Since being in Korea I have seen many incredible things. There are many aspects of the Korean education system that I think America would benefit from mimicking or adapting to fit into their society. Sadly one thing that seems to be a universal issue no matter what country you're in is bullying.
Unlike America where school violence is more defined and easy to see, Korea has to deal with a much more passive type of abuse and bullying. Students are often harassed by their peers quietly and in very silent difficult to identify ways. Sometimes these cases are so severe the students feel like the only way to make it stop is to end their own lives. The suicide rates in Korea are unfortunately very high.
It breaks my heart that students can be singled out for stupid, pointless differences and then made miserable. These students all work so hard already to get through school. I find it incredibly sad that instead of working together to make school life more bearable, more often than not students find minute differences and use that as a reason to pick on their peers.
In the Korea Times there is a section called Student Corner. I'm always amazed at the things these students of varying ages are think. One letter really struck me it was written by a high school student named Kang Su-jeong (Korea Times Student Corner). She wrote that sometimes she can't understand the level of violence that her peers are capable of, she is a teenager and instead of worrying about makeup or her hair she worries about leaving her house. She thinks about violence in schools and the state of her society. The children of our global society are growing up to fast and it makes me sad.
If there was one thing I could tell students it would be this:
People will tell you life is short and in many instances that is true. We have a limited time on this Earth so what we do is important while we are here and living with regrets is hard. The sad and ugly truth is however, life is also long. You are currently experiencing a very small moment of your time on this Earth. It might feel like this moment will last forever, but it won't. In the blink of an eye you will be looking back on these years of your life. Don't do something that will cause you regret for the rest of your long life. Treat others as you want to be treated because there are some things that can not be undone. Try to find a way to live your short, long life happily.