Education in Korea – Koreans study too much?

If you have lived in South Korea long enough, you will  have realized how sad the reality of living as an adolescent can be. Many may assume that education in Korea is known to be excellent because of the kind of life style that students have. However, I have been told by a lot of my friends that they would not want to raise their children in Korea just because the life doesn’t seem so fun growing up as a child. One of the biggest reasons is because Koreans study too much. It is already broadly known that Koreans study too much in order to get accepted to the best universities. The truth is that a lot of people have no idea that the world can offer much more than getting into those prestigious universities. If anything, I would rather tell them to dream big and go abroad and travel the world.

high school students

While it is a piece of cake for foreigners to study at Seoul National University, the majority of Koreans have to go through staying up all night for years and years during their youth. Though I think that this helped Koreans to be disciplined and hard workers, it has become too extreme to the point where these valuable talents are going to a waste. This annual ritual of dividing where everyone finds out what university they will be studying has a large influence on the culture as well. It is a standardized test, called ‘Suneung’, which pretty much all the high school students have to take before graduation. On the day of the exam, the entire country is affected by one way or the other.

Korean students

The exam has recently been held and influenced on people’s lives in a big big way. While some may be jumping up and down with joy and excited to start their new life ahead, some are jumping off of their apartment buildings leaving their families behind and ending their valuable lives. I guess it is hard for me to understand why they have made such decisions because I was fortunate enough to be an outsider. Some hung themselves and jumped off of their apartments.


While some people suffer from wars in some parts of the world, it is ridiculous how the cultures and the rule of society can drive someone to commit suicide. Even though the system may provide the poor to have a chance to succeed and change their life around, is it worth putting your lives in danger? Is it worth trading your life over the exam score?  The society has planted a wrong image that your success in life depends on the score of the college entrance exam. Why isn’t it more valuable to figure out what their interests are? A lot of Koreans are so busy worrying about the exam that they are forgetting what is really important in life. Even if you make it to the university they want to attend, most of them face a second crisis when they realize they have no idea what they want to do with their lives. It is certain that there are benefits of Korean education system. However, One thing is for sure, Exams shouldn’t never been the be all and end all in anyone live at such a young age, ever!


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