They also took note of the landscape as well the environment in the U.S., in particular the air quality. They said in the region surrounding Seoul, there are a lot of concrete buildings and air pollution both darkens the sky and causes other health concerns.
“The air is so good. I can see the stars at night,” 12-year-old Aileen Kim said of what he has experienced in the U.S. It was an observation echoed by 14-year-old Brian Hong.
Peter An said the Korean students are also finding academic life in the U.S. is easier than they’re used to.
“These kids have it really tough out there because it is so competitive,” he said. “They wake up at 6 in the morning, they go to school and study, and then after school they go to academy.”
As part of their visit to the U.S., the students have been touring colleges like Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, shopping at American malls and dining at area restaurants. They got a taste of a hamburger on a trip to Fuddruckers.
“One kid ate a 1-pound burger. He finished it all — the smallest boy,” Peter An said.
Recently, the students visiting Andover as well as their counterparts on exchanges in Lexington and Concord came together with Korean War veterans for a program at West Middle School called “Bridging Generations: With Heroes of the Forgotten War.
“It’s a huge opportunity to learn lessons from American forefathers who fought for (the students’) freedom and democracy in Korea,” Jay Jang, managing director of Educational Divide Reform, said. “It’s a good opportunity to express appreciation to Korean veterans.”
Meeting youngsters who represent the descendants of the Korean War provided a sense of vindication, said Albert McCarthy, commander of the Korean Veterans of America.