Study cafes—Are they worth the craze?


Everyday after school, SIS highschoolers commonly crowd into study cafes to finish school work and prepare for upcoming exams. Study cafes are especially packed during this time of year, as suneung (Korea’s annual college entrance exam) approaches. With students working ambitiously while listening to instrumental music, study cafes seem to cultivate the perfect environment for comfortable and productive study. 

Study cafes are not your regular cafes or libraries, but rather, a blend between the two. Although the interior design often reflects a library (with opened desks and bookshelves), the music played and beverages sold at the counter also stimulates a cafe-like atmosphere. 

Although some students seek the deafening silence of a library, others find that the sound of coffee grinding, subtle chattering, and jazz music more effectively boosts their productivity. 

“When I want to memorize vocab or read books, I love going to study cafes or just cafes, because they provide a comfortable study space,” Dayeon Han (11), frequent study cafe visitor, said. “But if I were studying other subjects like math, I would rather do it in a quiet environment, such as at home.”

Studies have supported that the several stimuli in a cafe can better clear one’s head and induce endorphins while studying in comparison to when at home, as the temptations to sleep and to take breaks can often feel irresistible. 

Study cafes also recognize that students share different study preferences and have efficiently incorporated both a collaborative, open space and a no talking, closed area. When studying with friends, one can discuss assignments and prepare presentations with others in a collaborative room while still allocating a later time for self study in a secluded area in the study cafe. 

“There are pros and cons to both open and individual spaces, but personally, I prefer seeing people working around me when studying.” Liz Kim (11), study cafe lover, said. “I have volleyball practice and tournaments after school, so by the time I leave school, I am super drained and unproductive, so I frequently go to study cafes to gain motivation.” 

Beyond the effective layout, the sight of hardworking students also motivates students to continue studying without distraction or rest.