Posted in books, Kpop, Personal, Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

My London Trip

Now that I’m back from London, I believe it’s time for me to share the highlights of my trip! We (my sister and I) left for London on Thursday and it was the first time flying for both of us. The trip was chaotic from the very beginning as one of the trains I had to take, got cancelled last minute. Luckily there was another train leaving shortly after that I could take and in the end I made it to the airport in time. After getting on the plane, things got really chaotic! It turns out that I get airsick (I haven’t had trouble with any types of motion sickness in almost 10 years, so none of us had seen it coming) and vomiting is actually one of my biggest fears. I’m not sure why but I have always felt this way and I would do pretty much anything to avoid vomiting. In the end I made it through both of my flights without vomiting but the trip and the fear alone was enough to trigger my anxiety attacks. I have only suffered from anxiety a few times before so this was yet another surprise to me. I ended up having 4 attacks on the trip which was super exhausting and I ended up only taking TOPIK 1 as a result.
Even though my trip had quite a few bad surprises, I actually had a really good time and I would gladly do it over again! I had so much fun with my sister and I got to practice a lot of Korean!

On Friday we took the long trip out to New Malden. New Malden has a big Korean community and the streets are filled with Korean restaurants, convenience stores, Korean hair dressers, bigger Korean markets etc. My sister and I went there to shop and eat dinner but in the end we got there pretty early and decided to go shopping and then eat lunch instead. It felt so strange and exciting for me to walk along the streets and be able to listen to small pieces of Korean conversations while reading Korean signs and looking at Korean products everywhere! It is probably the closest I’ll get to Korea, until next year! I ended up buying a ton of snacks, some beauty products, a kpop cd, and a ton of other things. We then chose a random restaurant where we sat down to enjoy a big meal and plan the next day’s activities. We ended up in a restaurant called 징기스칸 and we had a great time there! The restaurant had a great 분위기 and the food was delicious. We were the only non-Koreans there but we could easily chat with the staff and they even cheered on my sister when she was struggling with her chopsticks! It was really just a great experience and I would definitely go there again if I could!

genkis
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On Saturday we headed towards London Centrum and I took TOPIK 1. It was a great experience despite of my anxiety, but I will have a separate post on my TOPIK experience soon, so I won’t really talk about it now. After getting lost a few times in the giant crowd of people, we finally found our way to Foyles. My sister and I both love books and I actually just wanted buy a new crime novel to read later, but we obviously had to stop by the language area – How could we not? Much to my surprise, they actually had quite a few books in Korean (mostly famous books translated to Korean) and there was no way I could leave without bringing one of them home with me! I read a few lines on the back of each book and ended up with two finalists. I couldn’t choose so I closed my eyes and let my sister switch them around a few times. I ended up choosing the one in her right hand but because my sister is simply that awesome, she actually bought the other one for me! 고마워 언니~

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We spent some more time in that area but decided that we actually had liked New Malden more, and therefore we went back to our little Korean playground. We finished up our shopping and then ate dinner at a restaurant called 소라. This place was even better than 징기스칸 and we really enjoyed the food and small talk! I wished I had a better camera at that point as my phone camera truly sucks, but nevertheless, we had the times of our lives! Sister time and Korean food – does it get much better?

My trip back home where a lot easier to handle. I got some motion sickness tablets so I only had to worry about the anxiety itself and I’m usually pretty good at dealing with it when it happens.

I have definitely learned a lot about myself on this trip, and now I know what to expect and how to handle it, when we go to Korea next year! Despite a few uncomfortable moments I would do it all over again, anytime!

Here’s some of the random things I brought back home with me!

 

Posted in Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

Study vacation?

Yesterday I had my final exam at my current school and because of some ridiculous rules, my classmates and I have to wait 4 weeks before we can start on the next part of our program. This also means that I will not have an income in February and in March I will only get half my usual pay, which quite honestly is bothering me more than it probably should.
Anyhow, there’s also a lot of good things about this forced vacation of mine and I’m sure you can already tell where I’m going with this!

6 months ago I decided that I wanted to take TOPIK 1 in London this coming April, but lately I have been thinking about taking TOPIK 2 instead. I haven’t completely decided yet but I think I’ll do it. I’m positive that I can pass TOPIK 1, but if I were to take TOPIK 2 at this very moment, I would probably fail it, and I would hate failing my first attempt at a TOPIK test.. On the other hand, it’s more fun when you’re really challenging yourself and I know I would feel more motivated in my studies if I’m reaching for something that I might fail. Or maybe I just enjoy torturing myself.. I’m not sure. But that’s where these 4 weeks might come in handy!
I never got around to trying that TOPIK 2 mock test, but I’ll be doing that later today, when I’m alone. Hopefully my result won’t be too tragic and I’ll have a more clear idea of what I can and what I cannot do. After that, I will be able to use these 4 weeks to really immerse myself in Korean. Since the registration is from February 15th to February 24th, I’ll be able Study for these 4 weeks  and then decide if I want to go for TOPIK 2 or not. It really couldn’t be timed better.
Also let’s not forget about the italki challenge! Starting from Monday, I’ll be having 1 session every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and then 2 sessions every Friday. This means that I will be able to really immerse myself in Korean.
I’ll read articles, my webtoons, my books, my Korean TOPIK preparation books, as well as my usual text from Korean friends. I’ll basically be reading all sorts of texts.
The same goes for writing. I’ll be texting with different people in Korean, I’ll be writing when I complete the different assignments in my books, and I’ll be writing a short note in my new notebook every time I finish a chapter of 작은 아씨들 to make sure that I have understood everything properly as well as to practice my writing skills.
For listening I’ll be listening to music as usual, watch different dramas and movies, stream whatever is on MBC (It’s currently news in case you were wondering ㅎㅎ), have conversations with my italki teacher and exchange voice messages with a few of my closest friends. These things will also give me many opportunities to speak as well.

You can accomplish a lot in 4 weeks – especially when you have so many great opportunities at the same time! Just by writing this post, I have more or less convinced myself to go for TOPIK 2, haha! Ah I’m so excited!

Posted in Personal, Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

Have I become lazy?

‘Have I become lazy?’ is a thought that has been appearing on and of throughout the last month or so. Lately I have found it quite difficult to remember all the things I go through in my books and especially in my grammar book. The thing is, my overall Korean skills are definitely improving in a decent speed, but when I compare my progress from ‘Korean Grammar in use – Beginner’ with the progress from ‘Korean Grammar in use – Intermediate’, it just isn’t working as well as before. I don’t find the jump between Beginner and Intermediate too big, so it’s not that Intermediate just happened to be a lot more difficult. These thoughts have been joggling around in my head for a while, and a few days ago, I started to realize that I have simply gotten lazy.

I’m not sure when it really hit me, but there’s definitely no doubt that I have found the cause of my change. I have been thinking about it a lot these past few days while preparing for my IT exam (Korean will always be more interesting to me ㅎㅎ) and I have come up with quite a few examples, so now I’ll share the most important with you all.

When it comes to my grammar books, I’ll try to illustrate the differences like this:

BEGINNER:
– I used to look up every word that I didn’t know, with no exceptions.
– When there was something I didn’t understand I would immediately look it up somewhere else or ask someone to help me.
– When I made the assignments after each chapter and I got something wrong, I would go back and reread it until figuring out what part I had misunderstood. If I didn’t know what to answer while making the assignment I would also reread it and then return to the assignments.
– When reading I would focus mainly on the Korean parts and pay full attention.

INTERMEDIATE:
– I only look something up if I’m lost. If I understand a sentence or situation through pictures or context, then I’ll move on without looking up the unknown words.
– When there’s something I don’t understand I move on and tell myself that I will look it up somewhere else later, that I’ll understand it when I make the assignments in the end or that I will ask someone at some other time (spoiler alert: It almost never happens).
– When making the assignments in the end of the chapter and I get something wrong, I’ll just correct it and move on. If I don’t know the answer to a question I’ll just guess without rereading (This part is something I started on deliberately. I’m using it as a way to test how well I can remember everything and obviously it isn’t working).
– When reading I don’t focus properly. I just sort of force myself through the Korean part and then rely mainly on the English parts.

Do you see what I mean? These things are the most obvious ones but there’s many small things that has changed as well.

However I also want to point out that becoming lazy isn’t always a bad thing.
Another lazy point of mine is when I’m reading. I used to be very strict when it came to my notes and I would always write ALL unknown words down like this:
Word – Wordtype
English meaning
Korean sample sentence

It worked fine but it was extremely time consuming and also quite demotivating when I could easily see how many words I had to write down.
When I started reading 어린 왕자 I stopped doing it like this and instead just looked  up the words and moved on. If I couldn’t  remember the words the next time I came across them, then I would simply look it up again.
This seems to be working so much better than the other method! Having to spell the word over and over again to look it up, has made it stick to my brain so much easier, plus I go through the books a lot faster and thereby feel more motivated to continue. There’s no way I’m going back to the other method – lazy or not.

So.. What am I going to do about my laziness? Well first of all, I am going back to looking everything up immediately if it’s possible. I’m going to focus on the Korean parts instead of the English ones and I have started working with some of my other books that only has Korean explanations. They are still way over my level, but I’m working my way through them and I’m already finding it easier to focus fully on Korean. Lastly I’m going to stop guessing the answers when I don’t know and instead keep looking up the grammar points (the Intermediate book’s assignments are designed in the TOPIK format and it often uses grammar from different chapters and not just the one you are currently reading, so you get to practice different parts of the book) – basically just as I do with unknown words. I have been doing this for 3 days and I already feel like I’m improving, so if this feeling continues, then I’ll work though my PASS NEW TOPIK books, in the same way!

Wow this really turned in to a much longer post than expected. ㅎㅎ

Before ending my post I also want to give an update on the Italki Language Challenge, as I know some people have been waiting for this, so here’s my final decision:
I’ll be aiming for the 30 hour goal! Woohooo, I’m feeling pumped already! I’ll discuss it further with my teacher tomorrow to see if she has time enough for me and her other students, and if not then I’ll start looking in to other teachers as well. Though to be honest I prefer to just continue with her, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed. ^^

I’ll finish of my blog post with one of my favorite ‘background-music-for-studying-Korean/-relaxing’ songs (Yes, that’s totally a thing… I think..)

Posted in Personal, Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

Italki Language Challenge – January 2016

It’s finally here! As some of you guys already know, I have been wanting to try joining an Italki Language Challenge ever since July and I almost signed up for the one in October, but in the end I had to be realistic and accept the fact that I simply didn’t have the time. However I also made myself the promise that I would join the next one for sure, so when I saw that the countdown for the next challenge had started, I immediately signed up before I could change my mind.

I believe they have changed a few things since the last challenge, but since It’s my first time to join then I’m not really sure. You can go read about it here 🙂

I’m not really sure what goal I want to reach. Obviously the 30 hour one would be awesome but 30 hours is a lot of time and money. On the other hand I will be have 4 weeks forced vacation from January 15th (That’s a looong story) and the challenge is from January 16th to February 29th, so it matches perfectly! I mean come on, who knows when I’ll be able to put that much time aside for a challenge? Plus I’ll be taking TOPIK  1 (and maybe 2) in April – That would be an amazing thing to add to the list of preparation plans, right? 아.. 어떡하지… I think I’ll talk to my italki teacher on Monday and see what she thinks!

I’m feeling really excited already, haha! It’ll be fun! I’m positive.

Anybody else joining this time?

Posted in books, Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

Last goal of 2015

Today is the last day of 2015 and since I’m just lying here on my couch with the flu (Yep that’s right. A cold on Christmas eve and the flu on New Years eve.. Sigh..), I have more than enough time to think about what this year has meant to me. I have achieved many things this year and to be honest I feel like my Korean progress is the most important achievement. I started taking my studies seriously in January which means that it is almost a year ago now. It’s amazing how time flies. Let’s take a look at the things I love the most from this year!

  • During this year I have bought a ton of books and enjoyed all of them.
  • I have made some amazing friends through language exchange.
  • I have spoken in Korean with native speakers though skype as well as face to face, for the very first time.
  • I decided to start my ‘Korea-account’ so that 언니 and I can go to Korea in 2017.
  • I decided that I wanted to pass TOPIK.
  • I took my first TOPIK Mock test.
  • I started my Blog.
  • I have completed all of my Korean goals for this year except for one.
  • I have met many lovely fellow Korean students.
  • I started watching movies and dramas without subtitles.
  • I read my first Korean news articles/blogs (including those that aren’t made for study purposes).
  • I read my first book in Korean.

While remembering all these things I’m feeling proud and accomplished – Who would have known that all of this would happen when this year started? To finish it of in the best way possible, I’m going to finish my very last goal of 2015, which is to finish reading 크리스마스 캐럴 before midnight. I’m almost there so I’m sure it won’t be a problem. Also I have already ordered two new books so I’ll be ready to make more progress in 2016.

Have a good night wherever you guys are and stay safe. Thank you for celebrating my progress with me!
여러분.. 새해 복 많이 받으세요~