Schools also have a great deal of influence in determining a person's daily
schedule. Most schools run from about 8:00 am to about 4:00 pm and have time off
from about July to September. However, school work in South Korea is fairly intense
as families place great importance on family, children, and their future success
in the form of school. At times Saturday classes are offered and many children do
school work well into the night. If school work isn't on the evening's agenda,
it's likely that some other social club or activity is.
Although there's a great deal of pressure in the society to succeed, there's
also a counter balance in the entertainment scene, most noticeably found in the
cities. With the work of the people, the incomes in the country are quite high and
there is a substantial amount of discretionary income that can be used to travel,
hit the bars or clubs, eat out, and of course to find a karaoke bar.
Despite the variations in the culture and way of life in South Korea, the pressure
to succeed is rooted in the pride of the people and the importance of family. While
everyone respects their elders above all else, it is the children who are expected
to lead the next generation and they are pushed to do so in a way to find personal
success, while bringing great pride to the family.
The South Koreans view themselves and identify as "Koreans"
just as the North Koreans do. The South Korean people
are quite proud people and this pride is displayed when they state they are Korean.
After centuries under foreign rulers, the people of the Korean Peninsula have responded
with great pride in their ethnicity, language, and culture since gaining independence
in the early 1950s. Like in the north, this identity is truly all encompassing of
the South Korean lifestyle, from food, dress, and language to economics, education,
and politics, but the South Korean definition of what it means to be "Korean"
is vastly different from the North's definition of this same identity.