WHOA! Thought we forgot about our TL;DR segment, didn’t ya? DIDIN CHA? Admit it. Yes, we didn’t do one for a couple of weeks, but – as you might know – we just moved into our new apartment in Seoul and have spent most of our time handling all of that stuff. As you can hear from the echo in our audio, our apartment is still quite empty…BUT THAT WON’T STOP US FROM MAKING MOVIES! Forward ho!

This week we’re answering a TL;DR question from the comments in our last TL;DR on How We Lost Weight in Korea:

i’m not sure if this was asked before but in south korean schools what kind of events do they hold for the students?? like here in usa (when i was in HS) we have homecoming, prom, spirit week (where we dress up differently on different days like nerd day dress up like a nerd), prep rallies and mm can’t think of the other ones but stuff like that?????????? if not those things then do they do things that are similar??

Great question! We really wanted to talk about something Korea-ish lately. We’ve been doing a lot of talking about ourselves and Kpop for our TL;Drs, so we liked being able to talk about a topic that’s neither. Woohoo! Though, this is about teaching, and we haven’t been teaching for a while now. Martina stopped teaching June 2011, Simon June 2010, so we’re a bit out of the loop now. Maybe things have changed? We’re not sure. If there are any festivals we missed, please let us know in the comments below!

The main difference we noticed with Korean School Festivals and North American School Festivals is the importance of homeroom. Maybe school’s different in the US, but – from what I remember in high school – your home room class was just, well, your first class at the beginning of the day. That teacher took your attendance and gave you the news that the school wanted to tell you (“Don’t forget that Thursday we’ll be having vaccines in the gym. Get your parents to sign the consent form”). In Korea, though, homerooms are so much more than just attendance check-ins, and the festivals/gatherings really show that. Korean students are in their homeroom for a vast majority of the day with the same students, and they see their homeroom teacher a lot. It almost becomes something like their second family, you know? We’ve heard our Korean co-teachers describe themselves almost as parents to their students. So, these festivals aren’t necessarily for school spirit, but for homeroom spirit, we think.

Otherwise, we’ve done a bunch of videos on these festivals and activities before. We made a playlist of them all in the video above, but if you’d like to read the blog posts that accompany them, here’s a short list:

  • Korean School Festivals: Here’s a video of the day at Martina’s school where they transform every room into something different and fun.
  • Korean School Sports Day: This is a video of Martina saying goodbye to her school, but it has footage of Sports day there as well!
  • Martina and Nichkhun’s message to her school: We were on Running Man a long time ago, back when Martina was still teaching. We got Nichkhun, after the filming was over, to say a few short words of encouragement to Martina’s students, which she showed them at their year-end festival.
  • Korean School Excursion: OH THIS IS SO OLD! Check out Martina going with her students to Jeju. That’s back when we didn’t care about using copyrighted music! Oh, the memories!
  • Korean School Dance Festival: Here’s Martina dancing with her students for one of their school festivals. Ha! Oh, we’re SO MUCH BETTER at dancing now. Well, maybe not that much :D

Lastly, sorry this is a bit late. Our YouTube upload speeds are A LOT SLOWER here in our new apartment. Not sure why, but they’re taking a couple hours, while in Bucheon it would take, like, 20 minutes :( We had to go to sleep and publish it in the morning. Sorry!

  1. i feel like simon needs a hug here

  2. I’ve never understood why people get in line for iPhones anyway :S They don’t run out, the don’t go on a price hike, they don’t add up points based on time….

    off topic, but will you join us in voting for Epik High? :D

  3. Hey, I was just wondering, for anyone that can answer, do Korean students actually receive homework as in worksheets, projects, etc.? I was wondering because the hours of school take up so much of the day and if they have any homework besides studying.

  4. Is it possible to live in Korea an not drink alcohol? It just sems like it’s so much a part of the culture, especially regarding work, but there must be some Koreans that don’t drink, right?

  5. Martina you look soooooooooooooo pretty!!!!!! (you always do) but like you just look EXTRA pretty here!!!! your hair is so nice!!!
    and hahahaha aaww poor Simon was a complete loner!!!

  6. Don’t worry, I am taller then the guy I was talking about and was probably stronger then him too, but people Were not nearly as nervous around me, they would even start random conversations with me on the bus!
    This reaction was mostly directed towards men. I think (it is purely a theory here) that it is because that Japanese people see a white male and think of “a violent gun loving american”… Ya, again, a theory. I think it mostly has to with stereotypes and what they see in the media that makes them nervous and uncertain.

  7. I hope for your sake it’s the former!!!

  8. What is the typical schedule for an average high schooler in Korea?

  9. TLDR Question: You mentioned in your review of Handsome People “Woowei Woowei” that the party style shown is “totally foreigner style.” So if house parties, block parties and Backyard-BBQs are foreigner style, what’s Korea style?

  10. Hi, I’m from South America, and the more I see your videos related to school and general public in Korea, the more it seems like my country, Uruguay.
    School in general goes from 8am to 12, and then 1pm to 5pm, though you may stay to eat, also, we have classes on Saturdays and extra classes in different hours depending on your class (Astronomy at night around 11pm, or swimming classes at the local swimming pool on early Saturdays)
    You rarely will find a public bathroom with toilet paper, bidets are everywhere, McDonalds delivers to your home (most stores actually, even the smallest) and even though taxis aren’t that much used, we have cards that we can use for most public transportation, we have festivals too, in which we either do sports and compete, or study hard and have tests and the class with the higher grades wins
    We also implemented the Ceibal (that’s the name of a typical tree here) in which the government gave every child and teenage a modified laptop so as to keep track of class even though you’re sick, and let parents talk online with their teachers if needed to.

    Aah, I miss old school days.

  11. My freshmen year, homecoming got banned because of the grinding and sexual dancing that happened. It was brought back my junior year but on all of the homecoming signs around the school, in big capital letters it said ”NO DIRTY DANCING” at the bottom.

  12. Hey Simon and Martina!
    I don’t know if you guys have answered this question already but I wanted to know, does Korea have a big anime/cosplay scene? Like in Japan cosplayers and hardcore anime fans are “otaku,” does Korea have an equivalent? If so, is it different or the same and does it have any negative (or positive) connotations?

  13. I’ve already asked this some times before, I think the site will start considering it as a spam LOL
    How is the TV culture about foreign shows? Are the non-korean channels and their shows as watched/popular as the korean ones?

  14. I would hate to say it, but i think VH-1 is going to put Psy on a one hit wonders list sometime in the next decade. Hey Psy, make more uber hits and show them whats up!!

  15. TL;DR Question:
    I was wondering if what you thought of Korean TV/Movies vs. American TV/Movies. Recently, I was watching “The Go Show” and other K dramas and I am honestly confused about the structure of the shows. Also, how does Korea view American TV/Movies? What do you guise think is more entertaining, and what do you prefer most American TV/Movies or Korean TV/Movies?

  16. Does Simon ever shave his chest hair? :P

  17. TL;DR Question

    What kinds of jobs (other than teaching English) for foreigners seem to be available in Korea? Have any of your friends in Korea had trouble being hired for jobs just because they were a foreigner (not because of language issues).

    • If your tall, and good looking, there are many job opportunities in Korea, even if your knowledge of Korean is limited, such as modeling, and appearing on TV. If you’re not…… then it’ll be kind of hard, but you can try out for banks and corporate companies. (most would require you to have near fluency)

  18. guys i wanted to ask you:are there any foreign towns in korea?and if there are what kind of?

  19. so i’ve been wondering what kind of bugs you guys have to deal with…. like, do you find random spiders in your home/shower/bed or do you get special Korean pests?

  20. I know you talked about something similar …. about how Korean views of beauty tend to apply to both sexes…. but how is male “handsomeness or beauty” viewed in Korea? I see all these vids and comments about flower boys and such but do all women/girls lean more towards that ” pretty or effeminate ” men in Korea …because here in the states it is all about being rugged and muscular and not well cute and adorable….? Is a manly man considered unattractive or less desirable? Just asking since Korea seems to be really big on appearance and such.

  21. I feel so sorry for Simon… it acutally sounds really bad :( And so much respect that you actually stayed in Korea. If that happened to me while I was teaching in another country, I’d probably run home crying as soon as I could. I remember you said, that the students were great, just the rest of the school sucked, but it seems really sad anway.:( And I’m sorry that some people at your school were such d***s

  22. Hi Simon and Martina! When you guys talked about a sports day, it sounded VERY similar to something I had in my high school. For my school, we were split up into Houses that included every single grade and then the grades in each House were then split into their homerooms. So on a Friday in either April or May, we would have BATTLE OF THE HOUSES!!! Every house would compete in multiple events like a relay race, handball game, and also tug-of-war (there are more, I just can’t remember). Each house would get a certain amount of points depending on who got 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. The house with the most points would win BATTLE OF THE HOUSES and a trophy. It’s a lot of fun cause not only do the students get to participate, but the teachers get involved. It’s great.

  23. Awww…!! Simon, my heart breaks for you D':
    How ’bout all the Nasties head on over to Korea to have a school festival with you? 8D


  25. My brother-in-law had his senior year at APIS in Seoul and they had prom with G.NA performing.

  26. We know that you guys wear glasses a lot in your videos, and I’m pretty sure that you both wear them for corrective purposes… so, how much do glasses and contacts cost in Korea, and have you had any issues getting them?

    • I got new frames and lenses and the eye exam this past summer for a total of 55,000won so roughly $50. My frames were about $25 but I’m sure that there are expensive ones out there as well. There are a lot of eyeglasses and contacts stores. I just walked in one, no appointment, and was seen by the doctor almost immediately.

      As for contacts, my sister bought them when she ran out of the ones she brought from the States and she had to get one day use contacts. (She normally uses 2 week ones.) She said they were pretty pricy. As in about $85 for a month’s supply. Maybe she just got a bad deal? Lasik is pretty cheap, comparatively. She’s actually getting Lasik done next week during Chuseok.

      • Why Korea so cheap?? :/ I got new glasses (frames and lenses) about a half a year ago. The Frames cost about 200 € and the lenses got the price up. The final price was roughly 320 €.. :S I hate glasses; they cost a lot and are always in the way..

        • I think the main reason is that eye problems seem to be suffered by a a higher amount of the population here. I know it isnt scientific but using my classes as an example there is a huge number that need them in comparison to Canadian classrooms. It is just a matter of supply and demand.

  27. I taught high school for 8 years. I chaperoned a dance once during my second year and that was more than enough for me. They were completely grinding on each other and I was told it was something we didn’t get involved with. I’m not really sure what the chaperons were really there for, except to throw out the drunk or high kids, or turn away girls dressed the most like a hooker.

  28. Hey I want to ask you guys something is Korea a rich or poor because I want to live in South Korea after high school but… my mom and my older brother keep telling me it’s a poor and it’s going to be hard to find a job. I was also wondering if you could explain their economy and if South Korea is poor or rich please explain why, thank you i love you guys. <3

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