So, I came to Korea for a reason. Well, several reasons. The things I wanted to do here were to learn Korean (to be semi-fluent at least), to eat a lot of Korean food, to visit worthwhile new places, to meet a lot of Koreans/make Korean friends, and most of all, to try to jumpstart my acting career here in Korea.
And I feel like I’ve not made a lot of progress on the goal list front. While I have eaten a bunch of Korean food, I haven’t tried a whole wide array of different foods. And while I’ve visited several places, I still feel like I’ve so many more places to go to. And these both may be a good thing, for it means I always have things to do here in Seoul.
But the things I’m feeling frustrated about are 1) not improving my Korean as quickly as I would like, 2) not meeting a lot of Koreans/making Korean friends, and 3) the fact that it’s almost impossible to act here.
This goes back to the title of this entry, Productivity vs. Recreation, because there are always different things I could be doing. I feel like I’m doing a lot to practice and improve my Korean, but in reality, I’m probably not doing nearly enough because I’m barely improving. If I want to act in Korea, I better be able to speak Korean like a native, and I am so, so far from that. I have the dilemma of do I want to stay in and study Korean or do I want to go out and try to meet Korean friends, who may or may not help me improve my Korean? It’s a big dilemma.
A friend recently told me that despite the fact that he hates working out, he still does it regularly and seriously because his dreams depend on the requirement that he’s fit and fast (he wants to be a professional basketball player). Which had me thinking…why am I not working out all the time? Actresses have to be outwardly beautiful – that’s like basically a requirement – so why am I doing almost nothing towards that end? The realization made me feel, at once, both impressed at my friend’s dedication and ashamed of my own failures and weaknesses. I now must add working out (and eating better) to my productivity to-do list.
Should I spend my time working out, learning Korean, or meeting/hanging out with Koreans? They all help me go towards my goal, but what is my best bet? There needs to be something I should focus on. And then there’s always the nagging desire to go out to eat, to explore new parts of Seoul with friends, and to go shopping (I love Korean fashion so, so much).
I am basically ranting at this point – this post probably has no interest to the vast majority of my readers, so I wanted to post something that I think will be of interest. My friends and I recently went to an amazing ddukbokki place in Ddukbokki Town called “Mabokrim Ddukbokki.” It was by far the best ddukbokki I’ve ever had in my life, and the best meal I’ve eaten here in Korea.
Directions: You get off at Sindang on Line 6 at exit 8. You turn left and keep walking until you see this:
It’s self-serve when you sit down and eat.
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 ~