Since late last May I have been studying through the Korean Immigration and Integration Program. After successfully completing Level 3 I moved up to Level 4 in September. I really loved our new teacher’s teaching style and her bluntness. She was very adamant that everything we do should be in Korean. She specifically pointed out that if you are an English teacher you will have the hardest time to speak Korean due to being in a non-Korean speaking environment most of the day.
So she made some suggestions:
- put your cellphone in Korean
- watch the news in Korean
- read the news in Korean
- watch Korean tv shows and movies
- learn vocabulary in Korean
A lot of these suggestions I can do though it is more of a nuisance than I like. My phone is in Korean and I can use it just fine though sometimes I have to double check what something means so I don’t hit the wrong option. I hate reading news articles, but at least if I read the headlines I will know the major stories. As for TV shows and movies, I’m lazy. I’m an avid Korean drama watcher and I could easily drop the English subtitles. Yet, I watch it while I am relaxing so I don’t want to have to overthink it. And for looking up Korean words in Korean, shoot me in the head. I’ve tried it and sometimes I get it. But mostly, I still look everything up in English.
Level 4 in the beginning was hard for me as even though I knew half the class from level 3 no one was particularly friendly with me. The classes can be quite cliquey based on nationality. However, about half way through the semester the other students started to warm up to me more. We would share snacks and they would make small conversation. I even became friends with a really nice Uzbek Korean. I really love the diversity in our class and we did a lot of fun things together like going to an event and having a potluck lunch party. Which had beer and lots of food from various countries!
The hardest part this time around was getting myself motivated to study. I really wanted to get an 80 this time in the class to prove to myself that I could do it. However, I wasn’t in the right mindset most of the time so it was really hard for me to stay focused during the 1o hour classes. Luckily, I managed to get a 77. I’m not happy with the grade, but I know I did a lot better than many of my classmates.
Right now our program is on winter break so I am not ready to dive back in to studying. But slowly I’ve been reading ahead and splitting the division of vocabulary with another friend I know who happens to be the same level at a different location. Level 5 will be a fun and interesting class. Its only 50 hours long and covers 50 4 page chapters about Korean society and history. Its a lot to absorb in 5 classes. I hope I have a good teacher as that can really make or break the class. Classes are starting sometime in February and I can’t wait to see all of my classmates! I also can’t wait to pick up my certificate that shows I completed the language program!