Tuesday, November 16, 2010

College Entrance Exam: Hope it "sticks"

The approaching annual college entrance exam is inspiring a wave of consumerism in Korea.  Bakeries and department stores throughout Seoul are full of sweets and gifts for the nervous test takers.  The test is a major rite of passage in Korea and often viewed as a key gatekeeper for competitive colleges and jobs that are deemed crucial to attaining high status or a good pay check.





A Korean friend told me it's traditional to give "yeot" or taffy as a gift, because the sticky sweet is supposed to be good luck. My Korean teacher explained that's because the word for "to stick" and "to pass" is the same.



So I bought a package of the sweets to give to the boys I met in my neighborhood who have spent the past year studying around-the- clock to take the test for a second time, because they did not get into the nation's most selective schools the first time around. "Hope it sticks," I told them.


Good luck taffy in the middle and soft rice cakes on the sides.
The package reads: "Paris Baguette wishes you good luck
on your examination!"




2 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting these photos! I also wrote an article about the Korean SAT on my blog. Could I post a link to your article?

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