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What is the average day like for a Japanese or Korean high school student?

An Average Korean High School Guys Timetable


6~7 AM(Depends on how much time it takes for you to get to school) - Wake up, clean up, eat
breakfast, get dressed in school uniforms (Many students dont eat breakfast at all)

8 AM - Morning attendance checked by your class teacher.

8:30 PM - School starts. 4 classes and 3 ten minute breaks.

12:30 PM - Lunch break for an hour. Most schools nowadays have a cafeteria with fixed menus
for each day. Back then(about 7 years ago) the majoity of schools had food cargo assigned to
every class, and you would eat on the desk youre studying. Pretty smelly and all. There are still
some schools which do this.

1:30 PM - End of lunch break. 3 more classes and 2 more ten minute breaks.

4:30 PM - School ends. Your class teacher comes back at 4:40 PM-ish, checks attendance and
dismisses at 4:50 PM. Your whole classmates take turns in a group of 56 or so every day to
clean up the class afterwards.

- if your school enforces (After-school self studying) on its students, then youre
still stuck in school for a few more hours. It is a program run by your school which makes you
study and dont let you go anywhere. If youre unsure about what is, go to one of
my answers here: Jangwon Seo's answer to What are common rules in South Korean public

A) With

5 PM - starts.

around 6 PM - Dinner break for less than an hour. The food quality is better than what you had
at lunch, but it still sucks compared to food outside school and youre paying for it.

8 PM~10 PM - ends. Differs from school to school.

sometime between 9 PM to 11 PM - Come home, take a shower, grab some snacks, do

KakaoTalk, Facebook or YouTube on your phone, yawn, what time is it..

2 AM - Oh shit, why is it 2 already? Todays gonna be a terrible day.

B) Without
4:50 PM~6 PM - Grab something to eat. Get to home and undress your clunky and
uncomfortable uniform. Get ready to go outside again, because guess what, you have to go to..

6 PM - (Hagwon). Usually maths, Korean, English, social studies and science, which are 5
key subjects you have to study to take Sooneung, the Korean version of SAT. If you dont know
what hagwon is, visit this Wikipedia page.

10 PM - ends. It was fixed by law for hagwons to end at no later than 10 PM, because
many hagwons made students stay and study at their hagwons until 11 or midnight.

Around 11 PM - Come home, take a shower, grab some snacks, do KakaoTalk, Facebook or
YouTube on your phone, yawn, what time is it..

2 AM - Oh shit, why is it 2 already? Todays gonna be a terrible day.

Weekends & Summer/Winter Breaks

Around 7 AM to 12 PM - Wake up, clean, eat, get dressed.

Around 9 AM to 2 PM - Go to hagwon.

Around 6 PM to 10 PM (It's usually something like 9 to 6 or 2 to 10) - Come home. Goof

around with your smartphone all night.

Todays Lesson: Every day is a hard and stressful day for your average Korean high school student.
What is the average day of a student in South Korea?

A student in South Korea is one of the most rigorous professions on the entire world. Ive done that
until July of 2015, when I came to USA to study.

I will majorly talk about a life of high school student in South Korea, since elementary school and
middle school arent THAT different from other countries (it is surely different and it is still rigorous,
but the discrepancy is not huge).

In Korea, there is this social pressure of getting into one of the top universities such as Seoul National
University, Yonsei University, Korea University, etc. This is because South Koreans are obsessed with
the name values of the university that one attends. Some Koreans even judge you as a person just by
where your alma mater is. This is a sick tradition and I do not like this at all, but still, this is how it
works in South Korea.

So in order to get an admission to a university, students have to take this test called (KSAT) which
is just equivalent to ACT and SAT of USA. Broadly speaking, this preparation begins when you are in
elementary school, but when the actual preparation begins and when the students are actually aware of
the fact that they have this huge test in front of them, is when they become high school students.

In a typical high school students life, schedule is like this:

(This schedule was written based on my high school experience; the actual times and things that each
schools do might differ depending on the school.)

06:30AM. Wake up, eat breakfast (or skip it), and get ready to leave.

07:30AM. Ride a bus/subway to the high school.

08:00AM. If you do not get to the school until this time, you are considered late and you will
be in trouble. Although the practice has decreased rapidly nowadays, teachers will make you do
push-ups or even hit you with a wooden ruler when you are late to school.

08:10AM. This is when the homeroom starts. Its a time essentially where your designated
class teacher comes in and talks about what is going on in school today and maybe this
week/next week, and talk to the students.

08:30AM. After a short homeroom time, the class starts at 8:30AM. Each class is 50 minutes
and you have 10 minutes of break between classes.

08:30AM-12:20PM. 4 periods of morning classes. At the 1st period, 08:30AM, a lot of

students slumber or even just sleep on their desks. This will be understandable as you read
through the schedule. And towards the end of the 4th period, 12:20PM, students will take a look
at what is their lunch menu today. The lunch menu of school is a crucial part of their life as food
is one of the small things that they can enjoy freely.

12:20PM. As the lunch time rolls, students eat lunch. However, the lower-class students will
have to wait a bit before they eat since the upper-class students are given priority. (There are
three grades in Korean High School system: 1st, 2nd, 3rd) 3rd graders will eat first, then 2nd
graders, then 1st graders.

12:50PM. After the lunch, they enjoy a rather longer break than the short 10-minute break. The
lunch break is from 12:20PM to 1:30PM. Students usually play soccer, basketball, badminton,
tennis. They do a variety of stuffs some students even just skip lunch and sleep through the
whole break. Some students watch drama/anime in their accepted electronic devices
(Unaccepted electronic devices are cell phones, tablet - if you carry these, teachers will
confiscate it for a long period of time).

1:30PM-4:20PM. 3 periods of afternoon classes. Just like the 1st period of morning classes,
you will see a lot of students slumbering on their desks because theyve eaten some food and
their body needs to digest the food. People get tired and sleepy when their food is getting
digested. This is even worse when its spring; the sunlight is warm and temperature is just
enough to get you into sleep, especially when you are sleep deprived.

4:30PM. A homeroom time again, except that this is the time for cleaning the classroom. In
Korean high schools, students clean the classrooms, not the janitors. There are 30 students in
one class (in average) and they all have different spots designated for them to clean.

5:00PM. This is used as a short supplemental class (1 hour long) by most schools. Students
can choose their classes for this period whereas the class schedule is determined by the school
for them for the official school period (8:30AM-4:20PM). Just as the end of 4th period, when
its like 5:59PM, students are busy looking at the dinner menu.

6:00PM. Students eat dinner. Pretty much same things happen with lunch.

7:00PM-11:00PM. This is when students self-study. It is called (Ya-ja) and it is a

mandatory time for students to remain in their classrooms and study for the materials in class
and materials for KSAT. Sometimes, schools allow students to just get out of this time and just
go to hagwons (private academy for supplemental studies) but that is rare.

11:00PM-1AM(or even 2AM) Even though after school is done, you cant go to home you
need to go to hagwons or libraries near you so that you have to try to study even harder. Most of
students do this, some dont, but I havent seen any of my friends not doing this.

2AM. Come back home. Go to sleep.

6:30AM. Wake up and repeat

Definitely a hard track for everyone; nobody would probably like living as a high school student
in Korea but you have to get through it anyway if you are living in Korea. I was sick of this
and the whole corrupt educational system of Korea and thats why I just came to US I am one
of the luckier ones.