I Am Back Home!~

I see that I usually don’t publish more than once each month, which is kind of sad because I really want to post at least 5 times each month. Anyways, I finally returned home after five months in Korea and I’m feeling quite a jet-lag. Despite being disappointed to have remained in the 2nd level of Korean at Ewha, by the end of the semester I still saw a lot of improvement in speaking and writing (the 2 skills that are always hard to develop for self-learners). I also got a new obsession…with learning hanja, I don’t know why or how but I got really interested in it so I bought two books to learn hanja.

My new challenge is seeing how do I go back to study by myself and balance that new study schedule with studying for the GRE and starting my Gilman Scholarship follow-up project. I also have 18 credits for the fall semester (;A;) (hopefully that will go down by 3-6 credits…stress hopefully) so I need to come up with a study schedule for the semester. It seems that studying Korean will be quite limited till the end of the year so my goal is to be able to continually study everyday for at least half an hour.

Anyways, during my stay in Korea I bought a lot of books so I think I’m going to post a picture of them here. I also hope to make a review for both the Ewha Korean textbook and Integrated Korean Beginning 1. Well, that’s it for now.

Retrieving the Lost Motivation for Learning Korean

Well, it sure has been a long time since I last wrote something here. I’ve been trying to write but the readjustment period took me a while. I think it also had to do with the fact that I didn’t do as well as I wanted in the Korean placement test *sigh*. I got placed in the second level (이금) which was highly disappointing for me because I had been studying like there was no tomorrow. Likewise, when I saw what we were going to learn, I got doubly disappointed. I knew most of it already and I’ve always been the kind of student who thrives  in a challenging setting rather than being comfortable one. I think that was the moment when learning Korean became a chore and a very tedious one at that. I didn’t want to study anymore so I only did the things that were required and even considered dropping out of it. The experience was the complete opposite of last summer, where I had to struggle and had to study extra time in order to catch up with classmates (and I did in less time that I had dared to hope). I believe that was my most rewarding experience.

In short, I’ve been moping around for almost two months. I realized yesterday that I was wasting a golden opportunity. Sincerely speaking, I lost the sight of my ultimate goal and forgot the reason that made me start learning Korean in the first place. I think that sometimes we lose sight of what we wish to accomplish and that’s exactly when we lose our motivation towards it. Also, I realized that I’ve been focusing on the negative aspects (I’m not learning anything, blah blah blah) instead of make the most it by telling myself that it was good that I was reinforcing what I knew and got so much practice that I’m used to using them orally without problems. Likewise, I reminded myself of how beautiful the language is. Somehow, I not only managed to recover my motivation but also gain a new perspective on it. I think it made me even more determined to keep learning it.

Well, I think I needed to get this out of my system so I feel more contented now LOL. I will always try to concentrate on the accomplishments rather than the hindrances. I’m also hoping that I can post soon (which will be either sometime this week or next one) since I finish my midterms on Monday afternoon. I think it will be more about Korean language itself than my experiences so far in Seoul.

The sometimes Hellish Paradise

I’ve been wanting since I came to Korea to write a few posts about both Korea and Korean but I always find myself having no time to do it because of all of the paperwork I’ve had to do. There’s the fact that I’m going out a lot more than back home too and classes started almost two weeks ago and somehow I have lot of workload despite having somewhat easy classes and (tests and quizzes in some). However, I want to write about my experiences so far so maybe I’ll just do it retroactively and mainly focus on Korean language related posts.

I’m taking the Korean language class at Ewha as well and it’s kind of…tedious. Sometimes I hate it and always feel tired so I don’t feel like mustering the enthusiasm I had before about it. I hope it’s some kind of phase while I adjust because it is the main reason I came to Korea instead of going to England. Other than that, I really like my other classes but especially my Drama class (lol).

As it might have been inferred, I’m a K-pop fan so I’ve gone to any kind of event or concert. So far, I’ve gone to the 2NE1, INFINITE and B.A.P ones. I will talk about them since I had very good seats but I will concentrate more on the stage designs, how much did they interact with the fans and the fans behavior (I have a lot to say about that). I think it will kind of comparative because I’ve gone to K-pop concerts back in the USA. I’m also going to YG’s Winner White Day Handshake Event (fan-girls) so I’m definitely going to write about that and how it works!

Anyways, I won’t keep writing or else I will not finish reading the novel for my 19th Century Literature class. I hope I get to write something around Saturday or early Sunday.

Finally Here…

Well, to be more specific, was finally here in Korea since 4 days ago. These few days have passed in a blur and I really haven’t gone out. I arrived on Thursday late evening so I only went to eat and walk my friend back to the subway station. I went to Gangnam and Ewha and actually arrived back to where I’m staying really late. However, on Saturday I just ventured out to Ewha and came back and just watched Korean dramas on TV…and today well, I woke up around 4:30am KST and I have yet to decide what will I do today. I originally wanted to explore around but the cold is too much for me specially because of the wind LOL.

I’m making a separate post for each day at least of what was important of it.

On my way

Well, I’m currently waiting for my flight from San Francisco, CA to Seoul but it’s still 10 hours away. I’m sleepy and cold so I can’t muster up the excitement. I’m one of those few people inside the airport and most of them are sleeping on different places. I want to sleep too but I’m waiting for my phone to charge and my laptop.

So far both of my row neighbors were very nice and even helped with my luggage….and I just had a deja-vu about this, including me writing in this almost empty place and there’s more but I don’t want to jinx it so I’m not telling LOL. Once I arrive at Incheon Airport, I may probably write another post with pictures of the airport (but that’s maybe).

D-3: Time issues

I’ve become addicted to blogging (not that it really takes much for me to become addicted LOL) about learning Korean but I’m leaving really soon so I barely have time to actually check the blog and see what’s new. I have around 6 to 10 posts outlines (as soon as I see something while studying I mark it out) waiting for me to fully write them out plus that weekly themed vocabulary lists that I’ve been trying to continue (I kind of ran out of ideas at first but now it’s kinda overflowing). Sadly, it takes at least a few hours for me to write and a day to review it before posting.

I’ve also been studying for 4 hours in as Spartan manner in order to get placed -at least- in the Korean 3rd level (problems with university credits if I don’t) and in case I don’t, it means that either I take an extra class or ask to be placed in the 1st level (which is pretty much re-learning everything, too easy and therefore boring). I’ve been stressing out a bit because of that, while I wouldn’t have problems with the written part I think I will have difficulties with the oral part as I don’t get much practice of that in the Korean class I take on Saturdays.

Anyway, the last few days have been so hectic by making sure I have all vaccines, visiting the family, cleaning my room, making sure that I’m not forgetting something. I also had to buy new shoes because one of the pairs I was going to take with me…are on the verge of dying so yeah. I’ve been running around trying to find typical candies and stuff that I had promised my friends to bring with me but I haven’t been able to find them in large quantities but I’m not giving up yet (I can be stubborn when I want to XD).

I hope that once everything normalizes and I get more free time I can be able to post more frequently.

So…Ewha Dorm placement is out…and advise to upcoming exchange students

I just saw the email this morning….well to be honest…I had a minor freak-out when I checked from where my roommate was from LOL (I won’t disclose which country but our cultures are diametrically different). The roommate I had last summer in Korea is from the same country so I’m already wary. However, I do know I can’t form stereotypes or develop prejudices over one person even if my brain has already developed a template of it. I take pride on being an intercultural competent person so I’m currently trying to see it on the bright side and trying to see whether we might share common cultural traits (which all cultures all do). So in general, I’m cautiously optimistic about my roommate.

Advise to all upcoming (?), prospective exchange students (myself included) who will be sharing rooms:

1. Don’t assume anything (don’t be the ethnocentric douche)

2. Be sure to talk everything out and be direct (I don’t mean rude).

3. If you’re roommates: talk about your expectations and basic routine (after all, you’re stuck together so the trick is to live as harmoniously as possible).

4. Try to find things you might have in common (like same music taste or are learning the same language).

5.  When you first meet your roommate, be sure to invite him/her to dinner or lunch or whatever or accept the invitation. This is usually the ice-breaker and I recommend that even if you ate or did whatever already, don’t decline it (if you do, I can tell you the rest of the stay together will be uncomfortable). It will also help both of you get acquainted.

To those who belong to individualistic cultures:

1. Always take into account your roommate and don’t just do things on your own (regarding the dorm).

2.  There is such thing as Common Courtesy (there are things you shouldn’t just do, no matter how convenient they are for you as you’re not living alone).

To those who belong to collective cultures:

1. Always talk about what you expect and what things really bother you because if you don’t he/she will assume everything is okay. (it’ll be a smoother ride if you do).

2. Don’t assume your roommate knows there is such a thing as Common Courtesy so be sure to talk it out.

3. Do not concede on stuff that makes you upset for the sake of peace with your roommate. There are thing they have to let pass too and it can’t just be you. Believe me when I say that if you don’t it will do harm to both of you.

The list is not really comprehensive but it’s the most basic thing you should know about.