First of all, happy anniversary to my blog! Exactly 1 year ago I started Someday Korean, and here I am, living the dream in Seoul on its anniversary. Who knew?
Anyways, the main point of this post is to describe my first week of classes at Korea University’s International Summer Campus. I’m taking two classes during the six-week term — Statistics (in English) and Korean (in Korean).
I won’t bore you with many details about my Statistics class. So far it’s been a pretty typical math class. The teacher is fairly interesting, but it’s hard to stay interested (and awake) for 100 minutes of straight statistics.
One thing that I wasn’t expecting was for the entire class (with the exception of me, one dutch girl, and a few Singaporeans) to be Korean. I’d estimate that 95% of the class is Korean, which means that almost all of the conversations around me are in Korean. It’s fun to eavesdrop on everybody, but so far I haven’t been able to actually break into a group of people to make friends. That’s my goal for next week.
On to the more interesting topic — the Korean class!
The Placement Test
Tuesday, the first day of classes, was also the day of our Korean placement tests. Everyone had pre-registered for a level (Beginning 1 or 2, Intermediate 1 or 2, or Advanced 1), and the point of the placement test was to make sure that people had registered for the right level.
The placement test was nothing like what I expected. There was no grammar, no reading, nothing that a typical test would contain. Instead, we had to write a short introduction of ourselves, and then we had a short “interview” with one of the teachers.
I wasn’t really sure what level I belonged to, so I just registered for Advanced 1, hoping I could place in the highest offered class. I figured I could always get bumped down to a lower level, but I wanted to be as highly placed as possible. (I like challenges.)
I won’t whine too much, but the placement test was pretty stupid. I easily got into Advanced, because the interview questions the guy asked me were super easy. (When did you get to Korea? What have you eaten? Where have you gone? — not exactly what I would call “advanced” questions.)
Korean Class – First Impressions
Wednesday was our first day of Korean classes, and I was admittedly nervous about being in the advanced class. I was excited about the challenge, but I also didn’t want to be in over my head. I wasn’t alone at all — in fact, I met several people who had registered for the Beginner 2 level but got bumped up to Advanced for some reason. (After hearing them speak, I can assure you they are not advanced level.)
After two days of the Advanced class, I can tell I’m definitely not in over my head — if anything, it’s probably the opposite case. Even though it’s called the “advanced” class, we are only going to be using Book 3 of the Fun! Fun! Korean series (재미있는 한국어), and so far we’ve talked about pretty simple grammar patterns, like ‘-다’체 (the narrative form), that I’m already familiar with.
Even though I’ll already be familiar with a lot of the grammar forms that the book covers, it’ll be good review. The main thing that I’m excited about is boosting my listening, writing, and especially speaking skills through the class. I brought most of my Korean studying supplies with me to Korea, so I’ll probably supplement my class learning with grammar lessons from Korean Grammar in Use and vocabulary building by reading News in Korean.
And that’s basically it from the first week! In my next post (hopefully tomorrow), I’ll tell you all of my fangirl adventures that I had while touring SM Town and MBC today, so brace yourselves. (It will also have more photos — yay!)