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Hardships German student might face in Korea
2015년 08월 31일 (월) 17:08:48 Ewha Voice evoice@ewha.ac.kr
   

Andrea Nagel
(Neoma Business School)

I left Germany to start my life in Korea in March 2015. Previously,  I came here as a tourist three separate times. Generally speaking, I fell in love with the way of living here during my trips. Korea’s openness and friendliness were key reasons for my wish to live and study in Korea. However, I had some hardships in the beginning of my staying in Korea due to the social and cultural differences. One of the biggest differences lies within the education systems.
Despite having researched about the country, I went through huge struggles during my first semester at Ewha. It is commonly known that Asians in general have a hard student life, but experiencing it myself was a different thing. You have to study almost every day for several hours and during mid- and final terms you literally have to live in the study rooms. I never had to memorize so much information for all classes in such a short period of time. I was used to only memorizing dates and key words since the Europe school system emphasizes more on writing  essays. As a result, I think I matured a lot during the exam periods and my respect for Korean students grew even more, who have a huge pressure to succeed academically. Many students go to Hakwons after school to achieve good results for their SATs to go to a good university. Another hardship is that being absent from one lecture in university is almost unacceptable and can result in a worse grade. These things are unimaginable for a big part of German students. During secondary school, a lot of students don’t appreciate going to school  and the situation is especially worse in big cities like Berlin where the trend is not respecting the teachers. Also most students don’t care about their grades. Only a small number has private tutors and mostly because otherwise they would fail the grade, not to become an even better student. In German universities you barely have to visit any class. One professor even told us that if we can study better at home we should stay at home. However, this is not true for more difficult majors like medicine since students have a lot of work besides going to class as well. In Germany, there are other possibilities to achieve a good career without attending universities such as participating integrated degree programs or apprenticeship after high school.
I would say that both countries could learn from each other in terms of the education system in many different fields. Personally,  studying at Ewha made me a better student. The whole atmosphere here, seeing my fellow students working so hard and being kind of forced to go to every class helped me tremendously. Even if it is hard and tiring sometimes I enjoy being a university student much more now and I feel really grateful towards Ewha for giving me this opportunity.
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