- Posted April 22, 2014 by
Educational Differences Between South Korea and America
I was born in Changwon, South Korea. So I attended kindergarten, elementary school, middle school and high school in Korea. Right now I’m a student of University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. So, obviously, I’m in America right now. When I first came to America, I had a hard time to adjust. I experienced educations in both countries, and there are some differences between them. Therefore, I want to write about educational differences between South Korea and America.
Most of Koreans studied for tests, because most of the students’ ultimate goals are entrance into great university and getting a great job. Therefore, many Korean students don’t know what they are good at what they want to be. So when I was in high school, I had to go to school early in the morning and go back to home late at night. Because of that, most of Korean students don’t have time to do leisure activity and exercise. Also, Korean students go to academy after school, so because of that, Korean parents spent a lot money on private education. And students keep studying until they take university entrance test, and when they got the test score, they decide their university and major according to their test score. So because of that, some students change their major or take university entrance test one more time. I think this phenomenon started in 1950s. In 1950, the Korean War broke out, and because of that Koreans suffered from poverty. So Koreans thought that they had to study and go to great university and get a great job would make them overcome poverty. For that reason, they economically succeeded in some way. But Koreans don’t get out from that attitude, that attitude continues even right now. And I watched some Korean television show which is about foreign country’s students’ life. It was totally different between Korea and the foreign country. Foreign country’s students have time to do leisure activity and work out a lot. So, whenever I watched that I really envied foreign country’s students.
I entered an American university, because I have wanted to study abroad since I was young. But, I had a hard time to adjust because language and Korean educational methods and American educational methods are really different. An American class has more freedom than Korean class, because most of Korean teaching method is more like one-way teaching. It means teachers just convey the information, and students just accept the information. However, professors and students are more like double-way interaction by using discussion and questions so many students ask questions in America. Also, there are a lot discussion classes in America, but I didn’t have a chance to discuss in class, because we don’t have any discussion classes in Korea. Therefore, studying in America is really hard but it is a really great chance to experience a new educational method.
I don’t know which educational method is better than the other. However, Korean students feel they are not happy and feel oppressed because of the excessive enthusiasm for education. And because of that, Korean adolescent’s rate of suicide keeps increasing. I think that great university and great job could be important, but what students want to be and what they like is much important than any other things. Therefore, it enables students to study much happier than before if they study what they want.