EMU, Korean School Sign Exchange Agreement

Two schools with a strong commitment to global learning have signed an agreement that encourages student exchanges and other efforts to strengthen relational ties.

Representatives of Bell International School (BIS), Nonsan City, Chungcheongnam-do, Korea, and EMU gathered May 27 at EMU to get better acquainted and to formalize an agreement between the two institutions.

Hongnam Lee, principal of Bell International School, and Loren Swartzendruber, EMU president
Hongnam Lee, principal of Bell International School, and Loren Swartzendruber, EMU president, sign the agreement document that will help promote interaction between the schools and encourage Bell students to apply for admission to EMU. (Photo by Jim Bishop)

The informal, non-binding agreement states that “subject to meeting all academic, English language proficiencies and other requirements, BIS graduates will be admitted for undergraduate study at EMU.” The school principal will recommend students to apply for admission to EMU.

The agreement stipulates that “each student will apply to EMU through the office of admissions and will submit all documents required of an international student applicant. The director of international students and the director of financial assistance may award grants and/or scholarships to BIS graduates in accordance with established policies and the level of each applicant’s academic grade and language proficiency.”

James Rhee, pastor of the Stephens City (VA) Korean Mennonite Church and a graduate of Eastern Mennonite Seminary, introduced the BIS officials and gave a PowerPoint presentation on Bell International School. The school had its beginnings in 1996 but only became a four-year program in 2006.

BIS, with about 300 students currently enrolled, operates from a Christian philosophy that emphasizes community, language proficiency, computer education and music (every student learns to play one instrument and takes part in at least one sport). Similar to EMU, students are required to take part in cross-cultural study programs across their four years that include trips to China, Canada and the Philippines.

The written agreement includes several suggested activities designed to facilitate interaction between the schools:

  • EMU students may serve as summer volunteers at BIS for teaching English, writing instruction, campus activities or leading Bible studies.
  • EMU personnel may visit BIS and other schools to introduce EMU and to recruit prospective students.
  • EMU will consider financial aid for BIS students who want to take ESL classes through its Intensive English Program (IEP) or AP (Advanced Placement) classes during the regular semesters or summer term.

EMU President Loren Swartzendruber and Hongnam Lee, principal of Bell International School, each signed the document and exchanged gifts from their respective institutions.

“The program at Bell International School has an impressive track record,” said Dr. Swartzendruber. “It is very likely that some of their graduates would find EMU to be a great fit for university studies. We look forward to interactions with BIS in the years ahead.”

The ceremony opened with each school introduced its programs through PowerPoint presentations. A campus tour and a luncheon at a local restaurant followed the signing.