Posted in Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

Study Log: July

JULY STUDY LOG

Goals for July:
– Have a daily study average on 3 hours.
– Work on my vocabulary.
– Practice reading aloud!
– Work on Taekwondo specific vocabulary!
– Study with TOPIK tests.
– Work on writing.

Results:

A Tracker:
75 Hours, which gives me a daily average of: 2,4 Hours.
So I definitely did not reach my goal this months. A lot of family stuff came up and I had to prioritize my time. I guess this just happens sometimes, but I’m still a bit bummed out. Oh well, it’s a new month now so let’s see what happens!

TOPIK:
My TOPIK practice results for July were:
듣기: 32/50 correct answers.
This is the same score as last month so I guess there isn’t really that much to talk about here, haha.

읽기: 33/50 correct answers.
This is 1 more than last month, however it’s not a new record so it doesn’t really say much.

Other results: 
Okay, so I completely failed 4 of my 6 goals. Not the best stats, haha!
I didn’t reach my study goal for time (though hours spent doesn’t equal things learned, so I’m not too worried about that) and I didn’t look into Taekwondo related vocabulary AT ALL. I also didn’t practice my writing (I don’t even think I wrote in my diary) nor did I work through my previous TOPIK tests. These 4 points will be moved to my August goals, as they are things that I really do need to work on.

I have been practicing reading aloud quite a lot, and I’m finding it really helpful for a lot of things. I do it during all italki sessions as well as when I’m studying on my own.
I have also been working on my general vocabulary. I’m making an effort to actually use the words I come across every day, and to write them down and say them out loud to myself.

To work on in August:
– Have a daily study average on 3 hours. Hopefully I’ll make it happen this month, haha!
– Work on my vocabulary. I’m not making any changes to this goal as it really seems to be helping me. I keep having those moments where you learn something new and then suddenly hear and read it everywhere. God I missed having those moments!
– Work on Taekwondo specific vocabulary! I really need to do this, and I have already found myself a few resources. This is not a goal for my general language skills, but its really important for me personally.
– Study with TOPIK tests. This is my biggest and most important goal for August. I took all the practice tests in my books and the ones online as well, so I ordered a new book in order to continue my monthly testing. Until then I’ll be working through the results from the old ones. I need to analyze my answers and the reasons why I got them wrong.
– Work on writing. Writing is my weakest skills (unless it’s everyday chatting), so I really have to focus on this. There’s a few 쓰기 examples that I want to analyze properly and I want to start working with one of my writing books again. I’m not sure I be able to do it this month though, as I want to finish at least one of the books that I’m currently working with.
I’m working through YTN 뉴스로 배우는 시사 한국어, and I’m finding it really helpful. I think it’ll help with writing too.

I have exactly 100 days left for my exam. I already signed up, I’m buying the flight tickets soon, and I’m really looking forward to it. Those of you who have been around for a while knows that I had my first really bad anxiety attack, when I took the exam 2 years ago, so I was really worried about doing it again. But so far I feel nothing but pure excitement!

Posted in Guides, Resources, Selfstudy, Study With Me, Uncategorized

Study With Me: Kmooc – 한국인의 똑똑한 밥상

Lately I have been getting quite a few questions on how to study rather than what materials to study with which has made me realize that self-studying isn’t an easy task to everybody. For some reason it has always seemed quite natural to me and I never struggle to find materials or new methods to learn. I adjust everything to my needs and I can spend hours on relatively simple materials because I want to get the very most out of it.
Since I always struggle to explain HOW to study, I figured I’d start a series on the blog where I simply just show you guys what I’m working with and how. Hopefully you can feel inspired and try out a few of the things that I do, and as soon as you have an idea of what you like to do and what works the best for you, you can simply start to pick and choose from your experiences. The best way to study is honestly impossible to write down. It’s such an individual thing and you just have to try a lot of different approaches to see what works for you and what doesn’t.

Today I want to show you guys how I’m going through a Kmooc course called 한국인의 똑똑한 밥상.

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This is a course in Korean, for Korean people so obviously that influences my study approach. There’s not any explanations to vocabulary or grammar that I need to write down since it isn’t created for foreigners. Instead I take a lot of notes on the actual content and the unknown vocabulary.

I begin by collecting all of my materials. I’m currently obsessed with my Ecco Pigment pens and I use a Tombow correction tape. It’s the best correction tape I have tried so far (and I have tried A LOT), and I totally recommend it.
My yellow Aurora notebook is only used for my Kmooc course notes.

Study items

I then get my studybudy ready a.k.a my tablet. When I know that I’ll be studying for a long time, I always use the Pomodoro technique. I might write about it in an blog post soon, but you can just google it if you’re curious. Basically you just have a timer to tell you when and for how long you should take breaks to get the most out of your studying efforts. I also use my tablet to look up vocabulary. As soon as my studybudy is ready to go, I put my phone away in my drawer and I don’t touch it again until I’m on break or done with studying.

Timer

I begin by watching the video lesson. The lesson is in Korean and has the option of Korean or English subtitles. I watch it with Korean subtitles because that way I have a clear image of how much I understood from the video. I listen carefully and read along as the professor starts the lesson.

Korean version

I then re-watch the lesson with English subtitles. I do this to close any gaps in my understanding as well as to confirm the things I believe I understood from the lesson. It’s a good way to find out just how much you might have missed or maybe even misunderstood.

English version

Now that I have closed any possible gaps, I’m moving on to taking notes. I switch back to Korean subtitles and look at the transcript. At this point I understand more than enough to choose whats important and what is not from the transcript, but if you are struggling then you can keep the English transcript and either write you notes in English or simply mark the time stamp and then find the same paragraph in the Korean transcript. I recommend the latter. Even if you struggle to understand the notes you are jotting down it’ll still make you feel more comfortable with the words, the grammar and the sentence structure. A third option could be to write down each of the points you find important, in both Korean and English. Just do whatever works for you!
My notes a mostly just copied straight from the transcript, however I do change certain parts. I find that this course repeats the same points quite a few times and I see no use for that in my notes. Also I change things like ‘우리나라의’ to ‘한국의’, because it would just be too odd for me to refer to Korea as ‘우리나라’ as a foreigner.
Basically it’s all just about adjusting everything to your needs and preferences.

It took me just over 6 pomodoro sessions to finish my notes, so around 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Note overview

Now I move on to vocabulary. As for me, I find it way better to learn vocabulary through context so I always look up words in the end. By this point I have already learned a handful of words through context and I find that these words stick to my brain way easier than all the other words.
I now go through the transcript once again, writing down all the words I still don’t know or are unsure of. Even if I know that I wrote down a certain word from the last lesson as well, I still write it down. Repetition is your friend in this case, and someday it’ll suddenly stick!
I always color code my notes. It makes everything way more organized and it’s such a big help when you want to review your notes.

I spent another two sessions (50 minutes) on looking up words and writing them down.
Vocabulary notes bestVocabulary notes

Lastly, I create a Quizlet set. This is in itself a great way to review everything, because you have to write down all the words once again. When I’m done I can usually already remember a few of the words, which makes me feel great when I actually start practicing via the app.
Quizlet also remembers definitions so if you (or someone else) have written a certain word then it’ll often suggest previous definitions to that word, which can save you a lot of time.

It took me around 25 minutes to create my set.

Quizlet

In the end I spent just over 4 hours studying a lesson, based on a 9 minute video + whatever time I end up using on Quizlet later. I could have just watched it once with English subtitles and then moved on, but why not take advantage of the video and the transcript, and get as much out of it as possible? At least that’s how I feel. If you struggle to stay focused or if you hate working on the same thing for a long time, then obviously this might not be the best approach for you.
It’s all about adjusting!

I hope this was somewhat helpful!

Posted in Personal, Rant, Selfstudy, taekwondo, Uncategorized

Pronunciation fears

I have been having a few fears related to pronunciation lately. I have always considered correct pronunciation as one of the most important things when speaking in a foreign language – I mean what is the point of knowing a bunch of grammar rules and fancy words, if nobody understands you when you try using them? I still have a lot to work on but I consider my pronunciation decent enough to get by without too many struggles. However after I started doing Taekwondo, I have been having some serious  issues and minor mental breakdowns.

Everyone in my club is Danish hence they all speak Korean with Danish accent. A very strong Danish accent. This isn’t really a problem in itself, however because everybody in the club (with me as the exception) has just about no knowledge about the Korean language itself, it becomes a problem. Everything is learned through Romanized Korean. This is the big issue because it makes the pronunciation way more complicated. Also the romanizations are usually based on English pronunciation which isn’t the same at the Danish one. When 장 is written as Jang, it only ‘works’ because of the English ‘J’ sound. With the Danish ‘J’ sound 장 suddenly become 양.  Because of that we have people saying both 장 and 양, and even 챵, even though they are all talking about the very same thing. New members without any Korean knowledge obviously struggle with these things, as they have no idea how to pronounce it correctly and they keep hearing the same word with a changing pronunciation.
It makes it really difficult for me at times too, when they tell me something very basic, but pronounce it so differently that I simply can’t recognize the words.

Also when I try to look up things at home, it sometimes causes quite the trouble. When I first joined the club, everybody was talking about 타이코 1양  and 타이코 2양. I tried looking this up when I got home so that I could practice and improve for the next session (Since I started out of the ‘new members season’ I was the only one who knew nothing. I wanted to improve fast in order to not slow everybody down. I thought my Korean skills would be an advantage but it didn’t quite end up that way.) but that turned out to be a bit more difficult than so. Why? Because 타이코 1양 is actually 태극 1장. Not. The. Same. At. All. I don’t even know how 태극 ended up being pronounced as 타이코!
These are the moments where I really hate the romanizations!

I’m also the only one in the club who pronounce Taekwondo as 태권도 and not 타이권도. Makes me feel like a real know-it-all nit-picky douche, haha!

A while ago some of the members were talking about the struggles they had in Germany. In Germany we have a Korean Grand Master who takes part in all of our belt promotions, and whenever he is the person to give out orders, nobody understands him, because he is pronouncing everything correctly. Ah the irony.. I face that very same problem. When asking a question about a certain kick or defending block, I pronounce it correctly and the coaches are struggling to understand what I’m talking about.

This leads me to my actual fear.. I love doing Taekwondo and I want to improve. I also love the Korean language and I find it hard to teach myself wrong or improper things. Until now I have been kinda blocking out all the names for the stands, blocks and so on, and completely been avoiding to say them out loud, which now means that I can’t really remember any of the names. This is something that I need to know in order to continue improving and obviously that puts me in quite the dilemma.

What if my usual Korean pronunciation starts to become bad or weird because I’m practicing it incorrectly during Taekwondo practice?
I don’t want that to happen. But I want to continue growing and improving in my Taekwondo journey..

I guess it’s no different from Konglish.. My English skills are not getting worse even though I pronounce words the Korean way. And I doesn’t confuse me either..
So what’s the difference? Maybe it’s because English feels like my native language and Korean is still so far from that.

In that case I guess the solution is to study harder.
Study Korean harder and study Taekwondo terminology harder.
What about you guys? Do you have any similar issues?
Any advice? Do share. 🙂

Posted in Personal, taekwondo, Uncategorized

Getting my butt kicked

Thursday was a rough but interesting day for me. After a crazy long day of work I drove towards a small town called Kolind where I was going to take part in my very first Taekwondo practice! I was incredibly nervous and NOTHING went as it was supposed to. Do you guys ever experience such days? Days where you have every single detail planned and still everything somehow fails you?
Well Thursday was that kind of day..
I was hoping that my first practice would help me release all the stress and tension from work that day, but things started going south as soon as I left the house. I ended up driving behind a slow moving vehicle for a really long time which meant that my schedule didn’t work out as planned. I was supposed to arrive 6.40PM, change into my workout clothes and then be ready to join the practice at 7PM. But because of the slow moving vehicle I arrived at 7.50PM instead and just to make things even worse, the front door turned out to be locked and I had no idea how to get in.. Sigh.. After a few minutes of trying to figure out what on earth I was going to do, a woman in a Dobok saw me standing there all confused, and opened the door from inside the building. OK! So far so good! But at this point I only had 4 minutes left before the practice started so I had to choose between changing my clothes and therefor being late, or being on time but train in normal jeans and a tank top.. I was told beforehand to come in clothes that where easy to move around in, so both options pretty much made me feel like an idiot ^^;;
At this point my anxiety starting freaking out (which I totally should have seen coming, but somehow didn’t) and I knew that if I didn’t follow the woman who had helped me in, then I would just turn around and go home instead. So I walk into the practice room all alone, not knowing a single person inside, as the only person dressed in black, in a room full of white Doboks. ^^;; Great. I have never felt that shy and awkward in my entire life. Hahaha.. Just thinking about it know makes me want to hide in a hole somewhere.
Anyway.. Of course the story and embarrassment doesn’t end here.. No, that would have been too easy, right?
Let me just quickly explain something. The club doesn’t have any beginners teams until fall, so I am literally the only one there who has no idea what’s going on and what to do. Everybody was really kind and helped me out when they could, and kept reminding me that everybody had started from zero at some point. They told me to just relax, try to follow along but not to the point where I might hurt myself. While this did indeed make me feel better, I still felt a lot of pressure. Obviously I don’t want to slow everybody down just because everything needed to be explained to me, so in the end I went into my focus mode and did everything I could to pay attention and keep up with everybody else.

That worked out perfectly for the first 15 minutes and then
RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIPPPP!!!
…. That my dear friends, was the sound of my jeans ripping in front of everybody.. ^^;;
Great. Super great. ^^;;

Do you know that feeling where something super embarrassing happens and you feel like it will become even more embarrassing if you acknowledge that it happened? Yeah, that’s how I felt.. And that’s how I ended up practicing for another 1,5 hours with ripped pants.. Yeah.. Fun fun ^^;;

Anyway, if we just forget about all those struggles, I actually ended up having a great time! It was really interesting to hear so many Korean words over and over again. Though I do have some issues understanding most of what is being said due to the strong Danish pronunciation!
Also! Everybody on the team had to count to ten in Korean, one by one, during warm-ups and I was the last one (because I was the youngest of the white belts) but just as I was about to begin, the 사부님 said ‘Since you don’t know how to count yet, we’ll just skip you for now’. I thought about telling him that I’m actually quite confident when it comes to counting in Korean, but I decided that it probably would be best not to disturb the flow of the warm-up. Also I felt like I had already had more than enough of the spotlight for me to handle on one day, hahaha!
I managed to keep up with most of the exercises and got a lot of compliments for my kicks, which made me really excited. There so much to learn and I’m feeling pretty optimistic so far!
I was exhausted and completely free from stress once the practice was over and I drove home with a really nice buzz in my entire body. I was so sore the days after and even now I can still feel it in my shoulders. I’m quite happy about how things turned out – in the end at least.
I’m really looking forward to my next practice, which is tomorrow! This time though, I’ll be changing my clothes  before I leave from home…… ^^;

Posted in Personal, Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

Getting productive

Time is flying by and before I know it I’ll be heading to Korea with my sister, which means that I don’t have a lot of time left to prepare for TOPIK anymore. As I have mentioned before, I don’t have a lot of time at the moment, but I am finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel! While it is tempting to just wait until things go completely back to normal, I have decided to start upping my study game now, and I am crazily excited about it.
I have been planning my new study schedule for a few days now and I guess today is my first official day following my plan.
The key to being able to follow a study plan is to constantly change it up based on what you are able to do (or simply based on what you feel like doing) at the moment. I think that many people forget to be honest to themselves and therefore end up making unrealistic plans, which is of absolutely no use to anyone.

Anyway! My study schedule starts with the Italki Language MindBuilder Challenge! Yes I did indeed sign up for it, and I already have my 12 lessons booked with 효진쌤 & 혜선쌤! The first 1,5 weeks will probably be terribly exhausting since my schedule is already pretty booked, but I have tried worse and feel confident that I can power through it with a good result. And after that I have a full weeks vacation without too many plans, so I will be able to study and recharge my energy. I’m ready!
The time I spend in the bus every morning will now be dedicated to my story books and my trip home after work will be dedicated to my favorite podcasts and audio books.
As for study books, I am currently going through TTMIK’s Korean phrasebook for travelers, while making some notes for my sister, however I pretty much already finished it, so I guess it’s not really a part of my new schedule.
I will be using following books for my plan this time:
– Useful Chinese characters for learners of Korean
– 한국어 문장 쓰기의 모든 것
– Korean grammar in use Intermediate + Advanced

I’m also trying to decide whether or not to start 서강 한국어 쓰기 2. I can’t really decide.
I will be studying and trying to learn new things, but more than that, my focus will be on reviewing and closing the gaps that I have when it comes to using the Korean language. This is something that I have a tendency to skip pretty often and of course that affects my learning. So I’m not really making any rules about how much or how long I study every day with this plan, my only rule is that I need to study something new and something old from each book, every single day. I’ll also be making a bigger effort to use my Quizlet app during my short free periods during the day and in general try to be more productive with the time I have available for language learning!

Time flies so fast lately and I have to really run if I don’t want to miss out on anything, but I know that things will become better in just a few weeks and I know for sure that I will appreciate all of my efforts as soon as I sit down to take the TOPIK exam again.
More than anything, I hate regretting the things that I did not do, so here’s to being productive!

Posted in Personal, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

The odd ways of motivation

Lately a lot of things have been happening and as a result, my motivation for studying has been on quite a ride. It really made me realize that one’s motivation can be affected by so many factors, which is awesome and frightening at the same time.
As I have mentioned before, I have been working on a lot of projects and some of them are working out, some are not. Some of them depends on me and some of them depends on other people as well.
One of the projects that I have been working a lot on sadly did not work out and even though I don’t really mind, for some reason it seems to have affected my motivation. I felt like my many hours of studying was wasted. How on earth did that thought appear in my mind? Studying is never wasted and thanks to this project, my writing and speaking skills have improved immensely, so why on earth did this feeling get to stick to my soul and drag my mood down? Honestly, I’m still looking for the answer.
Things like this will happen once in a while. It happens to everyone. I guess people deal with it in different ways. So what do I do? I’m usually very motivated. Probably 85% of the time. But what about the last 15%? It’s actually really simple. I just suck it up and keep going. Motivation is an amazing thing but we can’t deny the fact that it’s a emotion that can’t really be forced, and if you rely on that alone, you might not go anywhere near your goals. I don’t recommend ‘sucking it up’ to everyone, though. It’s so easy to burn yourself out and if you do that, then you wont go anywhere at all. I guess it’s a balance thing. My motivation is generally really strong, so I don’t have to worry about burning out, but I know a lot of people are really struggling with their personal balance.
Isn’t motivation fascinating? None of us really knows what it is, how to describe the feeling or how to trigger it. And yet, we can all relate to the feelings it brings and none of us wants to be without it. It is indeed amazing!
Anyhow! I have been ‘sucking it up’ for a short time period and while the results obviously are different from normal, I have still been improving slightly and I’m satisfied with the fact that I stuck through the dry spell. A few days ago, my motivation returned for full power. I now feel super impatient and restless when I’m at work, because my mind needs to go home and study. To avoid too much frustration over this, I now spend more time during my breaks to enjoy the Korean language and urge to learn. I’m making new friends, finding new blogs and integrating Korean into my hobbies like dancing and cooking. I’m having fun in my own little Korean-bubble (yeah.. that’s totally a thing) again!
So what happened? Well I guess that a lot of things have caused my motivation to return this strongly, but there’s mainly 2 things. The first reason is my Italki teachers. Yes, teachers. I started sessions with another teacher last week, because the time difference and busy schedules, sometimes makes it difficult for me to find a good time to schedule sessions with 효진쌤. So, I decided to find another teacher who could fill out the gaps when necessary. However after having my first session with 혜선쌤, I found out that out learning styles and personalities also seems to match really well, so now I’ll just have weekly sessions with both of them. You can’t practice too much, right? Anyway, they are both really great and that alone is motivating, however their praise have really been motivating me. It’s not that praise in unusual to me, but in this case I can just tell that they actually have an interest in me and my improving skills, and that makes me want to study harder and show them my efforts. It kinda feels like when you want to make your friends or family proud. I like this feeling. ^^
The second reason is myself. I had no confidence  at all when I started this journey, but I keep growing and learning more about myself. I didn’t think I could self-study, I didn’t think I could read, I didn’t think I could speak. I’m proud of myself. And I need to work hard so that I can continue being proud of myself.

Posted in Personal, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

100 days of productivity?

Today my vacation is officially over and I am back with my original internship. Even though I now have less time available, I actually still have quite a lot of time compared to my last internship. Lately I haven’t been doing my best when it comes to studying, and I don’t even have a ‘proper’(only oneself should decide what a proper reason is) reason. I just simply haven’t had the energy or focus to work hard. I feel like it’s important to be honest to oneself with things like this instead of making up reasons to why you haven’t done your best. Things are definitely looking better know, but I have been thinking about how to give myself an extra boost of motivation to do my best again. I have some exciting things coming up and I want to prepare myself in the best possible way.
My first plan was to join the Italki language challenge again but I even though I really liked it the last time, I don’t feel like it’s the way to go this time. I don’t have nearly as much time as I did back then and 효진쌤’s schedule isn’t very flexible either. And since she is now back in Korea, we also have to match it with the time difference. Honestly, just having 1 session a week can be more than enough of a challenge!

So what else can I do? Well, I have seen the 100 days of productivity tags on many blogs and especially on Tumblr and Instagram and I thought that maybe I should give it a try. Making a challenge out of it is always a good way for me to motivate myself and it will probably fit the timeframe for my next projects and goals. It will probably also be a good opportunity for me to learn more about my own study habits.
My goal is to study for an average of two hours pr. Day. My normal daily average is around 1,5 hours (only around 1 hour for the past two weeks) so it’s not really that big of a change, but it’ll get me back on track as well as give me the little extra feeling of a challenge.

I won’t be posting a lot about it on the blog, but I will be updating daily on Instagram and twitter.
So that’s what’s going on right now! I’m starting the challenge from today and I’ll be having the last day on December 20th. Not a bad timing if you ask me! I will be having a few busy weeks (week 38,45 and 50) but I’m sure that won’t be a problem since I adjusted the rules to my personal needs.
My rules are pretty simple.
– As long as my final daily average is on 2 hours, then it doesn’t matter how much I study each day.
– I must study some Korean every day.
– I’ll give a short update every day.

And that’s it!
I’m feeling way more excited about this than I should!
Have a great day guys!