Monday, November 28, 2011

College students in the US and Japan

"How hard do collage students work?"

I have many friends of undergrad and graduate students here, in the US. Everyone looks very busy. They often say things like "I have a test tomorrow", " I have a lot of homework" or " I slept for just three hours". They look tired and sleepy everyday. They sometimes cancel plans to meet up (I do not mind, though). Once, we talked with one of my friends about how hard college students work. The undergrad student said that they are supposed to study at home for two hours per class, besides homework and preparation for exams. That means, if a student takes 15 classes a week, he has to study for at least 30 hours at home a week. Do you think this is true?

Compared to American college students, Japanese students have more free time. Even though it depends on the department, students enjoy drinking, club activities, and part time jobs. I majored in pharmacy which is one of the hardest departments in Japan. I had classes from 9am to 5pm with only an hour lunch break everyday. But we did not have homework. We did not need to study after classes. We had exams which were very hard, so that we had to work very hard before that. But it was only once in a semester. At that time, I envied other students from other departments,who needed many fewer and much easier classes. But now, I realized how hard American student work and how much free time I had. I should have studied more.

Are Japanese students lazy? I actually do not think so. Japanese companies do not consider college grades in hiring. They select students by the college name. Therefore, high school students study really hard to enter good colleges. To do that,they first need to go to good high schools. So students in middle school and even elementary school have to study hard to prepare for their future. Finally, they enter university, and they are free to relax!

It is strange, isn't it?


  1. How exactly do Japanese college students spend their freetime? What are their hobbies and leisure time activities? Do they draw and write stories as a hobby?

    1. They like drinking, Karaoke, playing video games...and part time jobs.
      I don't think They draw and write stories much. I think their hobbies are similar to American students.

  2. The rule I always learned was 3-hrs study for every 1-hr of class. For example, if you have a class that meets for 2.5-hours each week, then you need to study about 7.5-hours for that class each week.

    Since most students take four to six classes a semester, then that's 30-45 hours study time + 10-15 hours class attendance = 40-60 hours each week. It's equivalent a full-time job. It's why students in the U.S. often say, "I am a full-time student," or "I am a part-time student." It correlates to a real job's work hours.