WEST BURBANK – South Korean university freshman Hwi Ryeong Kim was still recovering from her long-distance flight but insisted she didn’t feel tired because being in Burbank was too exciting.
The 21-year-old was one of 10 Korean students enjoying the city this week as part of an exchange program with Burbank’s sister city of Incheon.
It was only the second time a delegation from Incheon Metropolitan City had visited Burbank, and the students, who arrived on Monday, were staying with host families during their 12-day trip.
First on the packed itinerary was a tour of Burbank on Tuesday, which included lunch at Porto’s Bakery, followed by a visit to City Hall to meet Mayor Anja Reinke and the other council members.
Future plans included trips to Warner Bros., the San Fernando Mission and celebrating the Fourth of July with their host families.
Monica Ramirez, 19, of Burbank, said she has been involved with the Burbank Sister City Committee since she attended John Burroughs High School.
“I went to Incheon two summers ago,” she said. “My U.S. history teacher at Burroughs recommended it. My host family was really nice. I had doughnuts for breakfast, but they gave me Korean food too, like a Korean pizza with squid on it! I liked it.”
Ramirez wanted to accompany the delegation on their Burbank tour, even though she wasn’t hosting a student. She was due to visit one of Burbank’s other sister cities, Ota, Japan, next week.
Hwi Ryeong Kim, an English major at college, said she hoped 12 days in Burbank would improve her language skills.
“This is my first time in America. I feel at home because the people are nice,” she said. “It’s a really fantastic place. It’s different because in Korea there are many apartments, but in America there are lots of houses.”
The Burbank Sister City Committee plans to send local students to visit Incheon next summer, which will mark the 50th anniversary of the relationship between the two cities.