Korean education system is different from those in Europe or America. Moreover, there are great differences between education systems in North and South Korea. Korean education is not all that different from schooling in other parts of the world.

They have a system that is divided into three parts: 6 years of elementary school, 3 years of middle school, and 3 years of high school. Though high school has more subjects, there are nine principal areas of study which include moral education, social studies, science, math, physical education, music, fine arts, practical arts, and English which begins in the third grade and focuses on conversation skills. They have two semesters which run from March to July and September to February. Their high schools are of two types: General and Vocational. Vocational schools would be schools focussing on things like agriculture, fishing, or technology.

The one unique trend of Korean education is the fact that they are not very highly integrated in terms of boys and girls. As of 1996, on 5% of their schools were co-ed. That number is higher now, but even co-ed schools still have many separate classes for boys and girls.

You can find information about Korean education here:
Education in North Korea
Education in South Korea

 

There are a lot of unique things known about Korean culture such as the celebration of birthdays, traditional attire, and Korean drama. One of the most interesting parts of Korean culture is the fact that they celebrate Teacher’s Day every year on May 15th.

This tradition started in 1963 when youth members of the Red Cross visited retired teachers at home or hospitals to thank them for their work and to remember what they did. Since then, it has been a national holiday.

Every year children give carnations or love cards to their current or former teachers. This is to show appreciation for what teachers do and the knowledge that they share. The carnations are a sign of respect. Sometimes, especially in universities or colleges, parties are even thrown for teachers.

Koreans take teaching – and teachers – very seriously and show a lot of respect for the profession. They follow the words of Confucius, who said “Do not even step on the shadow of your teachers.

South Korea has traditional sports of its own, but sports imported from the West are predominant while North Korea has a blend of both traditional and western sports in which the country participates.

We have prepared information on both.
Sports in North Korea
Sports in South Korea

Traditional Korean cuisine has evolved through a complex interaction of environmental, political, and cultural trends. It is largely based on rice, noodles, tofu, vegetables, and meats. Many regional dishes have become national, and dishes that were once regional have proliferated in different variations across the country.

China and Japan were not alone in their development of tea rituals. In fact, many people claim that Korea has one of the most highly developed tea rites. Tea ceremonies are commonly used to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, remembering old friends or to get the participants closer spiritually to Buddha or an ancestral god. Often tea ceremonies are seen as a form of meditation as the movements are slow and calm and each detail of the ceremony is precise and focused.

Though the tea rituals vary from province to province, there are some similarities in tea rites for the entire country. Usually green tea is the type of tea used. Guests do not drink until the host has filled all the cups and picked his own up. Tea cups are warmed beforehand and the leaves are rinsed to purify the leaves. Each cup or object is reached for with a certain hand and there is a specific order to the process. For example, first the cups and pots are heated. Then the leaves are placed in the tea pot. The leaves are rinsed and then heated water (not boiled!) is placed on the leaves.

We encourage you to learn more about:
Korean cuisine

People from Europe who never travelled to Korea are always curious about the similarities and differences between cultures. If you ask a Korean how old is he, you will probably receive an answer with a question: “In your country or in mine?”

Apparently, Koreans count age differently than Canadians and other Westerners do. When Koreans are first born, they are already one year old, as the time spent in the womb is considered a year of life. On New Year’s Eve, everyone ages one year. Birthdays are not when people age, but on January 31st. And everyone ages together.

Only in legal or formal situations do Koreans use their birth date or western style of age counting. They call their age ‘sal’ and instead of saying they are one year old, they say they are one sal.

Religion in Korea encompasses a number of different traditions. Traditional Buddhism, Korean Confucianism, Korean shamanism, and Christianity all play a role in Korea's religious tradition. The modern separation of Korea into North and South Korea has also shaped religious practice, especially in the communist North. You are welcome to read more about:

Religion in Korea

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