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, Uncategorized

Study room

So.. We bought a house. We didn’t even see it coming but we suddenly had the opportunity to buy a house that we really liked and we ended up doing so. The house needs a lot of work and the last month have been absolutely insane. I haven’ had time to even think about opening my Korean books as I have been busy with the whole moving process as well at having exams.
While the timing kinda sucks (I mean, shouldn’t I be studying more now that my Korean trip is approaching?) I don’t regret a thing, because in our new house I now have a study room. A room just for me. A room where I can peacefully submerge myself in my studies. A room where all my books have a place and there’s enough space to add a lot more books (Let’s face it, I’m going to Korea in slightly over a month – I’m gonna need more book space).
This room is going to be my own little stress-free temple and I’m constantly thinking about how to decorate it. It’s going to be worth it.

As I said I haven’t had time to open my Korean books, but you guys know me right? Of course that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been studying! I’ve been sticking to my italki lessons twice a week and by discussing everything that’s going on with my teachers I’ve learned a lot of situational Korean. When else would I ever be talking about wallpaper, renovations and heating sources?
I also discovered the ‘Free books’ category on ridibooks and because of that I have been reading quite a lot whenever I had some spare time. I read during my lunch break and when there’s not a lot of customers in the store. I have a few pens and some paper in my work locker and I make sure to write down all the unknown words when I read. I have quite a few vocabulary list lying around at this point!
I have also kept a personal diary in Korean for a few weeks. This meant that I got some writing practice done, however, since it’s quite personal I didn’t want anyone to read it and that obviously meant that I couldn’t get it corrected either. That makes it a lot less effective and I might get used to using wrong expressions and grammar, so I decided to stop. Instead I’ll be practicing my writing with less personal subjects.

There’s still a lot of work to be done but at this point it’s mainly things where I can’t be helpful anyway, so now I’ll probably be able to study a bit more effectively. My study room isn’t close to being ready yet and most of my books are still in packed in boxes, however I did unpack a few things this morning and will be making a new study schedule as soon as I finish this post.
I’m going to be doing my best with what I got until my study room is finished, and once it’s ready I’m sure everything is going to become a lot easier! I’m already browsing through my ikea magazine to find inspiration. I want this room to overflow with inspiration and I can’t wait to show you guys the finished result.

To end this post I want to share this song with you guys. It’s a song that I enjoy studying to and I thought you guys might enjoy it too. 🙂

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, taekwondo, Uncategorized

A day of accomplishments

Today has been such an insanely busy day, and not much ended out as I had planned it. I guess that isn’t really anything new, haha!

Early this morning I took my written drivers licence test, which I was supposed to take over a month ago. Sadly though, an administrative mistake happened and I ended up having to wait until now – without any theoretical of practical driving lessons. This has been causing me so much stress since driving well doesn’t come naturally to me and putting everything on pause like that for a month, meant that I lost the almost non-existing confidence I had in my driving skills.
Anyway, I finally took the test this morning and passed without much difficulty – Yay! This means that I am now one step closer to finishing this whole drivers licence process (So many hours that will soon be available in my daily schedule! Not to mention all the time that I will save when I no longer have to take the bus!), as well as a step closer to being able to join ‘my’ Taekwondo class!

When I got home I had a ton of boring things to do before my italki lesson with 효진쌤. We haven’t had a lesson together in two months because of schedule conflicts, and I was really looking forward to seeing her again. She’s a lot of fun!
I ran around like crazy to get everything done, and then just a few minutes before the lesson, my driving instructor called and wanted to have a driving lesson with me immediately after my italki lesson. Sigh.. I was terrified since it had been so long since I had a driving lesson, but I knew it would only get worse if I waited so I agreed, and just like that the rest of my day became busy.I’m really proud of myself for not postponing and it looks like I might take the final driving test withing 2-3 weeks. Exciting and horrifying!

When I finally got home, I ate dinner and sat down to confirm the italki lesson from earlier, since I hadn’t had time when it ended, and then I noticed this!
Turns out today’s lesson was my 100th lesson through italki! If that isn’t an accomplishment then I don’t know what is!
italki100

Even though I hope that tomorrow will be less hectic, I’m still pretty happy with the results from today! Now It’s time to go to bed and start on a fresh note tomorrow. If things go as planned then I will be able to study a lot tomorrow! Just what I need after a stressful day!

Oh, and I still haven’t completely decided what to do about the italki language challenge, but I think I will take part in it this year too!

Posted in Personal, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

The (italki) Language Mindbuilder Challenge

As 2017 is beginning and most of the people around me are busy with their new years resolutions, I myself is busy working, studying and planning my first trip to Korea. Even though I enjoy doing things in my own pace, I’m not really too bothered by my busy schedule. I enjoy most of what I am doing at the moment, and the things that I don’t quite like, are only stepping stones to the things that I really want to do, so I’m fine with a little suffering (sorry, I’m in such a dramatic mood, haha!)
As I am starting to work my way through this new and exciting year, I have been thinking a lot about time management and what I need to do better in order to make more room in my schedule and this made me think about the Italki language challenge (Read more about the challenge here). If you have followed me on the blog for a while, then you will probably remember that I joined their first language challenge of 2016, and I ended op completing the biggest goal, which was having 30 hours of italki lessons in a little over a month (Read more about that here). I had a ton of fun and I certainly can’t deny that it was very helpful to my learning. I definitely do no regret doing it! However, I am struggling to decide whether or not to do it again this year. First of all, I had a full month off from work last year, which meant that the time aspect didn’t really matter, but this year I only have a week off in February. The smallest goal this time is completing 12 hours, and finding room for 12 hours during the 28 days of February, can be a bit of a challenge with my schedule this year. Also, there’s also the economical aspect. I spent quite a lot of money last year, because I wanted to accomplish the 30 hour goal. And even just 12 hours, can become quite pricey.
However, on the other side – wouldn’t it be a great tradition to create with myself? Start every new year with an italki challenge! Also, I already tend to spend a lot of money on my love for languages. Just think about the amount of money I have spent on books, and even worse, shipping! Yikes! I guess it’s pretty much the same. And it’s not like I can’t afford it to be completely honest.
Maybe I could even find yet another teacher and switch between them all. I bet that would be a fun way to keep myself on my toes!
Also, it certainly would be a great way to prepare myself a bit for my Korea trip this summer. Not to mention that I honestly don’t feel like I did my absolute best, during last years challenge.

Ah.. What to do, what to do.. Should I make room for the challenge in my schedule this year?

Posted in Personal, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

Last goal of 2016

The year is slowly coming to an end and as I do every year, I have been thinking about how to end the year in the best possible way. I started thinking about this last week and decided that I wanted to end 2016 with a feeling of having accomplished a lot in my language learning journey. And to enhance that feeling, I decided that my last goal of 2016 should be to finish 5 of the books that I am currently studying with. I’m always studying with a ton of books and e-books at the same time, because I just can’t wait to get started, when I buy something new. So this way I can put away 5 books from my ‘books-I-am-currently-studying-with’ shelf (Yes. I do actually have such a shelf! It’s on my desk!) and move them to my ‘books-that-I-have-already-finished-but-keep-near-by’ shelf (Yes that’s real too).
I decided to finish these 5 books:
1. 서강 한국어 쓰기 1 – I only have 1 chapter left in this book as well as a few pages I want to review, so I guess this wont be too difficult to accomplish!
2. 백설공주 – I still had 7 stories left in this book when I made the goal, but since my reading pace is slowly becoming decent and the stories are pretty short, this too wasn’t very difficult. I read the last story yesterday! Success!
3. 빈도별 토픽 – This will be one of my bigger tasks since I’m only about 70% finished with the book. However the book is very easy to understand and doesn’t have a lot of assignments compared to my other books, so it is definitely doable!
4. Korean Q&A sentence patterns – I only need to finish 3 chapters in this one, and it’s pretty easy compared to what I usually study with, so this will be doable as well.
5. Korean folk tales & Aesop’s fables – I’m not sure why I never got around to finishing this book but I guess now was right the time! I only had 4 stories left and I finished them all this week.

So 2/5 books have been cleared and I have a week left. It’ll definitely take up a lot of my time, but since my holiday break started today, I am quite OK with that! I will also be visiting my home town next week, which means that I need to entertain myself for the 2×5 hour train ride – Perfect timing! Not to mention that I will be staying with my sister who has work everyday til 4pm, so I’ll have plenty study opportunities there as well.

Time to fix those loose ends before the year ends! Wish me luck!
Merry Christmas guys!