Kelly Choi is an 11-year-old entering fourth grade in Seoul’s Gangnam district. She spends some 10 hours studying in seven English classes every week — more than three-fourths the class time of all her other subjects combined, not counting homework.
Statistically, Kelly (her English name) is behind her classmates. She began studying English in first grade, but half her Gangnam peers started before kindergarten. And when they get to middle and high school, they will spend more than 15,000 hours studying the language.