My Childhood in South Korea consisted of a heavy focus on academics. From the time I was in first grade I had a tutor to help me progress in math and other important subjects. I noticed the education system in the United States does not utilize tutoring until you are underperforming in a certain subject. In my country, we are proactive in getting someone to ensure our success in academics. I had a tutor at age 5 to help me effectively learn math. In my family, there was a lot of pressure to perform well in school from my parents. Performing well in school was important because your performance is a reflection on the family. To not do well, is to show you do not care about how your family is viewed. There is an emphasis on collectivism. In America, if you do not do well in school, then you are seen as an individual who does not care about your performance. In South Korea, this is a reflection on your elders. I remember I felt stressed about how much pressure I felt to live up to the expectations of my family. I did not want to let my loved ones down or make them think I did not care. I have done well in school.
I spent a lot of my time outside of school with my family. My family values quality, cooperation, and respect. We liked to watch movies together. Sometimes the movies we watched together were from America. My family let us watch Disney movies and through movies we began to learn basic English together. We enjoyed the movies. A lot of us here in South Korea begin using our smartphones at around 10-12 year of age. By age 12, 72 percent of children in South Korea have a phone. We use applications to make phone calls and send text messages using WiFi networks for free.
I enjoyed listening to pop music. Pop (K-Pop) is popular in South Korea and a lot of us are into pop culture. I enjoy listening to BTS, my favorite pop band. This is a band of 7 boys and I think a couple of them are attractive. I liked to stay up on my fashion growing up. There is an expectation to look nice and be up to date on the latest styles in Korea. People like to present themselves in style and take pride in appearance. As a girl we are expected to dress nice, but not be too revealing.
One of my hobbies is practicing Tae Kwon Do. My father was a Tae Kwon Do black belt and taught classes at the local facility. As a girl I enjoy learning Tae Kwon Do to protect myself, but also to learn and practice Confucian values. Confucianism is a part of my family’s religious beliefs and is embedded in our culture. Confucianism emphasizes respecting your elders, duty to society, maintaining rules, loyalty to family, sincerity, and showing humility to others (etc.). My family and I do not view ourselves as separate from one another but see ourselves collectively. This is why we are motivated to do well in education and our careers, so we can sufficiently represent our family. Being ethically sound and working hard brings good fortune to my family.
Cha, K. (2017). Relationships among negative emotionality, responsive parenting and early socio-cognitive development in Korean children. Infant And Child Development, 26(3).
Chu, H. (2018). What is life like for South Korean kids? Busy. The Washington Post.
Kim, K. H. (2009). Cultural influence on creativity: The relationship between Asian culture (Confucianism) and creativity among Korean educators. The Journal of Creative Behavior, 43(2), 73-93.