Posted in books, Dealing with stress, Personal, Podcasts, Resources, Selfstudy

Audiobooks and selfcare

My main listening practice comes from podcasts, youtube, and dramas but a few days ago I discovered that my favorite podcast app 팟빵 also have an Audiobook menu. There are plenty of book reading podcasts but this menu is just ordinary audiobooks that you can buy and listen to via the app. I have wanted to try listening to audiobooks for a while as there’s a big difference in following people chat about this and that (which most of my favorite podcasts are doing) and listening to a story. I was curious to see if I would be able to hold on and follow along.
I was looking at a few titles and ended up picking 시시한 사람이면 어때서. I knew nothing about the book but I really liked the title and felt a need to listen to some sort of feelgood story, and as I just threw myself into this new mini-adventure, I discovered that it was exactly what I needed.
It’s an essay collection and almost all of the thoughts and stories hit home so hard that I ended up listening to the entire book in one go. It took a little over 2 hours and I not only managed to follow along but I actually felt a lot better about myself afterward.
I definitely recommend that you read or listen to this book or any other feelgood book if you don’t feel great.
I also really recommend audiobooks in general. It’s a great way to get some practice in while doing mindless work like cleaning.

Posted in Personal, Rant, Selfstudy

Honest thoughts on motivation

How do you stay motivated to study?

I’ve been wanting to talk about this for a while, as it is one of the questions I get the most from fellow students.
The answer is really simple and while I hope I don’t come across as a total downer, I think we need to get rid of this naive way of thinking.
The answer is; I don’t. I simply don’t rely on being motivated.
I work hard even when my motivation is nowhere to be seen.

There’s a saying that goes ‘If you find a job that you love, then you’ll never have to work a day in your life.’
I strongly dislike this saying as I find it naive rather than motivational and it gives an unrealistic goal to chase after.
Let me just make this super clear. Even if you get your dream job, you will have crappy days. I mean think about it. If you get into your dream school, do you really think that you’ll be able to complete it without feeling any burden or tiredness? I’m sorry to burst anybody’s bubble, but the answer is no. No matter how happy you are about your school or your job, there will still be that co-worker that you just can’t stand. There’s still going to be cold, dark, rainy and stormy Monday mornings where you would give anything in exchange for getting to stay in bed. There’s still going to be things that you don’t understand and things that you don’t want to do.
Getting your dream job doesn’t magically create more time in your day or more energy to your body. You won’t automatically start liking everybody around you and you won’t automatically get your life together.

I find that this type of mentality is closely connected to the whole “If only XX then everything will be solved” mentality.
If only I lose weight, then everything will be okay.’
‘If I just get this job then all my problems will go away’

I’m sorry but life doesn’t work that way. And becoming obsessed with these ideas can cause your mental health some serious harm. It’s so easy to fall in those traps and end up feeling really bad about still struggling with something.
‘I have such a great job, why am I still feeling like this?’
You can feel truly happy about something and still struggle with it. You can want to learn Korean with all of your heart, and you’ll still struggle with motivation sometimes. And that’s okay. It’s completely normal.

I guess what I’m trying to say is just that you really can’t rely on motivation for results. What you can rely on, however, is the work you put into your dreams, even when you don’t feel motivated.
Trust me. I can guarantee you that even the great Oprah has days where she just doesn’t feel it.
So that’s it. I just work hard. Always.

Posted in Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

Study Log: August

AUGUST STUDY LOG

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

Results:

A Tracker:
90 Hours, which gives me a daily average of: 2,9 Hours.
Close enough to 3 hours, haha! I’ll consider it as a succes!

TOPIK:
My TOPIK practice results for July were:
듣기: 35/50 correct answers.
I’m pretty happy with this result! It’s not a new record but it’s a good result for mig 4급 goal.

읽기: 29/50 correct answers.
Not too happy about this one! For the first half it went really well but then it just went down hill from there. That just happens sometimes, but since my exam is coming up, it would be nice if it didn’t happen right now, haha!

Other results: 
I super satisfied with the hours I put into studying in August, especially because I have been studying very effectively and with a ton of different materials.
I have been working a lot on my vocabulary throughout the month, and not just reviewing. I’ve been making a sincere effort to actually use the words I learn. I use them in conversations, my diary or I pick out a few random words from the day before, and create some sample sentences. I can feel my vocabulary growing and hopefully it’ll be noticeable in November! I have also been working a little bit on my Taekwondo specific vocabulary but not nearly as much or as actively as my overall vocabulary. And that’s ok!
As for studying with TOPIK tests, I have actually bought a new book set, with practice tests, tips and even more importantly, it also comes with a ton of examples. I’m working through the books little by little and I’m sure it’ll help me out on the 쓰기 test.
My last goal was to work on my writing, which I also managed to do! I’ve been practicing with the assignments from 서강 한국어 읽기 (which I have now finished) as well as doing practice tests from the new books.

Overall I’m just really satisfied with my efforts!

To work on in September:
– Work on my new Kmooc courses. I believe both of them will help me learn the language while learning the actual content.
– Practice writing. I want to continue working on my writing skills and especially become better at structuring my essays instead of just winging them. My kmooc courses also comes with different written assignments so I’ll be practicing writing almost daily.
– Make sure to use my books. I have a tendency to just go all in on my courses and not make time for my books. This time I want to make sure that I find a proper balance (since my courses lasts for 12-15 weeks) and still make time to my study books and even more importantly my novels!
– Finish 죽고 싶지만 떡볶이는 먹고 싶어
– Finish 미생

The two last point are simply to make sure that I also make time to just read and watch dramas.
Also, as you might have noticed, I didn’t add any time goals this time. I already know that I’ll be studying a lot so I just felt like it would be pointless to make such a goal. Even If I don’t touch any books, my courses will have me practicing reading, listening, writing as well as my vocabulary 6/7 days a week and I also still have my Italki lessons every week so speaking will be practiced often as well. I know I’ll be working on all aspects, so I’m already pretty happy with myself.

Posted in Personal, Rant, taekwondo, Uncategorized

Growing

3 weeks ago I went on a taekwondo summer camp with a bunch of amazing people. A lot of things happened that weekend! First of all, I had my third belt graduation and successfully earned myself a new belt! Hello Orange!

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The night I got my diploma!

And then the next day I did actual 겨루기 (kyorugi) which is the sparring/fighting part of taekwondo. Obviously we practice the techniques and such but we don’t do a lot of 겨루기 in our normal practice sessions (unless you are around a red belt or up – at that point 겨루기 becomes a part of your future promotions) so it was super new to me. We practiced a few techniques and then a few people got to try them out in an actual fight. I have always been absolutely terrified of the thought of fighting someone else, so imagine my surprise when my hand flew up in response to our coaches request for volunteers. Well.. ^^; I really have no idea what happened. Maybe I was feeling a bit more confident due to my new belt, or maybe something inside me just knew that I really needed to challenge myself. Who knows?
I was sparring with a girl who was used to sparring so I quickly had to change my tactic and focus on defending. I got 0 points and she got 2, but we were supposed to keep on till 3 points had been achieved. However I ended up defending myself well enough so that she couldn’t get the final point and the fight had to be stopped because the time ran out. That still makes her the winner, but I felt strong and completely invincible! Sort of funny since I had just lost my first fight, huh?

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Technique practice before fight!

 

1
Halfway through belt test!

Those things has already turned into fond memories however, something way .. bigger? .. more interesting? happened. I don’t really know what to call it yet. Whatever it is, it certainly sparked a bunch of thoughts and emotions within me.
As some of you guys already know, our club  – and sister clubs – all have a Korean Grand Master, living in Germany. I had met him twice before summer camp. I met him briefly at the dan promotion back in September and again in March when we had our annual Easter trip to his Dojang in Hamburg. Back in March I had decided that I was going to challenge myself and actually talk to him. He doesn’t speak Danish nor English, and his German skills are not too great either. I don’t speak German at all so if we were to talk, it would only be in Korean, which – as you all know – is not at all new to me.
When we were having dinner back then, he sat down next to me and while I was trying to gather some courage, his family joined him and they started chatting away in Korean SO FREAKING FAST and with the thickest Busan dialect I have heard in a long time. In the end I just sat there with my, not at all charming, 멍 face. Nope. I was so not going to try and join that conversation! I did thank his wife for the food in Korean though, but then she got so shocked that I for a moment thought I had broken her, and I ended up just smiling awkwardly and then practically ran out of the room. Great. It was just great.

As you can probably imagine, I had absolutely no intentions of talking to him and making a fool out of myself this time either, however I forgot to take something quite important into consideration. You see, back then only a handful of my taekwondo friends knew about my language skills, and it has since then become known among them all..
Saturday evening was our last evening together, it was they day where we had the most lessons and also the day of our successful belt promotion so everybody was having fun and relaxing together. Master Shin and his wife had brought a karaoke machine and people were singing, dancing, yelling, laughing and getting more than just a little tipsy. I was sitting with my friends and coaches who were talking to Master Shin, when one of my coaches suddenly turned around and asked me if I wanted to speak in Korean with Master Shin, and before I had a chance to decline the ‘offer’ my other coach was telling Master Shin about my Korean abilities.
It happened so freaking fast and I quickly turned into Master Shins favorite person. I was quickly asked to switch places with my coach and he then called over his wife to talk to me as well. He was talking so fast and even though his dialect was way lighter when talking to me, I still had to focus 100% on understanding what he was telling me. He also talks A LOT. That’s kinda an inside joke among the clubs, but it only made it ‘worse’ when he was able to speak comfortably in Korean. I asked him when they had moved to Germany and he started telling me about where he grew up, what university he had graduated from and about a funny friend of his who has become very wealthy. He never answered my question though ^^’ He asked me to sing a Korean song which I politely but very strongly passed up on. Every time he and his wife had to do something or went to sing a song, they would instantly circle right back to me, and it quickly gained interest from the 150 other people who were present. They were all staring at us and talking about us with the biggest fascination I have seen in a very long time. I didn’t know most of them and I couldn’t really process the situation because I had to focus all of my energy into understanding the conversation.
A few hours into the conversation he suddenly got out his wallet and took out a business card. It was old and wrinkly so he started to smooth it out on the table until his wife found a prettier one. He then gave the pretty to me and asked me to write down my contact information on the other one. He explained that he would love for me to help him translate in the future, at these taekwondo events. He also told me about a bunch of Korean companies in Germany that he could connect me to if I wished to work with them in the future.

Shin´s Family Summer Camp 2018 DELING_00259
Here’s Master Shin on one of his super long explanations, while my coach is stuck in this great pose while trying to translate into Danish, haha!

Going to bed in my tiny little pink tent that night, I couldn’t sleep despite being completely drained. I was trying to process all of my thoughts and emotions but all I felt was panic. I was fine when I didn’t have time to think about the situation but now that I was all alone I instantly doubted myself and I felt like crying. I almost called my boyfriend despite it being way past midnight, because I suddenly felt like the most stupid person in the world and I needed someone to tell me that it wasn’t true.
The thing is, I have never been super confident about any of my skills, but I have been  working a lot on that and it has been a really long time since I have felt that insecure and it really caught me by surprise.
I was cursing at myself for having agreed to help, and for giving him my contact information. I mean, who the hell do I think I am?! I can’t interpret. I’m not good enough. I keep thinking about myself as a TOPIK level 4, but the truth is that I haven’t actually passed that grade yet. I could fail. And even if I don’t, a level 4 is still no where near a level 6 which would be way better for him. I’m going to mess everything up. He’ll meet me next time with big expectations and become disappointed because I haven’t improved since the last time. Or he’ll ask me me to translate something and I wont understand and I’ll just stand there in front of everyone like an idiot.
Also, I don’t network. I can’t. I’m a super awkward person and I suck at being social. I can’t network with companies! I mean god, I don’t even know what I want to do with my life yet. What the hell is wrong with me?

It suddenly turned into a depressing post, huh?
In the end I kept all these worries to myself. I joked to my friends and my coaches about going home and focusing my studies even more now, but I felt really worried. My boyfriend sensed that something was off but I insisted that I was just tired. For the next week I studied like crazy and got N.O.T.H.I.N.G out of it. I couldn’t focus at all and I didn’t absorb anything that I read. My study tracker looked great but I can’t remember a single thing from that entire week. Time spent on studying doesn’t equal progress.
As the week had passed and we gathered at my regular Dojang, we all got diplomas for passing the test and talked about our favorite parts of the weekend while sharing everything with those who weren’t able to join us on camp.
When it was my turn I got my diploma, talked a bit about my favorite moments and then went to sit back down, when my main coach stopped me and said “Something else also happened, right? Would you like to tell everybody or can I do it?”. I knew he was talking about my conversation with Master Shin, so I started explaining and my coach kept adding to the story.
This is basically where everything changed. My coach was eagerly telling my story from his point of view, everybody who was at the camp started talking to those who hadn’t been there “It was so cool, she just sat there and talked to him in Korean like it was the most normal thing in the entire world…”, “Frau Shin looked so happy when they talked about her homemade Kimchi”.
Everybody was so fascinated. It was such a new thing to them. I felt a bit lighter seeing everybody so happy and excited and then my coach added something that really touched my heart. He said that he had known Master Shin for more than 25 years and in all that time he had never ever seen him or his wife so relaxed and open. As I mentioned before, Master Shin talks a lot. However, he only talks if he has a purpose (which is usually explaining something about taekwondo, the human body or our minds). Probably because communication is tricky when he isn’t that good at German, and doesn’t have any other language in common with everybody else. My coach said that it was incredibly touching to see him relaxed like that. He then lastly added, that our little Dojang had gotten some serious bonus points from Master Shin, thanks to me.
It made me realize how incredibly lucky I am. I got to see a side of Master Shin that nobody else get to. I got to hear about his childhood, and I got to listen to him bickering with his wife about the wrinkly business card, while nobody else had any idea what was going on.
It also made me realize that I’m not going to disappoint anyone. I talked to him almost nonstop for 4 hours. He knows exactly what my skills are. Sure, he’ll probably expect me to improve till I see him again. And I will.
I also wont disappoint my coaches. To them, this has already been an incredible experience. Also, they all cheer me on! They ask how my exam preparations are coming along and they all listen even when I get carried away and talk about it for way too long.

I don’t know where all of this will take me. I might end up doing a lot of translation/interpretation work in the future, or I might never. I might end up networking my way into some company or I might not. I truly have no idea. All I know is that I didn’t come this far by freaking out and running away.
I might face some difficulties and I’ll need a different focus during my study sessions, but I’m going to do my absolute best and I wont let any self doubt drag me down that hole again.
This is all about growing.

So here we go. I’m going to rock this!

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I would do this all over again!^^

Posted in Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

Study Log: June

NOTE!
Hi guys! I was just about to post this study log, when I discovered that I forgot to publish the one from last month! I’m an idiot, sorry! ;;
———————————————————————————————————————

JUNE STUDY LOG

Goals for June:
– Have a daily study average on 2 hours
– Work on my vocabulary
– Enjoy myself even more

Results:

A Tracker:
42 Hours, which gives me a daily average of: 1,4 Hours.
As you can tell from my goals, I was aiming way higher than that, but sometimes life just happens. I know it’s still a decent amount of studying but I’m not really satisfied. Oh well!

TOPIK:
My TOPIK practice results for June were:
듣기: 32/50 correct answers.
That’s 4 correct answers less than last month, but I can’t really complain when my effort weren’t that great either ^^’

읽기: 32/50 correct answers.
This is also 4 less than last time. I also haven’t been reading as much this month in general, which suddenly made me feel very overwhelmed. I felt like my reading stamina had dropped but to be honest I was probably just really tired, haha!

Other results: 
During the last half of the month I started to really work on my vocabulary and on actually using it, which is really great. My italki teacher is also really diligent and sends me detailed notes, so that’s really helpful!
As for enjoying myself, I have really gotten better! I’ve started to watch dramas again and I watched the entire 1st season of Busted on netflix. I didn’t track it as a part of my studying though, as I was watching it while cleaning and such.
I also continued to enjoy podcasts.  (I’ll have a post up next week on all of these things)

To work on in July:
– Have a daily study average on 3 hours. July is also a bit busy, but I’m able to work things around my schedule this time, so I can definitely reach this!
– Work on my vocabulary. I want to really make an effort to use the words I’m learning more and become familiar with their sounds and usages. I also think it’ll give me the push I need to get better TOPIK scores.
– Practice reading aloud! I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, but I never really do it (Mid July update: I’m doing really well with this one!)
– Work on Taekwondo specific vocabulary! Yeah.. Uhm.. That’s its own story! I’ll be back with that one soon!
– Study with TOPIK tests. I did that ages ago and found it really helpful, so I’d like to work on that again. By studying I mean re-reading the tests I have already taken, looking up all unknown words and grammar structures, analyzing the answers and taking notes.
– Work on writing. My writing really needs some extra practice so I want to try an spend some more time on that, even though I already have plenty goals for July, haha! ^^

Posted in Selfstudy, Uncategorized

Study Log: May

NOTE!
Hi guys! I was just about to post my June study log, when I discovered that I forgot to publish this one from May! I’m an idiot, sorry! ;;
———————————————————————————————————————

MAY STUDY LOG

Goals for May:
– Finish Kmooc Course
– Prioritize listening practice
– Keep daily study average on 3 hours or more
– Enjoy myself and studying a bit more

Results:

A Tracker:
91 Hours, which gives me a daily average of: 2,9 Hours.
My daily average back in April was 2,8 hours so it’s only a little bit higher and it also means that I didn’t accomplish my goal of a 3 hour average, but honestly it’s close enough to satisfy me, haha!

TOPIK:
My TOPIK practice results for May were:
듣기: 36/50 correct answers.
This is my current personal high score, but it’s not the first time I have gotten it, so I’d like to up it a bit!

읽기: 36/50 correct answers.
This is 6 more correct answers than I got last month, and also a new personal record! I’m very satisfied!

Other results: 
I finished my Kmooc course with a final score of 95%, which I’m really really really happy with!
I also managed to prioritize listening a lot more and have really been enjoying podcasts lately. This also leads me to the final goal which was to enjoy myself more. I definitely started to do more of what I enjoy, but not nearly enough.

To work on in June:
– Have a daily study average on 2 hours. June is going to be crazy busy for me, so I probably wont be able to get above 2 hours. I’d rather be realistic than become disappointed later
– Work on my vocabulary
– Enjoy myself even more

Posted in books, Guides, Resources, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

Ridibooks (reader) – The Korean learners best friend

I have talked about how reading in your target language can approve your language skills a few time before so I’ll try not to repeat myself today. You might find this and this helpful though!
Instead I would like to introduce you all to the Ridibooks reader app. Ridibooks is a Korean ebook website with a huge variety of books to chose from. Everything from Manwhas and self improvement books, to fiction, history books and magazines. They even have free books right here – No more excuses!
I have mentioned the site before and no I’m still not sponsored or anything. Just a genuine fan!
Lately I have been reading ebooks more often than I used to and honestly, I still prefer physical books. However, I have come to really appreciate ebooks and especially the ebook reader that ridibooks offer, which is why I’m now here to give you guys a tour of this great tool, from a language learners aspect!

When you open the app, you’ll find the books that you have downloaded on the device that you are using. There’s not much to say about this as it is pretty straightforward.
At the bottom of the screen you’ll find a little menu.

Right now we a at the first icon 내 서재 (My library).

Screenshot_20180317-122514

The next icon is 구매 목록 (Purchased books). This shows all of your books, including those that you haven’t actually downloaded on your current device. From here you can download the next book you would like to read. (or re-read)
As you can see from the pictures, I have a few books that I haven’t downloaded because I read then via my laptop, before I got my studybuddy (My tablet).

The next icon is 서점 (Bookstore). If you click here you get transferred to the ridibooks website where you can take a look around for new books. This too is pretty straightforward.

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The 4th icon is 검색 (Search). This is also pretty straightforward. You simply search for whatever book you are interested in and then it’ll redirect you to the website if they have the book you searched for. I never use this to be honest as I feel like it makes more sense to just go straight to the webshop.

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Okay, so enough of the standard boring stuff lol.
If you click on a book from you library it’ll open on the page that you where on the last time. You can also add your own bookmark by clicking on the icon in the upper right corner, but I have never experienced that the app doesn’t automatically saves the page so I haven’t used that feature in years. I guess I’ve gotten lazy.. 그냥.. 귀찮다 ㅎㅎ

Anyway, this is the page that I was on when I took the screenshots a few days ago, in a book called 말 그릇. I’ve talked about it on instagram but I think this is the first time that I’m mentioning it on the blog. You can find it here if you’re curious.

Okay this is where all the fun stuff happens!
At the bottom of the screen you can see how far along you are with the book which is always fun and next to that you have a 듣기 (listening) icon. It’s not an audio book though so I don’t really use that function, since it’s just a typical ‘robot’ reading.

Screenshot_20180317-122751

The next icon is 목차 (Table of contents). You can see how far you are along and you can also use it to skip to a certain chapter if you wish. I sometimes use it as a shortcut if I want to re-read a certain part of a book.

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The third icon is 동서노트 (reading notes).
This. Is. THE. Best. Feature!
Okay so let me explain. When reading an ebook through this reader, you can mark a word from the text and a list of new features will appear.
The first feature is 형광펜 (Highlighter), which works just like a physical highlighter. You can use this feature to highlight any word or sentence that you find useful or that you need to remember.
The next icon is the purple dot. The color of the dot indicates what color you use to highlight with and if you tap on the dot, a variety of colors will show up, allowing you to easily switch back and forth between colors. In other words you can do color coding! Use one color for new vocabulary, another for new grammar points and a third color for names and locations. It also gives you the opportunity to underline a word instead of actually highlighting it. Whatever you need!

marker optionsColorcoding

The next feature is 메모 (Memo). By clicking on memo you’ll get a little box where you can add.. well. A memo.. To the word that you have marked. It could be the definition or maybe a sample sentence using the highlighted word. It so cool! And yes this genuinely makes my little geeky heart excited.

Saving a memo

If you chose to add a memo, then you get a little symbol by the word to remind you that you added something to it.

The next icon is 듣기 and it works just like the 듣기 at the bottom of the screen, except it only reads the part that you have marked.
If you tap at the 3 dots next to 듣기, then you’ll get two more options called 검색 (Search) and 공유 (Share).

other options
Search is probably my favorite feature. It you tap the search button then the app will connect you to Naver Dictionary. This means that you can look up words straight from the book without ever leaving the app. Once you’ve gotten the information that you needed, you simply tap the arrow in the upper left corner and you be back on the page you where reading.
It’s just so freaking convenient!

dictionary

As for the share option, it’s not at all a necessity but I really really love it! If you tap the share button, then you get two alternative ways of sharing it.
The first one is 이미지로 멋지게 공유 (Share as a cool picture) and 텍스테로 공유 (Share as text). I love the picture option. If you come across something inspiring or noteworthy then you can immediately create a beautiful quote picture, which can then be uploaded from the app, straight to you social media accounts.
Again, not at all a necessity, but still really cool!

shareing

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Okay, so that was all of the options that appear when you mark a word. Now let’s get back to the 동서노트 (reading notes) icon at the bottom of the screen. It you tap the reading notes icon, then you get a list of all the additions you made to the page. In my case, you can see that I highlighted new vocabulary with the purple marker, and now every single word that I have highlighted has been added to this long vocabulary list. If you do color coding then you can also make it show the words or sentences that are highlighted with a specific color. You can also access the memos that you make from this page.
I use the feature really often to create online flashcards via memrise or quizlet. I simply copy and paste the words.
You can also use it to track your progress. Try accessing a list from a book you read a year ago, and see how many of the words you know now. It’s a lot of fun!
If you wish to delete a note from the list, you simply tap the three dots next to the note and choose 삭제. Super simple!

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It’s also possible to change the font size, colors and so on, you simply tap the 보기 설정 icon. You can adjust pretty much everything you want to.

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As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I still prefer hard copies and writing my notes in hand, but you literally have any tool you might need for language learning, through this reader. I use it on a daily basis because it’s just too convenient not to, especially on days where I’m out and about or traveling. I totally recommend giving it a try if you are learning Korean!