For this week’s coffee and conversation class I was joined by three students from South Korea, Eunzoo, Heather and Hyeiy. After we’d introduced ourselves and talked a little about studying English and where we are from, we got talking about childhood.
We began by sharing our earliest memories and why we thought we remembered them. Eunzoo talked about staying with her grandparents in the countryside and she described it so well I could almost picture it. We all had some very happy memories of childhood, but we also talked about how sad memories were sometimes stronger than happy ones.
All the students remembered being quite well-behaved as children but we all agreed that most teenagers go through a stage where they are a bit rebellious! We then talked a bit about how different our parents’ and grandparents’ childhoods would have been.
In South Korea, childhoods 20 or more years ago would have been much harder in some ways as children would have had to work and most families would have been poorer than they are now. However, the students described to me how hard modern South Korean children are expected to study. There is a lot of pressure to get good grades and get a place at a good university. I was shocked to hear that Eunzoo, Heather and Hyeiy all went to school from 7am until 10pm and often had a private teacher come to their home for more study! Sleeping only 3 hours a night is very common, apparently. We all agreed that school children in the UK have a much easier time in this respect.
It was a very informative and interesting discussion this week and I felt I learnt a lot about the students and their experiences. I am looking forward to the next class!