one girl's journey across kpop paradise

Tag Archives: Korean Language

여러분 나는 지금 한국어 열심히 공부하고 있는지 알죠? 맨날 맨날 한국어 공부하는 게 노력해 본데 가끔씩 너무 피곤하거나 싫어서 안 해요. 그게 안 좋잖아, 근데 난 이미 진짜 열심히 공부하고 있어요. 이제 그만 영어로 쓸게요!

Woot, that was hard! As for a translation of my previous Korean (I don’t think all of it was grammatically correct, but anyway):

Everyone, you know how hard I’m studying Korean now, right? Everyday, I try to study Korean but sometimes I’m too tired or I don’t want to, so I don’t. This isn’t good, but I’m already working really hard. Now I’m going to write in English!

Haha wow that was really sad Korean-writing skills. I can’t really come up with anything better for now, but I’m going to write more Korean in my entries, so I can practice. If you spot the grammar mistakes, feel free to correct me (because otherwise I probably would never know!). I’m going to come up with a new topic every time I have a writing exercise in Korean now…perhaps you can give me some suggestions for topics!

Until next time :) Happy studying Korean!

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…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!


Hey guys! On a cheerier note, I would like to share with you my current Korean-learning methods and how you can learn Korean, the best way possible.

Lately my Korean friends have been telling me that my Korean has improved – one friend who didn’t know I was learning Korean even told me she didn’t know I spoke Korean so well! Honestly, I think they’re just flattering me because they’re nice, but it doesn’t hurt to have Koreans recognize my continuous efforts to learn their (rather difficult) language.

A couple of weeks ago, I met this guy at Language Cast who has a Master’s Degree in English Language Learning or something along those lines. He said that the best way for a beginner to learn a new language is first by memorizing 800 (I think I remembered that number correctly) of the language’s most frequently used words. He calls it a ‘frequency corpus’ but when I looked online for it, I couldn’t find a good list. He says that after you memorize these words, you should fully immerse yourself in the language – listening and watching Korean TV shows would be the easiest way. And he says to turn the subs (even Korean) off.

So I was interested in this idea, and I tried it, but in the end, the method is not for me. I feel like I’m talking about modifying current diet methods or something. But it’s actually kind of similar, honestly. Both with weight and language acquisition, if you don’t keep it up, you will lose it (or in the case of weight, gain it back). So for me, I have developed the following method.

  1. Everyday, or as often as I can, look up words in the English Naver dictionary. This dictionary has become like my bible. It’s really wonderful, and gives every usage of a word, and usages of different words with similar meaning. The only downside is that it doesn’t pronounce the Korean sentences, just the English, because I think it’s a dictionary created for Koreans to learn English.
  2. I watch Korean dramas all the time. I make sure it’s a drama or TV show that interests me, and I have English subtitles. Many people say having English subs won’t help you learn, but for me, it’s the opposite. I’ve learned so much Korean by watching dramas with English subs. I don’t want to just fumble in the dark for the meaning of a sentence – I want to know it, so that when I hear it again, I’ll know it.
  3. Try to speak in Korean as much as possible with Koreans and with friends learning Korean. Even if I don’t know the correct/proper way to say something, I want to try saying it. Practice makes perfect, after all.
  4. I keep a Korean verbs and a Korean expressions notebook, for jotting down every new verb and expression I learn. I also write down examples and sentences next to every new verb/expression, and the act of simply writing down what I learn is helpful for memory consolidation. Plus, I really like having a reference book to look at when I’m fumbling for words.
So that’s it! My four simple steps to better Korean everyday! Trust me, I’ve tried a lot of different books, websites, and methods, but these four things are what I’ve found to be the most effective. Sure, I will keep going to Korean class, but I think this is by far more effective..and fun. I’m sincerely really excited to learn Korean this way, and I’m often bored to tears in Korean class, since the class is either too advanced or too simple for me. This way is the best, for I can always be at my own level.
Have your own way of learning Korean? Please share in the comments below!

It’s official: I just never get any sleep here in Korea. And you know what? I’m used to that fact. I’m just going to be constantly tired, and that’s okay with me, because I’m going to be leaving in just over a month. And there’s still too much left to do.

Lately I’ve taken a sort-of part-time writing job for this Korean pop culture website, and though I don’t have the job yet, I have to say I really enjoy writing again :) Writing in this blog is a really nice release and I can just write whatever the hell I want on it, but it’s nice to see my (good) writing published once again. I realized how much I love writing – it is still one of my greatest passions – and I think I will continue to pursue it, as I pursue my other passions.

I just rediscovered my love for singer Kim Bo Kyung. The girl can fucking sing. Unlike the kpop stars these days who can skate by just by staying on tune, Kim Bo Kyung has a mighty good voice. I’ve been following her for almost a year now, ever since her Haru Haru/Brand New Day days (her first mini album). She showcased her fantastic belting voice then, and in City Hunter’s OST, her song Suddenly was just amazing. I had it on repeat for god knows how long. And I’m sad to say that I just discovered her latest mini album, called Growing. The title song, 아파 (It Hurts), is fucking brilliant. Sorry for cursing so much in this post, but I’m kind of like head over heels in love with this girl’s voice. It’s the voice I’ve always, always envied growing up. I wanted to be a singer for the longest time, and if I had to choose, I would take Kim Bo Kyung’s voice over anyone else’s…except maybe Kelly Clarkson. Bo Kyung really admires Kelly Clarkson and people have dubbed her the Korean Kelly Clarkson. Here, listen to her latest song and you dare tell me her voice isn’t amazing!

I just found Kim Bo Kyung’s fansite. On it, it lists her upcoming schedule and there’s a concert on Monday and you can bet on your house, your horse, and your father’s entire family that I will try my best to go see her perform. Otherwise, I will just go see her perform at Music Bank next Friday. Either way, I’m gonna go see this girl live before I leave Korea. She has been such a long-time inspiration of mine for me not to see her perform.

Anyway, fangirling over Kim Bo Kyung aside, I just remembered that City Hunter has the most beautiful cinematography. And oh wait, what was a big part of that? The shooting locations. Seoul is so beautiful – there are so many parts of it I still haven’t discovered that I need to explore. One of them is the Seoul Color Park (서울색공원). I found this great thread for pictures. Gorgeous, right? Gonna put it on my bucket list.

There’s that place that I saw in City Hunter that I’ve been just dying to go to….and I just can’t find the name of it. If you watch this video, it’s the place that Lee Minho and Park Min-young go at the beginning of the cut…they’re standing on this bridge overlooking a high-speed bypass. It’s beautiful…and I need to find where it is, so I can go, if even for several minutes.

On the other hand, I received my first role here in Korea. It’s for a student film, and I’ll be speaking in English (thank goodness!). I think I’ve developed quite a thick skin for auditioning and rejection over the years, so I’m not as excited as I would have been years ago, but I’m still very excited to work on this project. I’ll update you guys on it as I have more information, and I might even post the final product on here :)

As for my Korean, I am improving steadily day by day. I can actually speak in broken sentences and convey basic ideas and feelings now! Even though my Korean is still very broken and my vocabulary is very much limited, I feel like I’ve made great progress and this success is helping me feel like I can keep working hard toward mastering the language. I can officially check of the ‘Have a conversation only in Korean’ as of today! I had two Korean conversations today :) 好好学习,天天向上。Chinese proverb, hollaback at ‘cha.


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 ~