…and not at all too happy about that fact. But I knew that as much as I wanted to stay in Korea forever, I had to come back to the States to finish up my Bachelor’s Degree…and to improve my Korean skills big time.
See, I’ve pretty much decided that I’m going to move back to Korea after college, and in order to do that, I need to master the language. It sounds really daunting, and often I’m asking myself why I’m even doing this. I’m fluent two of the most commonly used languages in the world (English and Mandarin), and Korean is rarely used anywhere, except in Korea. But Korea has captured my heart and soul, and I know I would be really doing myself a disservice if I just pushed aside that aching urge to become fluent in Korean, move to Korea and marry a cute Korean guy.
To be honest, I would really love it right now if I just became Korean and didn’t have to go through the painstaking process of learning a totally new language from the ground-up, at my age (I’m 20! =___=). It may not seem old, but at this point, learning any new language requires a very serious amount of dedication, time commitment, and perseverance. I’m not like those other k-pop fangirls who say they’re “learning” Korean and are stuck at oppa and jjincha – I’m committing basically all my free time to it. I’m sorry if I’m sounding snobby right now, but this language-learning endeavor has become the #1 in my life. And as slow as I feel that my progress is, I know I’m improved so much since 5 months ago. I can even understand most of Talk to Me In Korean‘s Iyagi series (before the 40s)!
Right now I am using Seoul National University’s Level Two book, and it is definitely the best textbook I have used thus far. Korea University’s Korean textbooks are complete rubbish, and if you ever decide to study abroad in Korea to learn Korean, I highly recommend you go to Yonsei, Seoul, or Sogang instead. Because just learning from a textbook gets boring really quickly, I am reinforcing what I’m learning (grammar, vocab) by watching variety shows (better than dramas, because variety shows often have Korean subtitles or related commentary) and as always, listening to k-pop.
My love affair with everything Korea has not come to an end simply because I’m back in the States. I will continue to improve my Korean skills and I hope to make Korean friends here ^^ Until next time!
So I just wrote a post yesterday about the not-so-great things that happened so far, but today I really hit an all-time low. The past couple of weeks have been tough, but they hit me all at once, so I couldn’t really respond. But today, I just cracked. Like, want to sit at home, curl up into a ball, and cry.
Not knowing Korean is not only inconvenient, but really frustrating. I can’t communicate with anyone, and the second I speak English, they know I’m foreign. I hate the feeling of being foreign. It makes me feel really upset about myself. And the blank look I give Korean people when I can’t understand what they’re saying is really getting old. I’m sick of having to resort to that. Feeling embarrassed and sad about my current predicament is really getting old. I’ve been trying to learn Korean, but no matter how hard I try, it feels like I’ll never get fluent, or even good enough.
My KUBA buddy/group (the organization that helps study abroad students adjust to life at KU/Korea) never contacts me. There are 9 or 10 groups, and my fellow study abroad students from other groups always tell me how their buddy wants to hang out and shop with them and their buddy calls/texts them daily about how their day went and that their groups has weekly events…and what does my buddy/group do? Absolutely nothing. I’m really, really upset about this. Added to the stressful course registration situation and the not knowing any Korean and being a foreigner, this really tops the cake.
I’m really worried that I’ll resort to being anti-social like I tend to get when I’m feeling stressed or unhappy about my situation. I don’t know what to do. I hope this feeling will go away or I’m really going to start having problems. Sigh…
So I had to make a post about all the bad things here. It’s Tuesday and it’s only been two days since classes started, but it’s been a nightmare trying to get everything sorted.
KU has only been accommodating exchange students for six years, versus Yonsei University, which has been accommodating foreign students for over 25 years. So KU’s Center for Global Studies department (the one that helps us get everything we need to get settled here) is not too organized or experienced. Thus, as study abroad students, we’ve not received the best and most up-to-date information. In addition, KU accepted about 1000 exchange students this year and they’ve only had 500 in previous years, so I think they were really unprepared to accommodate so many foreign students this year. This resulted in many classes being really full.
I haven’t attended any of my courses that are taught in English at KU yet, so I’m going to just comment on the Korean Language courses. I decided to sign up for Korean Language for Beginners I and Basic Speaking for Korean Language. In both classes we had to take a placement test to place us among the other students in this class. The Korean Language for Beginners I had over 150 students registered, so the teacher decided to split the class into 5 or 6 groups, or “streams,” depending on their Korean level. I ended up getting an interview and getting into the “most advanced stream” but she said it’d be a bit difficult for me. That’s okay – I’m planning on working really hard to improve my Korean. As for the Basic Speaking class, there was a very simply oral quiz that placed us either in 1) no knowledge of Korean language or 2) very little knowledge of Korean language, which was a lot less stressful.
If you know consonants and how to make basic sentences only, you should take the beginning Korean classes at KU. The Beginning II class actually requires you to know a bit more Korean – they don’t speak English in class at all, so be prepared if you are trying to take anything higher than the very basic Korean Language courses – they will make you take a placement test.
The only Korean I know is the basic stuff I learned from TalktomeinKorean.com – a great resource, by the way. Very easy to understand and really helpful information. However, I’ve never taken an actual Korean language course at school or anywhere – I’m totally self-taught up until now, so my Korean is very, very basic. I can say simple sentences like my age, my ethnicity, what country I come from, and basic sentences in present, past, and future tense.
I’m taking two Media classes at KU – Popular Culture and Understanding Digital Society. I have yet to take them, so I will update with reviews of these two classes. In the meanwhile, I’m living off of $2 meals at the school cafeteria – it’s pretty cheap (not delicious) and studying Korean in my spare time. There are a bunch of parties at clubs that sound interesting, but all of them have cover fees (from 10,000-30,000 Won – waaaay too much), so I’m not even going to bother.
Gonna go sleep now ~