The “Korean girl study method” is trending on Chinese social media as Chinese influencers try out the caffeine-fuelled 10-hour study sessions of Korean “gongbang”, or “study with me” livestreams and vlogs. The “Korean girl study method” involves long study sessions with little sleep fuelled by iced Americanos. However, daily doses of vitamins, gym workouts and skincare routines are not excluded. Chinese netizens are “in awe” of their impeccable dress. The trend has become the successor of the “that girl” routine which saw people working hard while still pursuing wellness.
The “gongbang” broadcasts, where vloggers film their study sessions for up to 10 to 12 hours first surfaced in 2018 and blew up in popularity during the pandemic. With schools and universities closed, livestreams of others studying became a soothing and motivational activity for the students of South Korea. Non-students preparing for South Korea’s civil service exam are also popular in the gongbang circle. The vlogs are trending internationally, with over 100 million views and 75 million engagements across platforms such as TikTok, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram in the past 3 months.
Meanwhile, the Korean caffeine-fuelled long daily schedule has periodically been the talk of Chinese social media since 2019 from posts of Chinese students in South Korea. It intensified during the Covid-19 pandemic due to the popularity of “gongbang” providing more evidence of their extreme daily routine. Chinese netizens sometimes joked that South Korean people have evolved to not need sleep anymore.
All jokes aside, Chinese students and those who are attempting China’s civil service exam find inspiration and kindred spirits in their Korean peers. As one TikToker says: “Korean vloggers have become the spiritual leaders of Chinese exam preparation.”