Hamilton: The Musical Based on the Man

The Teacher Training program I’m involved with usually goes abroad during the school vacation periods for additional training and cultural experiences in a Western country (USA, Canada, England, Australia, etc). However, since 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, travel abroad has been canceled.

Therefore, I was asked to present on American history or culture in order to provide a small taste of the experience they will miss by not going abroad this session. So, I selected Hamilton: The Musical because it tells the story of the American Revolution up to the founding of the US government through the eyes of one of its key members, the first Secretary of the Treasury, and the man on the $10 bill: Alexander Hamilton.

Additionally, Disney+ released the full Broadway musical as a movie in July 2020 during the pandemic, just before the first time I gave this presentation. The timing was perfect.


Why did I choose to introduce you to this particular musical?

  1. I was asked to present on American History & Culture
  2. This story tells of the foundation of the United States of America and its government – from the American Revolution against Britain to the establishment of the US government and the third US President (Jefferson)

Alexander Hamilton was a US Founding Father

  • 1 of 7 key figures (John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton,
    John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, & George Washington)
  • He wrote majority of The Federalist Papers (51 of 85), that argued for ratification of the Constitution
  • Hamilton is one of very few key figures to appear on US currency. His face is on the $10 bill
  1. It is one of the most popular & decorated (award-winning) musicals of all time (with 16 Tony nominations, 11 wins, and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama)
  2. It is musically, lyrically, a work of art – choreographed beautifully, with so many small details, hidden meanings, and foreshadowing, it would be a shame NOT to learn about it
  3. It was released as a full-length movie on Disney+ in July 2020, just in time for the first time I gave this presentation during the Covid-19 pandemic

Reviews of the Musical

“2015’s best rap album isn’t by Drake, Kendrick Lamar or Dr. Dre — it’s the cast recording of Hamilton, a vital companion to the most creative, most talked-about musical to hit Broadway this millennium.”

Billboard Review

“Yes, it really is that good.”

New York Times Review

Let’s start with getting to know the three most important people who made this musical / movie possible.

Rob Chernow

Rob Chernow is a Historian and Biographer whose 818-page biography about Alexander Hamilton served as the main inspiration for the musical. Chernow reviewed over 22,000 archival documents and research papers about Hamilton, including many of Hamilton’s own writings in order to write the book. After publication, it stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for 3-months, and Chernow also served as historical consultant on the musical.

Other notable works:

  • The House of Morgan (J.P. Morgan) (812 p.)
  • Titan (John D. Rockefeller, Sr.) (774p.)
  • Alexander Hamilton (818p.)
  • Washington: A Life (904p. + Pulitzer Prize for Biography)
  • Grant (Ulysses S. Grant) (1,104p.)

“If Washington is the father of the country and Madison the father of the Constitution, then Alexander Hamilton was surely the father of the American government.

Rob Chernow on Hamilton

Lin Manuel-Miranda

Lin-Manuel Miranda is an actor, songwriter, and producer who wrote all the song lyrics for Hamilton: The Musical which first hit Broadway in 2015. Hamilton won 11 Tony awards (16 nominations), and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The Musical has been so famous and popular that it had 7 US productions, and 2 international productions (including Hamburg and Sydney), as well as a full-length movie released on Disney+ in July 2020.

Other Notable Works:

  • In The Heights (Broadway, 2008) – 13 Tony nominations (4 wins) + 1 Grammy
  • Bring It On: The Musical (Broadway, 2012)
  • Hamilton: The Musical (Broadway, 2015)
  • Moana (Disney, 2016) – He wrote the songs
  • Mary Poppins Returns (Disney, 2018) – He was the chimney sweep

“America then, as told by America now.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda on casting non-white actors for the Founding Fathers

(In the 2020 census, there were nearly 40% “non-white” respondents.)

Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton was one of the seven most important Founding Fathers of the US (including John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, & George Washington).

Notable works:

  1. Influential interpreter & promoter of the U.S. Constitution
  2. Main writer of The Federalist Papers (51 of 85) that argued for ratification of the U.S. Constitution
  3. Founder of the nation’s financial system, the Federalist Party (which dissolved after his death), the United States Coast Guard, and the New York Post newspaper
  4. First secretary of the treasury & the main author of George Washington’s economic policies
  5. Led the federal government’s funding of the states’ debts
  6. Established the nation’s first two de facto central banks, the Bank of North America and the First Bank of the United States
  7. Established a system of tariffs & friendly trade relations with Britain

“I have resolved…to reserve and throw away my first fire, and I have thoughts even of reserving my second fire – and thus giving a double opportunity to Col Burr to pause and to reflect.”

Alexander Hamilton reflecting on & writing about his upcoming pistol duel with Aaron Burr

Hamilton: The Musical

Hamilton: The Musical is broken into two Acts with an Intermission between them. Each Act contains 23 songs on the album, although there is a 24th song in Act one that wasn’t released on the album. Additionally, each Act runs approximately one hour and eleven minutes:

  • Act 1: 24 songs, 1:11:11+
  • Act 2: 23 songs, 1:11:27

The following video shows the “Best 20 Hamilton Songs” as ranked by WatchMojo. For the most part, I agree with this list, but there are a few others that I starred in the lists below that I also think are quite good.

Overall, the entire musical is a lyrical phenomenon, so it’s hard to judge between them. But this is a pretty good list to get started with.

I’ve also provided links to the Wikipedia page for each song (where one exists), as well as the full lyrics, and the Namu Wiki page for my Korean students to have a better time understanding.

Act 1

In which Hamilton joins the Revolutionary Army in the battle for independence from England.

Act 1 can be broken into two parts of relatively equal length:

  1. The setup, situation, & characters
  2. War with Britain

The full synopsis of Act 1 can be read on Wikipedia here.

20Alexander Hamilton3:56Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
19Aaron Burr, Sir2:36Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
2My Shot5:33Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
**The Story of Tonight1:31Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
5The Schuyler Sisters3:06Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
Farmer Refuted1:52Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
16You’ll Be Back3:28Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
Right Hand Man5:21Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
A Winter’s Ball1:09Lyrics | 나무위키
9Helpless4:09Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
3Satisfied5:29Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
The Story of Tonight [Reprise]1:55Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
4Wait For It3:13Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
Stay Alive2:39Lyrics | 나무위키
*Ten Duel Commandments1:46Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
*Meet Me Inside1:23Lyrics | 나무위키
That Would Be Enough2:58Lyrics | 나무위키
6Guns and Ships2:07Lyrics | 나무위키
*History Has its Eyes on You1:37Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
1Yorktown4:02Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
What Comes Next?1:39Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
17Dear Theodosia3:04Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
Tomorrow There’ll Be More of Us1:08?Wiki
11Non-Stop6:25Lyrics | 나무위키


Act 2

In which Hamilton’s efforts in the birth of the fledgling nation takes an increasing toll.

Act 2 can also be broken into two parts of relatively equal length:

  1. Establishing a new government
  2. Affair, repercussions, political enemies, tragic end

The full synopsis of Act 2 can be read on Wikipedia here.

14What’d I Miss?3:56Lyrics | 나무위키
**Cabinet Battle #13:35Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
Take a Break4:46Lyrics | 나무위키
13Say No to This4:02Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
7The Room Where it Happens5:18Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
Schuyler Defeated1:03Lyrics | 나무위키
Cabinet Battle #22:22Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
***Washington on Your Side3:01Lyrics | 나무위키
12One Last Time4:56Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
*I Know Him1:37Lyrics | 나무위키
The Adams Administration0:54Lyrics | 나무위키
We Know2:22Lyrics | 나무위키
*Hurricane2:23Lyrics | 나무위키
The Reynolds Pamphlet2:08Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
8Burn3:45Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
*Blow Us All Away2:53Lyrics | 나무위키
***Stay Alive [Reprise]1:51Lyrics | 나무위키
18It’s Quiet Uptown4:30Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
15The Election of 18003:57Lyrics | 나무위키
Your Obedient Servant2:30Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
Best of Wives and Best of Women0:47Lyrics | 나무위키
***The World Was Wide Enough5:02Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
10Who Lives, Who Dies,
Who Tells Your Story
3:37Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키

The Duel

The duel with Aaron Burr is the most (in)famous part of Hamilton’s life, and before the Musical, probably one of the only things (besides his face on the $10 bill) that many children in the US would remember about his life.

And given the significance of this event, I thought it would be good to include the song from the Musical that details it.

In the song:

“Burr and Hamilton travel to New Jersey for the duel. Burr reflects on the moments leading up to the duel, stating that one of them will have to die. Burr and Hamilton walk the requisite ten paces, with Burr firing first, and time freezes as Hamilton reflects on his legacy, before throwing away his shot. Burr shoots him between the ribs and Hamilton eventually dies, mourned upon by Eliza, Angelica, and the rest of the cast. Burr laments that though he survived, he is cursed to be remembered as the villain who killed Hamilton.” (Wikipedia)

So, Hamilton is dead, but Burr’s life is destroyed. Though he was the third Vice President of the US, along side Thomas Jefferson as President, he would never again hold any public office.


As a final note, and to further prove the popularity and cultural relevance of Hamilton: The Musical, here is a “Weird Al” polka of Hamilton. In the US, you know you’ve “made it” to the big time whenever Weird Al does a parody or a polka of one (or more) of your songs.

Marvel vs. DC Comics

This presentation was put together as a kind of “cultural study” for the Jeonju University Teacher Trainer program in July 2020. I introduced DC and Marvel comics, and detailed many of the differences and similarities between the two biggest comic book publishers in the US.

“Slugfest: Inside the Epic 50-Year Battle Between Marvel and DC” by Reed Tucker was instrumental in helping me prepare for this presentation.

Usually, the Teacher Training program I’m involved with goes abroad during the school vacation periods for additional training and cultural experiences in a Western country (USA, Canada, England, Australia, etc). However, since 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, travel abroad has been canceled. Therefore, it has become the responsibility of the regular teachers of the program to provide that additional training and cultural experiences to the best of our ability IN KOREA.

As a part of this additional training, I was asked to present on:

  1. Superhero comics (due to the increasing popularity of Marvel and DC movies)
  2. American history or culture (I selected Hamilton: The Musical – the presentation can be found here)

To help me prepare for this presentation, I read “Slugfest: Inside the Epic 50-Year Battle Between Marvel and DC” by Reed Tucker (affiliate link), which I found incredibly informational and useful.

DC vs. Marvel

Let’s start off with a couple of pictures:

  1. San Diego Comic Con (Do you know about Comic Con? Did you know Korea has one too?)
  2. DC comic book characters vs. Marvel comic book characters
  3. DC vs. Marvel cinematic universe characters (complete movie checklist)

What do you Know About DC vs. Marvel?

  1. Heroes
  2. Villains
  3. Sidekicks
  4. Team-ups
  5. Themes

DC Comics History

DC Comics History on Wikipedia

  • 1934: Business opened as National Allied Publications
  • 1935: Superman introduced
  • 1937: Name changed to Detective Comics
  • 1939: Batman introduced
  • 1940: The first DC logo was created
  • 1966: The Adam West Batman TV show began
  • 1967: DC was purchased by Kinney National (now WB)
  • 1970: DC acquired artist Jack Kirby from Marvel (formerly worked with Stan Lee)
  • 1976: Jenette Kahn became the first woman directorial editor
  • 1980: The New Teen Titans debuted
  • 2005: Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins trilogy began, and a new DC “spin” logo was introduced
  • 2009: WB restructuring
  • 2011: The New 52 comic was released
  • 2012: DC rebranded, The Dark Knight Rises was released to close out Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, and the Arrow TV show debuted
  • 2016: Another DC rebirth and rebrand, Zack Snyder at the head of the DCEU (Extended Universe)

Marvel Comics History

Marvel Comics History on Wikipedia

  • 1932: Marvel began as a magazine publishing company (under a different name) – no comics yet
  • 1939: Timely Comics #1 was released, it later became Atlas Comics
  • 1941: Captain America was introduced
  • 1961: Stan Lee & Jack Kirby working together as a team began Marvel’s rise
  • 1962: Spiderman was introduced
  • 1963: The X-men were introduced
  • 1986: The company was sold
  • 1988: Todd McFarlane’s Spiderman (darker and edgier) was released
  • 1991: Marvel IPO (40% of the company was sold)
  • 1992-1995: Numerous acquisitions
  • 1996: The company filed for bankruptcy
  • 1998: The company emerged from bankruptcy
  • 2000: 20th Century Fox produced the first X-men movie
  • 2002: Sony produced the first Spiderman movie
  • 2009: Marvel was bought by Disney for $4.3 billion
  • 2015: Disney + Sony teamed up to bring Spiderman in to Captain America: Civil War

Company Comparison


– old-fashioned style, more traditional
– slightly more sluggish as an organization, more conservative
50% sell-through rate
– edgier, hipper comics
– more progressive
70% sell-through rate
Gained popularity in the 1930s-40s
– Eisenhower was president
– Great Depression / WWII
Gained popularity in the 1950s-60s
– JFK was president
– Hippies / Vietnam War
Capes, yesCapes, NO
Targeted youthTargeted young adults


– Superman
– Batman
– Wonder Woman
– Fantastic Four
– Spiderman
– X-men
Depicted as gods, super-powered beings, who were struggling to be humanDepicted as humans, who were accidentally granted super-powers, and were struggling with their new reality
– They had “god” struggles (end of the world)
– Unlimited resources
– They were flawless, too perfect, clean & tidy, “boy scouts” (and boring)
– They were the born good guys, the “perfect” hero
– They had “real” struggles (part-time jobs, girls, etc)
– Limited resources
– They were flawed humans, imperfect, messy, regular people
– Sometimes, they were the “anti-hero” – and struggled with hard decisions


– The art was often perfect
– It lacked flair, danger, and energy (especially the covers)
– There were individual fiefdoms among the artists / writers (less teamwork)
– They didn’t read other books, nor use outside talent
– The are was imperfect and stylized
– You could “stand across the room and know a Marvel cover”
– There was a cornucopia of creativity (more teamwork)
– Not only read other books, sometimes they stole ideas and artists from DC (and vice versa)
– Their characters each exist in their own universes (fake cities, places) and rarely interact with each other
– The stories are “one-off” stories, disjointed, not connected
– The characters themselves were the stars of the show
– Their characters existed in the same universe, our universe (real cities and places) and could interact regularly
– There was a coherent, consistent Marvel universe
– The writers & artists often became stars themselves (Stan Lee)


The first (and best) to TV & movies
– 1966: Adam West’s Batman
– 1978: Christopher Reeve’s Superman I
Shoddy movie & TV work at first

The company was innovative in multimedia, risk-taking
– They retained all the rights to their characters
– Their live action TV shows were their best offering
More conservative and controlling of their universe (less risks)
– Sold the rights to their characters to multiple companies
– Their animated TV shows were their best offering
The first to publish European style “books” with no ads
– 10% direct sales
The first to do “direct sales”
– 20% direct sales
– Multiple covers for the same issue (collector’s items)
– Also offered collectibles and other merchandise

Cinematic Universes

Movies & TV

Zack Snyder (Man of Steel director) had been the head of the DCEU
– The DCEU was director-controlled
Kevin Feige is the head of the MCU
– The MCU is overseen from above
Heroes tended to team up first (Justice League), and branch out into individual films later onHeroes have individual films first, THEN team-ups (Avengers)
Ex: Superman v. Batman
– Characters are straight men (less humor)
– The movie tone is dark, gritty, violent
Ex: Captain America: Civil War
– Characters are pranksters (humorous)
– The movie tone is colorful, humorous, and light
The DCEU has little overlap in its films, and more variety (but this also makes the universe less cohesive, not as strong)The MCU has one unified vision – all the characters exist together in the same universe and cross over all the time (this requires more planning up front, but has a much bigger payoff in the end)

Scene Fights!

This subsection includes a list of 10 different video essays (from ScreenCrush) that attempt to show where and why one particular movie in one universe worked and another (similar) movie in the other universe didn’t.

DCMarvelFIGHT! (Time)
Batman v. SupermanCaptain America: Civil War9:50
Justice LeagueAvengers15:52
Wonder WomanCaptain America12:28
Suicide SquadGuardians of the Galaxy12:42
AquamanBlack Panther11:26
The Dark KnightLogan15:15
Man of SteelIron Man10:53
Wonder WomanThor20:48
Snyder CutJosstice League26:04

Snyder Cut vs. Josstice League

What is the Snyder Cut? What is Josstice League?

Zack Snyder (director of Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman) was the original director of Justice League. However, he stepped down from directorial duties in post-production to properly deal with his daughter’s suicide.

Joss Whedon (director of Avengers, and co-writer on Justice League) stepped in to take over post-production duties.

While Zack Snyder’s vision for the film was darker, Whedon lightened the tone significantly during reshoots, adding in more jokes, and turning it into something more like the Avengers (Marvel) than Zack Snyder’s vision for DC. Ultimately, much of Cyborg’s back story (who Zack Snyder has said is actually “the heart of the story”) was also cut in order to fit the time frame of 2 hours running time.

In late 2017, after fans were disappointed with the Joss Whedon cut of the movie, an online petition gathered over 179,000 signatures to release the original director’s cut. In mid-2018, a website called ForSnyderCut.com was created to support the effort, and later the hashtag #ReleaseTheSnyderCut became a trending topic on Twitter. Finally, in 2021, during the Covid-19 pandemic, WB released a 4+ hour Snyder cut of the film on HBO Max on March 18, 2021 which was try to the original director’s original vision.

The Snyder Cut received significantly higher fan and critic reviews than the Josstice League cut.

Here are three more videos detailing the differences between the two versions of the film:

  1. All Differences from the Theatrical Version
  2. 23 Biggest Changes
  3. Top 10 Biggest Changes

Upcoming Releases


  1. The Suicide Squad (8.6.2021)
  2. The Batman (3.22.2022)
  3. Black Adam (7.29.2022) (alternate fan-made trailer)
  4. TV: Titans Season 3 (8.12.2021)


  1. Black Widow (7.7.2021 – already released) (Honest Trailer)
  2. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (9.3.2021)
  3. Eternals (11.4.2021)
  4. TV: What If…? (8.11.2021)


  1. Venom 2: Let there be Carnage (9.15.2021)

Actually, this is a good time to introduce just how splintered the rights to different Marvel franchises remains to this day.

  • Sony owns: All of Spiderman, sidekicks, villains, etc
  • Universal owns: All of Hulk, etc (and Namor the Submariner)
  • 20th Century Fox owns: All of X-men, etc
  • Disney (Marvel) owns: Everything else


Do you prefer one company or its characters over the other? Which one? Why?

I wonder what the characters themselves might think…

Brand Battle!

For this final section of the presentation, let’s consider some famous rivalries between other big name brands. Do you have one you prefer over the other?

  1. Microsoft vs. Apple
  2. Android (Google) vs. Apple
  3. Microsoft vs. Google
  4. Samsung vs. LG
  5. Adidas vs. Nike
  6. Under Armor vs. Nike
  7. Pepsi vs. Coca Cola
  8. McDonald’s vs. Burger King
  9. Dunkin Donuts vs. Starbucks
  10. Domino’s Pizza vs. Pizza Hut
  11. Facebook vs. What’s App
  12. USA vs. China

Can you think of any other big rivalries? Other big comic publishers? What about Korean comics?


0-100: Cultural Differences Between the US & Korea

I’ve lived in Korea for 15 years, teaching English (and computers) to all levels, from kindergarten to adult. I spent my first 26 years of life & education in the US, from kindergarten to university. I grew up in a typical American family, and I’m now raising a typical Korean family.

For these reasons, I was recently approached to give a presentation on Cultural Differences between the US (my home country) and Korea (my residence) to a group of high school students in Jeonju.

Now, there are plenty of good blog posts, YouTube videos, and discussions about cultural differences between the US and Korea already available online, so I decided to take a different approach. This presentation will start with a brief overview of some facts and statistics that I’ve gathered from the CIA World Factbook. But then, we will dive into cultural differences that one may experience at certain milestones along a typical life journey “from birth to death” (hence, the presentation’s subtitle).

While I’ve experienced my fair share of culture shock and cultural differences during my 15 years living in Jeonju, I wanted to approach this subject from a slightly different angle. Therefore, I’ve selected a handful of “Life Milestones” that everyone will (likely) experience in some form or another throughout their lives.

I’ll compare and contrast different aspects of these Life Milestones and how each culture experiences them in their own unique ways. Some will be quite similar between the cultures, but others will have wildly different cultural expressions. I hope this presentation will be both interesting and insightful, and that we’ll be able to have a good discussion through it and learn a lot together.

Since I’ve lived for extended periods in both cultures (26 years in America, 15 years in Korea), I am quite familiar with the differences and similarities between cultures and can speak extensively from my own experiences.

Some Basic Facts

These facts have been sourced from the CIA World Factbook.

Compare & Contrast

  • Size: Area • Landscape
  • People: Population • Health
  • Money: Education • Military



  • USA: 9,833,517 km2 (#4 in the world)
  • Korea: 99,720 km2 (#109 in the world)

At that size, the USA is roughly 100 times larger than Korea! Korea is only:

  • Slightly larger than Indiana
  • And slightly smaller than Pennsylvania



  • Halla-san – the tallest mountain in Korea (1,950m) 
    • An easy way to remember its height is with a Korean expression that encourages tourism by using each number of its height in the sentence: “세요.” Actually, this is one of my favorite Korean sentences for this very reason. It says, “1번” (one time), “9경” (sightsee), “5세요” (come) = 1,9,5,0 meters high. Cool!~
  • Seoul – the most wired city in the world (1st for 5G)
    • Though this report is from 10 years ago, even in 2011, Seoul was considered the most wired city in the world. As the home of global brands like Samsung, LG, and Hyundai, and the first country in the world to launch 5G commercially, South Korea is still one of the most wired countries in the world, and a great test bed for new technologies.
  • Jeonju – largest hanok village in Korea (800+ hanok)
    • Jeonju is also a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, and the food capital of Korea! It is located in the heart of some of the richest farmland in Korea, and restaurants here serve the most variety, quantity, and freshest side dishes of any place I’ve yet visited in Korea. The food is incomparable!


  • Denali – the coldest mountain on earth (6,190m, -73°C)
    • The “crowning peak” of the Alaskan Mountain Range and the highest point in North America.
    • Permanent snow and ice cover over 75% of the mountain.
    • Glaciers up to 45 miles (72.4km) and 3700 feet (1127.8m) thick “spider out from its base in every direction.” (source)
    • Winds of over 150 mph (241.4kph) and temperatures of -93˚F (-73˚C) have been recorded, which is some of the coldest and most violent weather on earth.
  • Mauna Kea – the tallest mountain on earth (10,200m) above sea level (4,207m)
    • The highest point in Hawaii and one of 6 volcanoes that formed the island, it stands roughly at the same height that commercial airplanes fly.
    • It is one of the best sites in the world for astronomical observation and contains 12 sites with 13 telescopes, though the construction of the telescopes has been controversial (indigenous rights, religion, ecology).
  • Death Valley – the hottest place on earth (-86m, 56.7°C)
    • It lies near the border of California and Nevada (126.2 miles or 203km to Las Vegas), and is 3,000km2 (7770km2) – almost as big as Jeollabuk-do (8067km2)
    • The hottest officially registered temperature is 56.7°C in 1913.
    • But it may not be the hottest place on earth much longer.

Land Use

  • Korea
    • Agriculture (18.1%) = 18,049 km2
    • Forest (63.9%)
    • Other (18.0%)
  • USA
    • Agriculture (44.5%) = 4,375,915 km2
    • Forest (33.3%)
    • Other (22.2%)

That means the USA has over 242 times more land area devoted to agriculture!



  • USA: 334,998,398 (#3 in the world)
    • Demographics
      • 72.4% White
      • 12.6% Black
      • 4.8% Asian
      • 10.2% Other
    • Language
      • 78.2% English
      • 13.4% Spanish
      • 1.1% Chinese
  • Korea: 51,715,162 (#28 in the world)
    • 96.2% Korean
    • 3.8% Non-Korean (1.99 million)

Population Density

  • USA: 50% of the population lives in 9 states: Califonia, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Pennsylvania, New York
  • Korea: 50% of the population lives in Gyeongi Province & especially Seoul

Population Pyramids

Korea just isn’t having babies (1.09 children per woman – a negative birth rate), and longer life expectancy (82.78 vs 80.43 in the US) which means there is an aging population, and it’s only a matter of time before the total population shrinks dramatically.


You can see from the graphic that Korea wins on almost every metric.

The US is at least continuing to maintain its population (1.84 children per woman) as you can also see from the previous Population Pyramid.

And although the US does have more Physician Density per 1,000 people, the fact that the US spends more than double the amount of its GDP on healthcare means that this metric is (at least) a toss-up.

Mother’s mean age for her first child is additionally mostly a toss-up, because cultural factors may play a big part in this. But this might also be a big reason why Korea has a negative birthrate – because women are waiting so much longer to start having children. American women, by contrast, have on average 5 years more than Korean women to have children because they are starting earlier.

Nevertheless, all of the other factors, as well as Korea’s technological and economic advanced, prompted the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to classify Korea as a “developed” economy on July 2, 2021, and no longer merely a “developing” economy. This is the first upgrade for a member state since the body’s establishment in 1964!


GDP (purchasing power parity)

  • USA: $62,530
  • Korea: $42,755

GDP Composition

  • USA
    • Agriculture (0.9%)
    • Industry (19.1%)
    • Military (3.7%)
    • Education (5%)
    • Healthcare (16.9%)
    • Other Services (54.4%)
  • Korea
    • Agriculture (2.2%)
    • Industry (39.3%)
    • Military (2.7%)
    • Education (4.3%)
    • Healthcare (7.6%)
    • Other Services (43.9%)


  • Korea
    • Elementary (1-6)
    • Middle (1-3)
    • High (1-3)
  • USA (alt #1)
    • Elementary (K-6)
    • Junior High (7-9)
    • High (10-12)
  • USA (alt #2)
    • Elementary (K-5)
    • Middle (6-8)
    • High (9-12)

School Year

  • Korea
    • Year: March – July, September – January
    • Vacation: August, February (2 months total)
    • Hours: 8:30am – 4:30pm? (or 11:30pm?)
  • USA
    • Year: September – December, January – May
    • Vacation: December – January (1 month), June – August (3 months)
    • Hours: 8:30 – 3:00pm (or 6:00pm?)

More Education Differences

In the US:

  • No uniforms: only 19% of schools require uniforms
  • Students move classrooms: there is no “home room” so in the 10 minute breaks, students have to travel through the halls, go to lockers, etc.
  • Less days & times: US schools are in session for shorter hours, plus require less minimum school days per year
    • USA: 180 days (and way more holidays!)
    • Korea: 220 days
  • Extracurricular activities:
    • In school: students are encouraged to join sports, clubs, and leadership (Student Council)
    • Out of school: students get part-time jobs, date, and just hang out
    • But also, in the US, there are more fights, drugs, skipping, vandalism, threats, etc.

A Typical Day in High School


  • Korea: Compulsory
    • 1.5 years
    • $450 / month salary
  • USA: Voluntary
    • Typically 4 years minimum, up to a full career (11 years average)
    • Starting salary: around $2,000 / month
    • But also includes multiple bonuses, paying for school, etc

Break time!

Any questions?

Life Milestones

My wife brought home the “Visit Korea” book here the other day, and one of the first articles I noticed was touting some 8 top benefits of visiting Korea. I thought it would be interesting to compare these to my personal experiences in the US:

  1. Safe Streets & Low Crime Rate
    • USA: Yes, mostly, except in certain places at night
  2. A Country that Never Sleeps
  3. Foreigner-friendly Signs
    • USA: There are more Spanish language signs and announcements popping up than when I was a child
  4. Excellent & Fast Medical Services
    • USA: But much more expensive than in Korea (by about 10x in my experience)
  5. Wi-Fi Heaven
    • USA: In Starbucks… But there is no wide-spread wifi, nor Internet cafes on every corner.
  6. No Cash, No Worries!
    • USA: Yes, the card is king. But the US still uses LOTS of checks, and direct deposit, e-taxes, and other digital conveniences still aren’t widespread.
  7. Convenient Public Transportation
  8. Fast & Easy Delivery
    • USA: In my experience, only pizza, and maybe Chinese, does delivery. Perhaps that’s changed?

(Keep in mind, I am from a small town in Wyoming, so my experiences are not necessarily reflective of more developed and larger cities.)

Life Stages

I’ve broken these Life Stages down into three main sections:

  1. Youth – including childhood & schooling
  2. Adulthood – including career & family
  3. Elderly – including aging & retirement

Here they are in detail:

  1. Youth (~18% of life)
    • 0-5: Infancy
    • 6-11: Elementary
    • 12-18: Middle / High school
    • 16, 18, 21: “Coming of Age”
    • 18-21: University?
  2. Adulthood (~48% of life)
    • 21-30: Figuring Yourself Out
    • 31-40: Family? Career?
    • 41-50: Career! (Midlife Crisis?)
    • 51-60: “Over the Hill”
    • 61-66: The End (of career) is Near
  3. Elderly (~34% of life)
    • 66-70: The “Golden Years”
    • 71-75: Aging
    • 76-80: Slowing
    • 81-85: The “Twilight Years”
    • 86-100?: THE END

The remainder of this presentation contains many questions that I hope will lead to a good discussion with the participants. Each of these topics is lengthy and could lead to its own discussion or presentation, so I’ll try my best to keep things brief.

Youth: 0-18ish

0-5: Infancy



Walking & Talking

6-11: Elementary

First Day of School

Making Friends

In & After School

12-18: Middle / High School

Learning to Work


College Entrance Exams

16, 18, 21: Coming of Age

16: First Car / Job

18: First Love

21: First Drink

18-21: University?

Meet the Police

Experience Death

Move Out

Adulthood: 21-66

21-30: Figuring Yourself Out

On Your Own

First “Real” Job

First “Major” Purchase

31-40: Family? Career?

Getting Married

Buying a House

Having a Baby

41-50: Career! (Midlife Crisis?)

Changes at Work

Excess $$$

Midlife Crisis

51-60: “Over the Hill”

Family Again

61-66: The End (of Career) is Near

Retirement Party

Elderly: 66-100?

66-70: The “Golden Years”

“Golden Years”

71-75: Aging

Health Issues

76-80: Slowing Down

Nursing Homes

81-85: The “Twilight Years”

Last Will & Testament

86-100: THE END

The Next Great Adventure