83 COMMENTS

This week’s TL;DR is on a topic we often talk about with each other and is a little bit more serious than most of our TL;DRs. The question we were asked this week is about the differences between Korean students and student life, and North American students.

A while ago we remember reading that Obama praised the South Korean school system by saying that

“Our children – listen to this – our children spend over a month less in school than children in South Korea every year,” Obama told a gathering at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce here. “That’s no way to prepare them for a 21st-century economy.”

It’s clear to anyone who has experienced both the North American and South Korean school system that there are huge differences between the two, and while Obama may say that the South Korean system might give South Korean students a competitive advantage, we find that the South Korean system has some serious disadvantages, as well as some serious advantages, that don’t make it a clear cut winner over the North American system.

Flat out, we can say that the South Korean education system is definitely more competitive. There’s a sense of urgency in the South Korean education system. Students start studying from a very young age for their University Entrance Exams, which are a super huge deal in determining the rest of their lives. That kind of importance of education isn’t really prevalent in the North American system. You can get into a good university with mediocre grades (Simon’s a perfect example of this), and if you don’t get straight A’s on everything, it’s not the end of the world. Here in South Korea, though, getting perfect grades is a must if you want to succeed.

Even those students that don’t care about studying hard will still go through the motions with the other students. A student picking fights, doing drugs, skipping class and so on is just about unheard of here in Korea. Now of course, you can find example of a naughty Korean student, but they are so few and far between compared to what we’re used to back home. From our experiences as teachers in Canada, we had difficult students in every class, while as teachers in Korea, we barely had any difficult students. Our co-teachers would complain about some difficult students, but their complaints are about disinterested or tired students, rather than violent or rude students.

So what is the difference between Korean students and North American students to create this giant huge behaviour gap? Well, we have various theories (including how Korean parents take a super active role in their daughter/son’s school marks) and one of them has to do with differences in the concept of individualization. North America is all about finding yourself, speaking up, thinking out of the box, debating, and essay writing, while Korea is all about fitting in, listening to your teacher’s lecture, knowing the one right answer, and succeeding on multiple choice tests. Being able to form creative answers based off a student’s ability to synthesize material is important in North America, while in South Korea it’s almost unheard of.

So they point of our ramble here is that Korean students end up becoming very focused on studying and they consider it a full time job, while North American students are lots of other things apart from students. They hold part-time jobs, they date, they go out with friends, they play on the basketball team, and oh yeah, they do their homework. Korean students don’t do as much as North American students do, because they go to school almost the whole day. They study a LOT more than North American students. A LOT MORE. Sure, South Korean students hang out with their friends, but not to the extent that North American kids do. There aren’t house parties here where people awkwardly socialize and mingle and mate. There are gatherings at the PC room with some of their friends.

Anyhow, we really have a lot of things to say about this, and we can ramble on with examples of differences forever, but the bottom line is that even though Korean students are must better behaved than North American students, we still don’t think either system is perfect. Korean students work way to hard. You teenage year is the time to make mistakes and to grow up and discover yourself, but how can you do that if you spend all your time walking around in a daze because you just study ALL DAY? Plus, you don’t really study as much as memorize, which we think is not as good as say, struggling to write a thought provoking essay. So which system is better? We don’t know, but we wish could take a little bit of each and mix it to create this awesome middle system.

Wow, we said a lot…we definitely need to hear your opinions and experiences on the subject. Let us know!

ToFebruary
  1. I went to school in America and I do wish the school system was a lot better. A lot of students don’t care a lot about their own education. The main students who did were the ones in the AP/honors classes that I was in. My mom pushed me really hard to do well in school and I wish I would have listened to her more. I graduated with an A GPA, but it wasn’t a 4.0. It was close, but not there.
    One thing that is true is that American teenagers do get into a lot of trouble and have a lot of free time. The main ones who didn’t were the AP/honors students, and even though they studied a ton, they still did other things besides schoolwork.
    Teachers care a lot about their students, (well, the honors teachers did) and they are really involved because they want them to succeed.
    I just feel like American students need to value their education more like Korean students.

  2. I am a korean. I totally agree with you.
    About 80% of high school graduates go to college/university.
    Therefore, someone who want to be hired earlier than his/her
    friends should aim to go to famous university. The vocational
    education are not activated in my country. Most studentr

  3. Why do teachers in k-dramas go to the police station for their troubled student? Is this as common as troubled students or is it completely fictional?

  4. Hello,
    The article was a good insight into the South Korean education system. I noticed quite a few grammar mistakes in your article and I couldn’t help but point them out.

    From the second to last paragraph the first sentence should start with ” So the point”. In the last paragraph it should be: ” Korean students are much better…”, ” work way too hard.”, and ” Your teenage year…”.

    I love your enthusiasm and quirkiness. Thanks for the wonderful posts :)

  5. I am aa sixth grader from south korea.
    Seriously, I sleep at 1am-2am and wake up at 6pm-7pm.
    I once studied my whole night without sleeping.
    Education is really important, and on 10pm in daechidong(THE place with the most academires-more than 800 but you can walk around it within 1 hour), police cars and mothers’ car (to pick their children up) pack the streets. The cars hardly move. The police get out of their car in action, to look for hagwons that it still operating.
    My mom makes me memorize the textbook,so when she says page 38, I say (for example) South Koreans were dragged into Japan’s territories….
    In that way if you have to write long answers, I can perfectly.
    My mom slaps my face if I get it wrong.
    We are also learning advanced subjects.
    For example, like me, I am supposed to learn about circumference and in hagwons I learn geometric sequence.
    NOW CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT??
    There is a saying really famous that quotes,”If you sleep 3hrs a day, you can go to Seoul University. If 4hrs, other universities. If five, don’t even think about going into one”
    Scary, I believe.
    Also, mothers say that if you want to go to a good middle/high school, you should MASTER (and that means repeating the whole thing at least five times) every subjects till 10th grade (about 11th grade in US) before you graduate elementary.
    Like, WOW>
    I am supposed to do my homeworkand Im doing this secretly.
    I should stop now.
    Anyways, I want you to know this :In Korea, memorizing things is the ‘thing’.
    In Korea, you study 500% of everything, but learn nothing.
    Thanks and I love ur videos

    • Suck it up! Folks, these Koreans are just complaining and whining!! It’s like when I was sent to Chinese school, and I didn’t like it because I felt like it was boring and too hard. Soon after, my parents allowed me to stop going, but in the long run, I regretted leaving and was upset that my parents did not push me to learn Chinese. Now I am terrible at my native language! These naive and ignorant children in Korea don’t know how their type of education can benefit them in the long run. Sure, their hours are long, but tell me that the adults who went through the same education did not benefit from it. There are students in America that don’t give a crap about their education, which in turn destroys the image of teachers and makes our country look stupid. Do these Koreans want to be like these Americans? At least, Korea holds their discipline towards the students, but America can’t do that. “Is your student getting an F? It’s okay, we’ll let them do a packet that is 5 levels below their current grade at the end of the school year and pass them so he/she can move on.” I have seen this happen! We call it the no-child left behind policy. Students in Korea have the fear of their parents, teachers, or whoever if they don’t do well, but for the majority of lower-class families with parents who don’t give a crap will let their children do poorly in school. How about middle school students in America who Christmas-tree through state tests and have no consequence? That’s because the tests aren’t counted against them. Do you want Koreans to start getting to that point? It might not seem like that at first, but that’s how America started out too, and look where it’s gotten our students to?

  6. I’d like to say BOF is TOO MUCH dramatic. not a little ;)

  7. Mostly public but they’re not perfectly free, and we do have many private schools as well. Primary school is almost free, but need to pay some money if you go to middle/high school.

  8. Unless you want to be a full-time student or worker, you don’t need to do. :p
    want to be an exchange student? much easier!

  9. I wish we are North American’s would focus MORE on education the way that Asia does.  I see the down side to Asia’s approach…but a happy medium would be nice.  And MAN!…I deff. wished that N. American kids were are well behaved as Asian’s kids…respect has broken down so much.  I can happily say that I have raised my children to be very much like a balance of Asian/American personality.  They both are VERY respectful and are LEADERS.  They don’t do what everyone else is doing.  They don’t like the appeal of drugs…most of the time they don’t even understand the draw but at the same time…they are very crazy kids.  I mean I have allowed my kids to use profanity at a very young age…as long as they understand content and timing and of course, the crowd when they use it!  To me…profanity is nothing more than words!!!  You give them power by how you use them.  Peace!

  10. Go to http://www.youtube.com/simonandmartinabonus and submit it to the Google Moderator

  11. I don’t know… I’m korean high school student..
    korean education system is so pressure and so many forbidden thing in the school.
    and some korean teachers do violence to student by reason why punishment.
    It makes us feel sad,blue and stressful and so on . Eventually that makes teenager suicide or mentally problem…
     I think that is different meaning of violence…….

  12. a spudgy channel would be great fun   :D

  13. missing an o @ “working way too hard”… sorry i just notice it haha.

    asian system and american system need to find a middle ground, both of them push their own system to the point of diminishing returns, alot of asian students are great at doing homework, but that’s it, they can’t apply it to real world problem, the US system on the other hand isn’t forcing enough of a “pathway” to their students, they just let them go on their own, and most of the time the student doesn’t really learn anything either (you let a kid go on by himself, chances are he’s gonna go play instead of study).

  14. Since I grew up in India, I can probably explain the Asian education system here. 
    Most people here see a good education as a means to a) Lead a comfortable life, b) Help their parents lead a comfortable life. 
    Remember that it is only after World War II that Asian countries began to develop, a process that had been started by Europe and North America in the 1700s. 
    There is very little scope here for making a career out of music / sports / arts, so children are pushed to do as well as they can during school. While it does create a stifling environment, children also end up learning the basics of all subjects, which then helps them a lot during College. I know many people who took up guitar / drums / painting / video games after they got a job, so people do have personalities of their own, but we prefer to explore that part after we are “secured in life”, as we tend to put it

  15. I feel another thing that’s very different between schools in North America and schools in South Korea is the relationship between student and teacher. Now, my information is just from watching dramas and doing research, but it seems that the level of respect students have for their teachers in North America is a hundred times less than what most South Korean students show their teachers. I don’t feel like this is always the student’s fault, however, nor do I think its a bad thing. On the one hand, you can respect your teacher and cause less trouble, but feel like they’re not there to help you as much as they are to teach you; while on the other hand, you can develop a friendly relationship with your teacher, and feel as if they’re more involved in your learning. I’m the type of student who has always respectful to my teachers, but I never had trouble talking to them if I had a problem, or even just chatting with them about things that weren’t even school-related, because they encouraged me to. Almost all of my teachers here in America were very friendly and laid-back. I feel like this may not be the case in South Korea, and that maybe its another added level of stress for the students? I know it would’ve been so much harder for me if I hadn’t had teachers that tried to understand and were friendly with their students in school, so I can just imagine what South Korean kids might go through, not having that type of support.

  16. It’s clear Obama doesn’t know what he was talking about when he was praising the educational system. In Korea I remember watching a movie a long time ago that criticized the educational system which dehumanizes students and drives them to suicide. But from the comments that I read and commentaries about this subject that I have had come across it always seems that the grass is greener on the other side. Americans looking at the lackluster performance of their kids compared to other countries and wishing that their kids had as strong performance as say Koreans and Koreans chaffing under their educational system and in way looking at the educational system of the US as being less dehumanizing and less pressured which is healthier. 

    • About the lack of pressure… I am always surprised when I meet young kids who don’t care about school. Growing up I had uncles who had studied and had good jobs while the other one’s just barely made a living. So I knew I better study.
      But now they seem lost. Some don’t even learn to write properly. There are no goals.

  17. I agree with you guys. In my classes the students are rude to the teachers and are always saying ” Im bored”, which bothers me because they don’t know the importance of education. But luckily my school is a “Green Dot” school, which do push students and prepare us for college ^_^ .  http://www.greendot.org/

  18. Martina, you blink a lot. I don’t know why I noticed that.

  19. IDK if you guys have seen this already, but someone made a documentary focused on Korean high school students.
    http://koreanhighschool.com/
    The fact North American countries never had to climb from being one of the poorest nations in the world to one of the richest in 60 years also contributes. Helping rebuild your country and bring it to the forefront? Now that’s a real initiative for students…

  20. Simon&Martina u guy hit the nail on this one, * im still a high school student* and a lot of my classmates are SOOOOOO disrespectful to almost all there teacher *the guys in my math class call my teacher by her first name! and a lot of the girls have MAJOR attitudes!!!! and this girl in my bio class want to be a vet, well hate 2 break it 2 u honey but with the u got in bio well im sure as hell im not letting you near my puppy*

  21. is there a lot of plus sizes people in korea like there is in america and are how do they get treated?

  22. I feel that my school in America is challenging yet still allows us to have a life outside of school. Its an IB school (most people dont know what that is but w/e), so it does not run by the normal American education system, but it is a charter school so its public. My teachers expect us to memorize and be able to critically think (and think for ourselves) and while I understand that school is very important and students at my school do spend the majority of their time studying (although my grades dont really show it) life outside of school is important too. Everyday I have at least 1 club meeting to go to for a different club everyday of the week and this kind of activity is expected of everyone, but it causes a lot of stress so a lot of kids turn to drugs and drinking. but even those kids are still for the most part excited to learn and enthusiastic about both school and other things going on in their life. I dont know if I would be able to survive in a korean school. it sounds so oppressive i feel like i would go crazy,

  23. In North America, yeah there is more freedom and more socialization, but it’s not true that all teachers or parents don’t push their kids academically. Take for example my friend Kim, her mother came from El Salvador and because of her mom’s inexperience with education pushed Kim hard in school. Kim was 1 of our 2 valedictorians because of her mother pushing her. Me? I spent most of my time at home reading and doing homework instead of going out. Not all North American students go out and do destructive things, but a majority do.

  24. I think I have to agree a lot with what was said.

    I grew up going to schools in America, but now I have a lot of Korean friends and have been studying the culture and such, so I see a little bit of that side too. I can’t speak much for other places, but in the US, our public education system is horrid. There are lots of drugs, alcohol abuse, sex, teen pregnancies, and violence. Respect and discipline aren’t taught, so students are rude and disrespectful not only to each other, but teachers as well. There is also a lot placed in area code. If you live in the city or a less wealthy area of a suburb or the country, your education quality is lower. I went to one of the nicer high schools in my area, but it was in a less wealthy county and we suffered from so many budget and staff cuts in my four years there it was sick. 
    On the other side, one of my friends just moved to the States for uni and he hates the Korean system as much as I hate the American one. Like you guys said, they go to school for the larger part of the day and then to hagwon. The stress is killer and it’s still widely accepted to beat kids in schools. He says a lot of kids start drinking and smoking as a stress reliever in high school, and it’s something that carries over into their adult life (which is why a lot of Koreans drink and smoke so much in their later years). Another student I used to know was studying here as a middle school exchange student and planned on applying to exchange programs every year until uni so he wouldn’t have to back to the Korean school system.

    This is actually something I’ve discussed a lot with friends. There are so many flaws in both systems that neither do well at stimulating a real interest in learning. There are good things about both, too, most of which were listened in the video, but in this way, I feel maybe the good outweighs the bad. Also, as a side note, I’m really curious if anyone here is Finnish, because I’ve heard a lot of great things about the Finnish lower school systems and would sorta like to hear about it first hand ^.^

  25. Bottom line…I would die in South Korea because I couldn’t study if my life depended on it, lol. I don’t know why…I just can’t focus on stuff I don’t care about i.e. history…math…reading and writing…you know, the boring stuff.

  26. Hi, 
     Im from Mongolia but was raised in Germany and went to school in both of the countries. Right now im in the senior year of high school in Mongolia and the difference in the education system is huge. Like in Germany school focused more on language and natural sciences and u have more freedom, going out with friends and stuff. But here in Mongolia its so diffrent kids of families which live in a poorer enviroment have the chance of good education but they dont grab it they skip school and drink (vodka) smok, but kids of my school (privat high school) or children which come from better families they take studying going to school seriously. For example my day beginns at 6 o’clock go to school than study group at 5 outside school activities and i come home at 7 cooking & housework than homework, thats a normal day for many asian kids. 
    German teenagers mostly think about love and stuff but in asia we are more concernt of our future and career. 
    P.S. I love u guys and ur show <3

  27. I’ve heard college is much easier than high school in Korea… but that’s not saying a whole lot since high school is incredibly hard. I’ve heard rumors that our universities are better though? Our best schools anyway… that’s why you see Korean kids working so hard then coming to the U.S. to our Ivy League schools…

  28. Memorization is really a problem overall as it’s taking over in the US too. Unfortnately it’s the ultimate way to “show” so-called results to parents and the admin. It’s also an easier way when dealing with about thirty students. I couldn’t wait for college as I was sick and tired of the constant busy work we were given, even in advanced classes. There was very little hands on work or any chance of real discussion and even if there was the discussions had to be cut short because they had to get through what’s required for us to know that day. 50 minutes with a large class isn’t really enough time. I know for my high school the constant busy work caused a lack of respect as we viewed it as wasted time, which is what it was. It wasn’t reinforcing anything and we weren’t learning anything new. It was only to fill the last twenty minutes of class. I really think having smaller teacher:student ratios could really help out on this as it allows for more individualized attention and a chance to go beyond the textbook and worksheets. Even if there will be teachers that are still worksheetholics.

  29. So, I’ve read through all the comments and I’m kind of shocked by what some people are saying, that high school here in North America is nothing, but college is super intense. My high school was pretty tough, with a lot of focus on college prep and for tests like the SAT and ACT. I was super prepared for college, like over prepared. My work load was a lot harder in high school when it came to core classes, i.e. math and English. Thats basically what all of my friends from high school say. I graduated from a private, all girl, Catholic high school though, so I don’t know what the public school systems are like. 

    (And I specified core classes because I’m studying design at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (aka DAAP). Its widely known that if you are in DAAP, all nighters tend to be your best friend for the 4/5 years you’re there. So any class specifically related to your major usually has a high work load. I can’t really say for people with other majors though, most of my friends don’t tend to complain about the work.)

  30. I’m in the US and this is the first year I’m dealing with our public schools. I have a 6 year old foster daughter in first grade.Here’s a few gems from her school: 1)For math homework she had to count the thermometers in our house and draw her favorite one. (According to my friend who teaches middle school, the curriculum emphasizes math in the real world,.The kids have trouble doing basic math facts, but hey, they know math is all around them!) 2) there are no spelling test. they will teach them to spell by modeling good spelling behaviors in the classroom. Oh wait, we also like to use creative spelling…they will “transition to proper spelling as they learn english better.”  Looking at our nation of txt spking teens somehow I doubt it. 3) Phonics inhibits kids and causes regression. It’s better to look at the pictures and guess until you get the right word.  I’m not a hard core phonics only girl, but I’ve been I reading tutor for kids who had trouble reading and I can tell you the ones who knew some phonics were better equipped to figure out words and problem solve. 

    I agree with Simon and Martina, a balance between  the two systems would be good. Right now I think the US is going to continue to fall compared to the rest of the 1st world countries.  We want to be high ranked, but we want to get there without having  our kids do the work necessary.  Hey, maybe if we try the latest “new” thing our students will magically think that learning is fun and outscore everyone else..or not. 

    • From what I’ve observed and gathered in roughly 8 years in and out of classrooms in all subjects (I work as a substitute, though I’ve been certified since 2005, and already had to renew it), I’ve concluded that lower levels really need to concentrate on memorization, especially in mathematics. Without memorizing arithmetic facts, the higher levels of math become much more difficult. With reading, phonics is absolutely necessary for alphabetic scripts because the marks generally stand for phonemes. (English is horrible in this regard, though, unlike Spanish where the sound system very neatly lines up with the written language; there are really too many exceptions and variations in English.) The pure whole-language approach really only works with logographic systems like Chinese where you really DO have to recognize the word, as it’s basically one or two characters. I’m reminded of Bloom’s Taxonomy, wherein you have to start with basic Knowledge, then develop Comprehension before you try Application, and then you can go to the higher-order skills of Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation. The higher-order thinking skills are not possible without the lower-order skills having been addressed in a given area.

  31. This is why I never talk about school.

  32. My theory on this matter is that it has a lot to do with the fundamental cultural differences in Western and Eastern views on parent-child relationship, the Asian superiority complex, and the fact that Chinese characters are un-phonetic hieroglyphs that’s damn hard to learn. What do I mean? Let’s start off with the Chinese characters.

    Historically, Chinese was the language of knowledge since the beginning of times in Asia. But since it’s quite time-consuming and difficult to master Chinese characters, the ability to read and write was really only reserved to nobility, because they could afford to teach that to their children. It’s no wonder that such ability would be envied by the masses, and since the ability to read and write Chinese characters was really fundamental in learning pretty much everything, the illiterate masses couldn’t really study anything. This ultimately made the very act of studying highly desirable and even elevated it to some sort of romantic ideal. I mean consider the importance of Confucianism in Asia, and how do you learn the teachings of Confucius? You have to be able to read!

    In modern times, the barrier to all sorts of knowledge and learning have all but disappeared, but that attitude toward studying didn’t, and led to an environment where those that excel in studying (i.e. those that great grades) are very much respected, and those that don’t are sneered at. Combine that with the tighter parent-child relationship in Korea (and other parts of Asia as well) where parents generally get to exert more control on their children, add in a bit of the Asian superiority complex (Asians seek ways to show off because they live in a homogenous society where individuality is not appreciated), you get this hyper competitive environment where kids have to live and die by their grades.

    As a side note, I believe that Confucianism is largely to blame for the
    Korean (and probably other Asian as well) education system where
    critical thinking is not really encouraged. In the old days, the entire
    field of studying is focused on reading, understanding, and memorizing
    words and teachings of philosophers and scholars of antiquity. (If you
    have to value the words of people older than you, obviously the words of
    people who lived thousands of years old would be far more important.)
    Studies of more practical matter like science was mostly seen as
    somewhat lowly endeavor. Even arguments between elite scholars,
    politicians, and court officials often consisted of reciting phrases
    from old books that support their opinions. Education that value critical thinking over memorization would be a radical departure from those old days, and naturally, Korean education system still tend to focus more on memorization of facts.

  33. Here in Brazil education is more about memorizing, different from education in North America, but kids aren’t interested in learning also :/  I don’t blame them too much… Parents are guilty for this, right?
    But I don’t think the korean system is healthy, the social thing is so important and is suppressed. I have talked to a 23 y.o. korean boy, and he miss the social thing about school (I haven’t talked to many korean about this, but I think they think the same or something like this)
    So I agree with you, it’s a matter of mixing both cultures…
    But I think this korean generation is opening a bit their own minds, I think that to the next generations we’ll see some changes in the korean society (in a better way). Well, I hope that, for the sake of young koreans’ health (mind and body).

  34. I remember when my mom told me stories of when she was in school in Korea.. she said that there are sooo much pressure that many students will actually commit suicide.. scary…. but I love the idea that education is absolutely a priority to korean students, as for here in america…. eh, like you guys said more of the artsy type of things… maybe america should be a little more in that kind of system like korea, but maybe not as extreme…hmmmmmmmmmmm just a thought =]

  35. I’m Korean and I studies abroad for 3 years and I realized that Korean system of studying is the WORST system ever. ppl from somewhere did a survey of my age (16in K age) and nearly 70~80% thought of suiciding..  I live in DoGok-Dong in Gangnam,Seoul where students study the MOST and where all the smart students come. They sleep at 2~3am and get up at 7 to go to school. The weirdest thing is that kindergarten in our town, they teach English at 3years old in K age!!! Thats 1~2yrs in American age. Can you believe that? And 5 above, they go to cram schools..

    STUDENTS DON”T HAVE LIFE IN KOREA

    The moment they turn 17 (start of high-school) they become ZOMBIES of Study…
    They study 22/7… REALLY I’M NOT JOKING.

    Students goal of living is going to more elite university – going in to elite company – earning A LOT of money. THE END…
    When I asked top students at our school, (our school is the best school in Korea so if they are top in our school, it means they are top in K) they ALL said “I’M NOT GONNA LIVE IN KOREA WHEN I GROW UP’

    and students are NOT respective anymore. They shock me… ppl are starting to change…
    I think K gov has to chage 180degrees! I DON’T WANNA BE A WORKBEE…!

    • Hey! I’m a Korean-American(I was born and raised in Michigan and moved to Korea. Now, I go to an international school: Seoul International School (SIS)) and I can totally agree with you! Although we international school kids have it a bit easier than you guys(My korean school friends always tell me what happens), our schools are equally competitive. I’m in middle school and already the only thing people talk about is their GPA. It’s really weird but I end up checking it all the time. Our moms get really mad if we get a 99 on a test, but still they cool off. I know a kid who goes to 11 academies. Still, our teachers make it really fun and try to make it easy for us, and we have tons of breaks and half days(American System) so if you want to have an easier life style, you should come to an international school(K to 12) lol. Wish you luck XD.

    • 강남이면 저희보다 더 힘드셨겠어요.
      전 대전에 있는 자사고 학생인데.
      아침 7:30분까지 등교에 12:00까지 의무 자습이였습니다.
      체벌도 있고요. 솔직히 체벌은 상관없는데.. 잘못 안하면 때리진 않으니깐.
      교육시스템은 잘못됬습니다.
      한국인 아니면 믿지도 않아요.
      네덜란드에서 오후 3:00까지 남게 한다고 시위 일으킨 거 보고 열불나 죽는 줄 알았습니다.
      오바마 대통령은 지네 국민한테 한국 학생들을 본 받으라고 한다는데.
      말도 안되죠. 우리가 하고 싶어서 하는게 아닌데,,
      솔직히 한국에 좀 공부 한단 놈들.
      다 이민이나 유학 생각하죠.
      등록금이 같다고 치더라도
      미국이 더 기회도 많고, 경험도 더 좋죠.
      그래서 저도 한국 대학을 포기하고 외국 대학으로 집어넣으려고 합니다.
      슬픕니다. 한국인으로써 한국을 좋아하지만 버리고 아메리칸 드림을 믿고 사는 사람이란게.

      • 아메리칸 드림은 있습니다. 단지, 그 과정이 아주 길고 고되서 많은 사람들이 중간에 포기하기 때문에 멀게 보이지요. 단순히 미국이 자유롭고 기회많아서 동경하는 마음으로 오는 거라면 미국 유학은 실패합니다. 정말 피나는 노력이 필요합니다. 한국인과 어울리지 않을 각오하고 미국생활에 적응하려면 엄청난 의지력이 있어야 합니다.
        생활비를 제외한 대학 등록금만해도 미국인과 비교해서 3배 차이가 납니다. 여러가지 조건이 맞아야 하고 본인의 강력한 의지가 중요합니다. 저는 미국와서 처음2년동안 한국인과 한번도 어울리지 않고 지냈습니다. 본인 의지에 달렸습니다. 힘들지요. 압니다. 하지만 불가능한건 아닙니다. 저같은 경우는 군대있을때 부모님이 교통사고로 돌아가시면서 강남에 아파트한채 남겨주신돈을 전부 유학비용으로 사용했습니다. 왠만한 4년제 다니려면 1년에 적어도 5만불정도는 들어간다고 봐야됩니다. 희망을 버리지 마세요. 아무쪼록 건투를 빕니다.

      • 지금 어메리칸 드림이라는건 거의 없어진거나 마찬가지니 미국 이민취업상황을 보고 가세요… 지금 미국 유학와서 취업/이민을 못해서 다른 선진국 나라로 가는 사람들이 엄청 많은데… 역시 한국에 있으면 다 미국을 생각하는군요. 생각하는만큼 미국 그만큼 좋은나라 아닙니다.

    • Thank you for your input.  We agree that the Korean school system is heavily flawed, but the North American system has a lot of flaws as well.  We’re starting to wonder if there is any ideal system of learning, somewhere between the two…

  36. grammar mistake in the line “Korean students work way to hard.” It should be “too.” haha and this coming from english majors/teachers too! =p

  37. I teach in an English academy (Hogwan) in S. Korea.  The students who come are often exhausted.  They all “go through the motions” as you mentioned, but “the motions” are often a lot of drilling and memorizing like you mentioned.  I think you’re quite right.  Both systems have their flaws.  One thing I wanted to mention is that from what I told these “motions” or Hogwans are more often more of a competition between parents as a sort of status symbol.  This is something that does not exist so much in North America either.

  38. I have a korean friend, and she really studied hard. To the extend that she sacrifice sleep, even though, say that the test portion is not a lot. She rant more about her studies and task, even though i took harder subject than she did, and whenever I ask her out, she will not go out. It’s like she studied 24/7. I hate that system. Even though we are in hong kong, she just studied, korean style. I think koreans are all like that, no matter where they are. 

  39. “..but we wish could take a little bit of each and mix it to create this awesome middle system.” I dont wanna brag but that awesome middle system = Finland.
    It’s hard to say why the school system here produces really good results even though Finnish students spend the least time in school. Of course it’s not perfect ether, but maybe both Korea and Nort America could learn someting from that.

  40. interesting… i teach in Japan and the korean system seems to be really similar to the japanese one….

    now with that in mind, i really wanna know how you can get away with having pink hair as a teacher!!!! here they would have a COW!!! lol.

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