013/2014.

My son is 4 years old and is currently in Nursery class at OIS, he will go to Reception in September when the new school year starts. There are lots of Norwegian children at OIS, there are 3 in my son's class. They do the alphabet, counting, they just started additions. They have music, art, gym and korean classes during the week. School days are from 8:25am till 2:45 pm. My son really likes it there. He is in the lowest class, they start from 3 yrs old. For more opinions on the school from mums in Okpo/Geoje, you should visit the Facebook group "Okpo International Mums". Hope my answer helps in your decision.
GFRA Forums : New or Moving to Geoje - Q&A : Okpo int'l school vs BIFS?

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