Thomson Reuters

South Korea's "Exam Village"

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Kim Sa-myeong, 27, studies in his small room called a Goshiwon in one of the many private dorms that house students cramming for exams in Seoul December 13, 2012. There are 30,000 residents of a drab neighbourhood of the South Korean capital known as Exam Village, where people preparing for tests for low-level civil service jobs have gravitated for years. There is a growing sense of frustration among the young in a country where...more

Kim Sa-myeong, 27, studies in his small room called a Goshiwon in one of the many private dorms that house students cramming for exams in Seoul December 13, 2012. There are 30,000 residents of a drab neighbourhood of the South Korean capital known as Exam Village, where people preparing for tests for low-level civil service jobs have gravitated for years. There is a growing sense of frustration among the young in a country where there are simply not enough jobs to go round, especially for graduates of less prestigious universities whose options are largely limited to the public sector. In Exam Village, or Goshichon in Korean, there were so many young people who wanted to cast early ballots last week that extra polling booths had to be brought in. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

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Kim Sa-myeong, 27, walks to the bathroom from his small room called a Goshiwon in one of the many private dorms that house students cramming for exams in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Kim Sa-myeong, 27, walks to the bathroom from his small room called a Goshiwon in one of the many private dorms that house students cramming for exams in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

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Kim Sa-myeong, 27, studies in his small room called a 'Goshiwon' in one of the many private dorms that house students cramming for exams in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Kim Sa-myeong, 27, studies in his small room called a 'Goshiwon' in one of the many private dorms that house students cramming for exams in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

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Kim Sa-myeong, 27, studies in his small room called a Goshiwon in one of the many private dorms that house students cramming for exams in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Kim Sa-myeong, 27, studies in his small room called a Goshiwon in one of the many private dorms that house students cramming for exams in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

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Kim Sa-myeong, 27, studies in his small room called a 'Goshiwon' in one of the many private dorms that house students cramming for exams in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Kim Sa-myeong, 27, studies in his small room called a 'Goshiwon' in one of the many private dorms that house students cramming for exams in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

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Kim Sa-myeong, 27, puts on his coat in his small room called a Goshiwon in one of the many private dorms that house students cramming for exams in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Kim Sa-myeong, 27, puts on his coat in his small room called a Goshiwon in one of the many private dorms that house students cramming for exams in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

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Kim Sa-myeong, 27, walks in front of a building of private study rooms in a Goshichon in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Kim Sa-myeong, 27, walks in front of a building of private study rooms in a Goshichon in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

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Young South Korean's wait to cast their absentee ballot at a polling station in a Goshichon, which means "exam village" in Korean, in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Young South Korean's wait to cast their absentee ballot at a polling station in a Goshichon, which means "exam village" in Korean, in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

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A teacher gives a lecture at a cram school in a Goshichon, which means "exam village" in Korean, in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

A teacher gives a lecture at a cram school in a Goshichon, which means "exam village" in Korean, in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

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Young South Korean's attend a class at a cram school in a Goshichon, which means "exam village" in Korean, in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Young South Korean's attend a class at a cram school in a Goshichon, which means "exam village" in Korean, in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

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Kim Sa-myeong (R), 27, carries his food at a cafeteria serving to students in Goshichon in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Kim Sa-myeong (R), 27, carries his food at a cafeteria serving to students in Goshichon in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

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Students eat $2 rice at a street stall in a Goshichon, which means "exam village" in Korean, in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Students eat $2 rice at a street stall in a Goshichon, which means "exam village" in Korean, in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

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Kim Sa-myeong, 27, has lunch at a cafeteria serving students in a Goshichon, which means "exam village", in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Kim Sa-myeong, 27, has lunch at a cafeteria serving students in a Goshichon, which means "exam village", in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

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Young South Korean's wait to cast their absentee ballot at a polling station in a Goshichon, which means "exam village" in Korean, in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Young South Korean's wait to cast their absentee ballot at a polling station in a Goshichon, which means "exam village" in Korean, in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

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Young South Korean's cast their absentee ballot at a polling station in a Goshichon, which means "exam village" in Korean, in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Young South Korean's cast their absentee ballot at a polling station in a Goshichon, which means "exam village" in Korean, in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

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Young South Koreans wait to cast their absentee ballot at a polling station in a Goshichon, which means "exam village" in Korean, in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Young South Koreans wait to cast their absentee ballot at a polling station in a Goshichon, which means "exam village" in Korean, in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

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Kim Sa-myeong, 27, washes his face in the common bathroom of a Goshiwon in one of the many private dorms that house students cramming for exams in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Kim Sa-myeong, 27, washes his face in the common bathroom of a Goshiwon in one of the many private dorms that house students cramming for exams in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

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Kim Sa-myeong, 27, folds a quilt in his small room called a Goshiwon in one of the many private dorms that house students cramming for exams in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Kim Sa-myeong, 27, folds a quilt in his small room called a Goshiwon in one of the many private dorms that house students cramming for exams in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

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Kim Sa-myeong, 27, walks out of a Goshiwon, one of the many private dorms that house students cramming for exams in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Kim Sa-myeong, 27, walks out of a Goshiwon, one of the many private dorms that house students cramming for exams in Seoul December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

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