Wednesday, April 10, 2013

My Korean Language Journey (So Far...)

Even though this is my 3rd year in Korea, I'll admit that I don't actually know much Korean. This is my fault, officially beginning with my waiting for more than 6 months to even learn to read the language. My life had changed and became much, much better after doing that one simple thing!
My textbook and a gift from a classmate!

I debated about how much effort I should put into learning the language, because I know that it would take years to just to become very good at speaking Korean. I also wondered how long I would actually be here. Would I put in an astronomical amount of effort, only to leave and never use it again? In the end, I figured that I should learn something, even if it's just to help me survive.

Lots to learn on the board
Eventually, in the fall of last year I --ahem-- picked up a copy of Rosetta Stone Korean. I worked on that for awhile and got through the three levels. I found it to be a good introduction for those that know absolutely nothing about the language. It isn't that comprehensive though, so I believe a serious learner shouldn't rely on it.

I knew that when I came back that I would at least sign up for a Korean class. There are many in the country. The best known courses are full time, fast-paced and offered by  universities here. Since I work and generally have other things to do, I knew that a comprehensive course would have been unfeasible for me.
My class all together

The good thing is that the Korean government provides funding for free Korean classes for foreigners. I was able to sign up for one of these in my area.

The specific course has many different levels, from absolute beginner to test prep-level. The first course was fun, but it wasn't challenging because I was placed with beginners who were unable to read or introduce themselves in Korean. I asked to move and they moved me to a slightly higher level. The classes have been good ever since, and our teachers are pretty friendly.

The book they gave us is pretty informative and it cost less than $20. The pace isn't too fast and the atmosphere is relaxed. My classmates are also pretty fun to talk to. So, I'll be happy for the time being.

I don't have a specific goal on my language-leaning journey, but rather to just keep putting in effort to improve and hope I like where I'll end up eventually. In the meantime, I'll still do my best to keep up with my Spanish and will continue to practice Portuguese when I have time.

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