Teenagers in Korea got it pretty good depending on how you look at it. They all are entitled to receive a public education, most all of them come from 2 parent homes, they are pretty much all fed well, most all of them have smart phones, and the list goes on and on.
Of course, depending on what perspective you view the life of a Korean teenager from, they may or may not indeed have a better or worse life than teenagers in other countries? And.. just how exactly do we measure better or worse?
How many hours would you estimate you spent in high school each week? Teens for instance in South Korea, when compared with teens from most other countries are pretty much schooled to death. No joke. The average teenager in Korea spends more than 70 hours per week sitting in a desk in school. Some spend upwards of 100 or more hours. If this sounds like a lot, you’re probably right. (By the way, the hyperlink provided above is not exactly up to date. Tutors don’t often comes to homes en mass, although it is still a practice. Usually students attend ‘yaja’ or study session in the evening and also attend ‘hagwon’ aka private academy.)
But that doesn’t mean they don’t try to enjoy their life in their free time. Many enjoy Kpop, but not all, and probably the hobby that most seem to enjoy besides just hangin’ with friends is going to the movies. They all seem to like it! A lot of them also love computer games, and many spend lots of hours in PC Bangs playing games with friends. Others love to watch TV and spend time online. Still others enjoy sports in their spare time, but that’s actually more unusual in Korea since it’s pricier to play sports just as a hobby.
Teens here have a low pregnancy rate and rarely to they experiment with drugs. This should lead to people having a happier life, right? I can’t be so sure. Click here if you’d like published account of what’s really on the minds of some teenagers in Korea.
To be honest, we both believe it’s pretty darn stressful to be a teenager in Korea. The education system is relentless, more than most other places. If you’re the type of person that is really a natural at succeeding at standardized tests, then this just might be the place for you. Otherwise, lots of people struggle and some just accept the fact very early on that they are not going to be super successful in life.
What’s a teenager’s life like where you’re from? How similar or different is it from a Korean’s experience? Would you rather be here in Korea as a teen, or does life sound a bit better for teenagers where you are from? I’m curious to know what you think!
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