School’s Out: Education Around the World

International school years look much different than ours.

May 2021


This video is part of our Kite & Key Shorts series—easy to understand...but hard to forget.


Every student would like more vacation time—but some kids have it harder than others.

South Korean students get just eight weeks off from schooli each year; that’s half as much time off as American students get.ii

In fact, the typical American student would be out of place in most countries.

Most American public schools require students to spend 180 days a year in the classroom.iii

That shakes out to about 1,000 hours of instruction per year.iv

Costa Rica leads the world with 1,147 hours of classroom instruction while Russia comes in last, with just 598 hours.v

And not all school days are created equal.

Finnish students get a 75-minute breakvi every day; that’s more than twice as long as the typical American recess.vii

Most French studentsviii have Wednesdays off.

And Taiwanese students go to school for eight hours a day.ix

School may look different around the world...but all nations have at least one thing in common: No one likes cafeteria food.



  1. Most public schools in America require students to spend 180 days a year in the classroom.
  2. Finnish students get a 75-minute break every day.
  3. South Korean students spend the most time in school, with just 8 weeks off each year.





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