School Life in South Korea and Finland

South Korea and Finland – what a stark contrast in school life.

Student life in South Korea: cram school till midnight, four hours of sleep are the norm, school attendance in high school till 10pm, high cost of cram school education, study for exams only, pressure to get into a top-notch university, etc.

Finnish students have a 20-work school week. This allows them to spend this extra time outside of school to do practical things:  meeting friends, spending time with family, having time to earn some money on the side, reading for pleasure, etc.

War Stories and Camp King Oberursel

Several years ago, a friend of mine introduced me to one of her British friends, Nicola, in front of the EDEKA supermarket, located on the former Camp King areal in Oberursel. Imagine my surprise when she stated she knew me from reading my blog.

The photo below shows Camp King before most of the reconstruction began. Notice, there is no shopping center yet and much of the townhouse building still had to take place.

Of the five military housing buildings, there are only two remaining – the two most outer ones. The three buildings in the center all had to go.

Anyway, Nicola used to live in the new Camp King residential area until last year and then went off to the U.S.A.

Camp King, with its rich history, is often talked about. A while back, Nicola sent me this BBC link, which her sister discovered while doing genealogy.

Her sister found out that her grandfather’s cousin, Squadron Leader H.D.H. (Douglas) Cooper, had been taken to Oberursel as a POW. This is not only the same town Nicola had just left, but her home used to be on the very same ground, Camp King, where her D. Cooper once had been interrogated.

Quoting:… From Hamburg, Cooper was taken to a reception centre for prisoners of war at Dulag Luft in Oberusel. He was soon moved on …

See full article on

I was reminded of this comprehensive website again, because our local Camp King historian, Mr. Kopp, and I had a brief meeting earlier today.

Another book, by an American author, is in the making and a couple of chapters will include the early years of American occupation at Camp King. More about this later.


Language Ranking in the World of Business

Which languages – other than English – are the most useful for conducting business around the world?

Whatever business sector you are heading for, knowing which foreign language to focus on might be the key to success. If you are fortunate enough to get counsel from a business advisor, then take a look ahead to get a clear idea on what countries are likely to succeed in the near future.

Bloomberg published this Languages of Business Ranking.

Personally, I would opt for Korean language and culture as I see this country on the rise.

Additionally, running with the masses to study Mandarin is too conventional. By the time a foreign language looks promising for business, it might be too late already. Choose one based on the country’s future potential and get a head start.

Speaking of the underdog in business, learning Greek might be a long-term option. During this crisis, Greece might take this misfortune to reinvent itself. Without a real industry and too many college graduates afloat, the need for an industrial brand is obvious.

When I think of Austria, the crystal maker Swarovski comes to mind. The Swiss have their watch making industry. The Germans have their foothold in the car industry. The French have the Eiffel Tower to attract 80 million tourists a year. The list could go on. What product/industry comes to your mind when you think of Greece?

I’d like to think Greece will get through this ordeal and spend more time on innovation.

BBC offers  All you need to start learning Greek.

Writing Numerals or Words – British Style Guide

Over the years of teaching English as a Second Language (ESL), English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and English (native speaker level), I have run across two different rules for when to use a numeral versus spelling it out. One rule stipulated that numerals up to ten need had to be written in words. Another rule said, all numerals up to twelve need to be written. Below is a guide I can recommend, finally.

The Style Guide from BBC offers the following rules:

Write one to nine in words. Use numerals for numbers from 10 upwards and for all numbers that include a decimal point or fraction. The same applies to ordinals -‘first’, ‘second’, and so on. However, use words – even for numbers over nine – in the following cases:

  • when a number comes at the beginning of a sentence
  • for approximate numbers: about thirty people attended

NB: numbers twenty-one to ninety-nine are hyphenated. Use numerals – even for numbers one to nine – in the following cases:

  • when the number is an exact measurement: 5 metres, 4 tonnes
  • when it is followed by million or billion: 2 million
  • for page references: see page 6
  • where there are two numbers in a range and one is over ten: between the ages of 4 and 11

If the number is followed by an abbreviation, don’t put a space between them:

  • 35mm, 10kg, 128MB, 11am

Write percentages in numerals and with the % sign, with no space between them:

  • 2%, 33.3%

Write fractions less than one in words, with a hyphen where appropriate:

  • one-third, three-quarters, a twentieth

Large numbers

Always include commas in numbers from 1,000 upwards. Write out ‘million’ and ‘billion’ in lower case, with a space after the number except in amounts of money.

  • 10,000, 15 million viewers, £15billion

Special thanks to Graham Tappenden for sending me this link and helping me clear up this mystery numeral world.

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