Our fourth meeting was at another café, Tampereen Paahtimo. It’s a café that specialises in roasting their own blends of coffee, and selling them to take home too. Because Vohvelikahvila was so popular last time, we decided to meet up in cafes more often, and this was our second choice.
We ended up going over the previous vocabulary to review it and practicing pronunciation, and then we talked a lot about the school systems and education in all our three countries (Finland, Korea and Spain), and about what happens after university graduation. All of us are close to graduating, and while Finland and Spain seemed to have a similar system, Korea was very different to both of us. We ended up talking about the pressures students are under in all countries, and how they differ from each other. It seems that while Finland and Spain puts pressure on students to be independent, organized and active on their own no matter what school they go to, Korea emphasizes the school system rather than the student.
In Korea, if you get into a prestigious school, you’re pretty much guaranteed a job even if you only barely graduated. Students are still required to work a lot, and they are under constant pressure to do so, but going to certain schools means you can apply for certain jobs. If you didn’t go to a prestigious school, it’s nearly impossible to get a job at a high-class company, and there’s no chance of rising high in the ranks.
In Finland, getting into a prestigious school doesn’t guarantee anything – you still have to work hard and most places don’t care where you’ve graduated as long as you have the necessary skills and proof of graduation. That means even after graduation, you still need to keep proving your skills and put your best face forward. It also means everyone is on more equal ground when it comes to getting a job in high-class companies, but it also means you really need to work for it, instead of just dropping the name of your university and getting in with no questions asked.
It’s always interesting seeing the differences in education systems around the world, and debating on how they are affected by each country’s history. In each system, students have their responsibilities and different types of pressure, and there is (so far) no one single system that is perfect.