University students, finished of their long-winded school days, make their exclusive cultures (not sure what this means-PR) after entering university. The cultures are made as a kind of defiance to the cramming system of education in existing schools and limitless competitive capital market in contemporary societies. Because of the cramming system of education in schools, students just memorize conclusions without dreams or goals of a bright future. Reacting against the education systems, students don’t believe in the national education systems and complaints are common. In this limitless competitive capital market, the individual can’t believe anybody and just promote their own self-interest. Because of these pressures, university students make their distinguishing cultures to enjoy free time. This culture (what culture?-PR) is very different than foreign university cultures. Let’s start with a comparison of domestic and foreign university cultures.
Before entering university
In the case of Korea, students must attend about 12 years in school before entering universities. In elementary, middle and high school, students just write and memorize all that they are taught. They prefer memorization when drawing conclusions instead of thinking why. Often times, subjects are not realistic. For example, teachers may question the definite meaning of every word in a poem, disregarding connotative meaning all together. Also, students study until five p.m. in middle and high schools but study the same things until midnight in private educational institutes. This type of education contributes to the deterioration of students’ health.
But in the case of the United States of America, public education is more systematic than Korea so they have no private educational institutes. And they have more practical required subjects such as physical training, art, music and so on. To encourage these required subjects, students find out their individual potential and can enjoy their time trying new things. And their education system doesn’t force competition among students to get high scores, it teaches team work among students.
After entering university
In the case of Korea, entering university is like winning their freedom for many students. But most students don’t know how to enjoy their life or what their individual interests are and so they just kill time playing online games and drink soju all night. Some students, on the other hand, study very hard to get a job that can earn more money than other jobs without enjoying their youth or experiencing many things.
The number one distinguishing characteristic of Korean university culture is drinking. Korea’s university students always drink with friends or older and younger alumni in pubs. Students drink as a way to become intimate with new friends in their departments. They just enjoy intoxication to relieve stress.
But in the case of the U.S.A., university students have definite dreams when they enter the university. So they are very busy to put their efforts into a field of study, to do worthwhile hobbies such as playing instruments or doing voluntary service and to increase their value as an individual. It seems that they are very passionate, promising and strong-willed.
They also have a distinguishing drinking culture that is very freewheeling. Many younger students can’t go to pubs and clubs by law, so many university students don’t frequent these places. Instead, they regularly have parties with dancing and drinking. This type of setting is more social and creative thinking and social skills are honed more so than in Korea.
The reason for these basic differences of culture among nations is a difference of fundamental thinking about societal development. In Korea, university is a necessary course of action in order to get a job, so many students just study due to a sense of obligation. In the U.S.A., on the other hand, university is an optional course of action to get a job because many people excel in something that will help them get the job they wish for. A culture that respects individual personality fosters diversity in thought. Korea’s education system has many strong points and not all is bad but it could be better.
Kim Dae-gon firstname.lastname@example.org
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