If you’re a high school student looking for a schedule with all the amenities of American education, but also want to learn Korean culture and language, this is the blog post for you!
When I was still a Korean high school student things were quite different. Things have evolved and many people really like going to high school these days. You have way more free time and can do fun things.
Another huge benefit is that the Korean schools organize activities that allow Korean high school students to study Korean while they are having fun.
I’ll go over what your typical day will be like, as well as how much it costs.
1. Morning Activities 08:00 – 11:00
Generally speaking, the Korean high schools start around 8 AM depending on the school. Some might start later while other start earlier. In the morning every student has to greet the teacher by standing up.
This shows respect to the teacher which isn’t usual in Western countries. However, in Korea, this is completely normal. If you’re going to Korean high school you will have to get used to this custom.
You will probably be taught Korean Language and Korean history. The Korean language classes are usually fun and engaging so you won’t fall asleep in class.
A fun fact is that students stay in the same classroom all day. It’s not like some other countries where students have different classes for each subject.
After the first class, the students normally get a small 15 to 30 min break to get ready for the next class.
Classes usually last around 45 to 60 min, depending on how often you have a break during the class. Sometimes the classes are shorter, for example, if there is not much to teach during that period.
2. Lunch Break 11:00 – 13:00
Once the students are done with the second class they will have their school lunch. This is called 점심 which means “lunch”.
At most schools, you can bring either your own lunch or buy it at the cafeteria. Other students go home to their parents or grandparents to eat lunch with the family. This is very common in Korea.
This is also a time where students can do their homework and relax. The workload isn’t overwhelming like in the West, but you need to balance everything out because it will affect your grades at the end of the semester.
What I normally did was stay in school 3 out of the 5 days and the other 2 days I went home to eat with my grandparents.
In Korea, grandparents live with their children if the parents are busy working.
3. Afternoon Activities 13:00 – 17:00
After lunch, there is another class and then the school usually has some after-school activities like sports, club events, or other things that go on.
The Korean high school I went to also had an English program which was called CA (Citizenship Advancement). With this class, we watched movies in English and played games to practice our speaking.
This is different for every student, for some it might be studying even more or going to a language institute after school.
I think it’s important to learn Korean as much as you can because everyday people speak Korean and very few people speak English. Your future job might be completely in Korean so it’s better to start learning now.
4. Evening Activities 17:00 – 21:00
The evening activities are different for every student since not everyone needs extra classes. Evening activities are usually for students that want to study more and get ahead of their classmates.
This is where most students go home and study after classes, but some students do additional activities like Cram school (after school classes taught by a private teacher), Kakao Talk (online learning programs for certain subjects), or participate in an English program like TOPIK (Test Of Proficiency In Korean).
Cram school is very common in Korea, most students have to go for at least a few months before the final exam. It’s expensive compared to other countries so most people can’t afford it.
The TOPIK English program I was a part of had various classes throughout the week where we learned formal English, speaking, and writing.
5. Weekend Schedule
For the weekends most students do what they can to relax. So, they might go out with friends or family after school is done.
However, some students have to practice for their next class so you might see them at the bus stops or subway stations studying on their phone or listening to something through earphones.
It’s very difficult being a student in Korea because of the school system and the school hours. It’s very different from other countries, so I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone.
Homework is given after every class and students usually have to read 3-5 chapters in a book every week. There are also finals and tests almost every month.
How Long Is a School Day in Korea?
On average a school day is 8 to 10 hours. However, there are activities after school like CRAM school and TOPIK that students do. These activities might take 3-4 hours and you also have to study on your own time.
The day is split into two periods of class, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Lunch is between these classes and after-school activities happen after lunch until around 5:00 pm when school ends.
For students that want to be in the 1% of their school, it usually ends at 00:00 midnight. On average student only gets to sleep 5.5 hours a day.
Is Korean High School Available for Foreign Students?
Yes, some middle schools, high schools, and colleges have language programs. You usually have to speak a decent amount of Korean when you apply for the school because most classes are in Korean.
There are also international schools in Korea, but they’re extremely expensive compared to other foreign countries. In general, it’s much easier for foreigners staying in Korea without citizenship to get into a local school.
The Koreans are very friendly people, so you shouldn’t have any problems when trying to attend a Korean high school.
How Much Does Korean High School Cost?
For locals it’s free but for international students, it can go up to $40,000 each year. The cost of education goes up every year so it might be very expensive for an international student.
Most people that attend Korean school can’t afford the tuition fee and have to take out a loan or work part-time at other places after school.
However, there are scholarship programs in Korea where you could receive $12,000 to $50,000 each year.
Getting a scholarship in Korea is extremely hard and you have to be at least in the 0.1% of your school in order to get it.
Do Korean High Schools Provide Lunch for The Students?
Yes, the students buy lunch in the cafeteria when they finish classes. Almost every school has a cafeteria where you can purchase food for $2-3.
The cost of living in Korea is much cheaper than in other countries, so very few people can’t afford to pay their own tuition fees.
All in all, it’s very difficult being a student in Korea. It takes up a lot of time and energy to be the best and achieve the highest grades you can get.
I would recommend this lifestyle if it fits with your schedule, however, for those who don’t want to spend all their time studying; You might try looking for other options.