Summer’s almost here. My last final is tomorrow and yet I’m most overjoyed over the prospect of never seeing or hearing from my roommate or her boyfriend again. I’m going to truly miss the vivacity of campus life as the town empties of most of its students, but at least I know some of my friends will be here for a month or two longer. 가지마~~~ ㅠㅠ
I can’t fairly complain about people leaving me though, since I’m planning on spending the fall 2014 semester in Seoul. Yes, Seoul. Is it possible to miss a place you’ve never been? I think so. In the meantime, however, I need to get ready. And by getting ready I mean I need to immerse myself as completely in the Korean language as I possibly can over the next several months, because my goal is to return for the winter 2015 semester and test directly into the second semester class of 3rd year Korean. I’ve never been formally tested to see what my level of fluency or ignorance is, and so I’ve been taking 1st year Korean during my freshman year – a seriously entertaining choice because my comprehension of grammar points reaches into much of 3rd year Korean….yet my speaking abilities were basically nil when I entered the class in the last dog days of August almost eight months ago. Or nine. I’m not sure; math isn’t my strong-point and I definitely just counted the months on my fingers and still am not sure if it’s 8 or 9.
I’ll soon be writing up some posts about my experiences taking Korean this past year (this is a promise because otherwise I’ll conveniently forget to do it while reveling in summer sunshine, bubble tea, and the hopes that Big Bang might actually make a comeback within the next decade),but in the meantime I’d like to discuss some of my language-learning goals.
1. Complete review of all Talk To Me In Korean levels up until my current one. And of course, resume actively studying new lessons and leveling up. LEVEL UP. Oh wow, I feel my gaming days returning already….Ahem, and in doing these reviews, I’m going to focus on speaking practice – my biggest nemesis in language learning. Because who really wants to hear herself mispronounce things repeatedly?
2. Establish vocabulary studying regimen (alongside my best friend/language study buddy) of exchanging lists of at least 20 words each every week and then practicing with all 40 via italki posts and my own journaling.
3. Reach a fluency level enabling me to write short stories in Korean! This is a big one for me, since one of my biggest passions since kindergarten has been writing stories. I used to write intense murder mysteries about three detective fairies while I was in kindergarten. Yeah, you’re jealous.
4. Work my way through one Korean novel per month. Now that‘s slightly insane and also mostly possible. I’ve had a book from the library that I’ve been renewing for about 10 months now and I understand the entire first page easily. I just get a bit tired by the second page…but that’s just laziness. This is summer! And summer means….study….time. Actually, summer means finally reading the books I wanted to read all school year long but couldn’t because I had twenty-some novels for my classes to plough through first.
5. Confidence in Korean. This is a big one for me. I’m all fluent and wordy when I’m practicing alone or making small talk with two of my fellow Korean-learning friends, but when confronted with the sweet ahjumma at Arirang who is asking what I want to eat, or when greeting my Korean friend’s wonderful aunt who makes jokes in Korean to me, I freeze up and retreat into the fortress of my native language. This goal isn’t really something I can specifically practice for, other than by practicing and practicing and letting go of the safety-rail of English. Mistakes are okay. They really, really are. And I usually tout this belief quite strongly until my face is burning red from mispronouncing something or randomly swapping the ending to the verb from past tense to future because I’m so completely caught up in being grammatically correct that I forget what the meaning of my sentence was in the first place. So, confidence. Confidence in Korean.
Do you have language learning goals for the summer? 화이팅!!! 그리고 감사합니다!