School

See! (Also note that lovely $1 KAIST coffee.)

But no, in all honesty…I love school. I love our lectures at Kyung Hee University and KAIST in Daejon, I love talking to the other students, and I love all of the professors. At Kyung Hee we had our own special classes, since we were here before the school year officially started, but at KAIST we were guests in the normal lectures. The entire business school at KAIST is taught in English, but many other professors opt to teach in English as well. It’s true that most young Koreans I’ve met have at least a working understanding of the English language; I think it’s great that they are given the opportunity for multilinguialism, but I never got a chance to ask them how they felt about it. As a prospective overseas English teacher, I would love to know.

While Kyung Hee is more a social sciences and humanities-centric university, KAIST is basically the MIT of South Korea. Both campuses were lovely, but I think I prefer Kyung Hee.

KAIST: complete with geese.

Kyung Hee: that’s actually a massive performance hall, not a cathedral. Lots of famous people have performed here, like BoA and…famous opera singers that I know nothing about. Also, lots of Korean celebrities apparently attended this school.

About twice as many Koreans go to college as Americans nowadays. Younger students (preschool through high) go to public school the same way we do, but they also attend hagwon, the after-school private institutions. Some of these kids don’t get out of ‘school’ till midnight, which is one reason you see so many junior high girls in uniforms running around Seoul streets in the middle of the night, eating noodles in front of convenience stores. It’s a tough life, but I think I would prefer it to the nothingness of the American school system. Maybe neither way is better, but at least Koreans seem to feel as though they’ve accomplished something after all those years of schooling.

College life seems pretty similar though. We’ve spent some time in college neighborhoods – lots of cheap eats and noraebang (karaoke) – and we’ll be staying in Hongdae starting tomorrow, right next to Hongik University, so hopefully we’ll be able to spend more time with students. Kyung Hee looks a lot like UW. Both schools have campus cafes and cafeterias, book stores, and random scholarly-looking statues.

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