Students learn English in the DMZ

South Korean students learn English from US military in the heavily guarded zone that separates South and North Korea.

PAJU, SOUTH KOREA (REUTERS) -  Jung Woo-jin, a 13 year old sixth grade boy, walks into school with his classmates in South Korea.

He and 29 other students attend the Daesungdong Elementary School in the country's Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea.

The school is unique because it offers language classes taught by American soldiers... a bonus for students trying to hone their English skills.

Kids from other schools can't speak English in front of native speakers, Jung said. I think that's a huge advantage for us.

The school was set up decades ago, but only opened its doors to students who live in surrounding towns in 2008.

The area where the school sits is called Freedom Village and is heavily guarded.

Teachers and students are not allowed to stay in the village overnight and students can't go outside on their own.

Despite the heavy security, teachers like 22-year-old sailor Bryan Waite said the chance to practice spoken English makes it worthwhile for the students.

"It's just a very unique experience and it's very important that the children, from a young age, are exposed to English and to knowing what the DMZ is and how it comes into play in their lives and the history behind it," he said. 

The school was set up in 1953 for children of farmers who were allowed by the U.N. to live in the DMZ.

South and North Korea are still technically at war because their conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.