When I first typed the title of this post, I typed “2018”….apparently I’m a bit out of touch haha.
New Year’s Eve/Day was two weeks ago, and I still haven’t taken the time to reflect on the past year. (Last year I posted my 2018 progress report 3 weeks into the new year — the trend continues!) Today I’m finally sitting down to look back at my goals for 2019 and to see how well I managed to fulfill them.
Here are the 5 goals that I made at the beginning of last year:
- Keep Track of my Life/Language Learning (using a planner)
- Finally Finish the 재미있는 한국어 3 Textbook (that I bought in 2016…)
- Get a Job
- Read as Much as Possible (and Faster)
- Become Conversationally Fluent in Korean
Thankfully, I’ve managed to (with varying degrees of success) essentially achieve 4 out of those 5 goals. Can you guess which one I managed to epically fail at?
Here’s a breakdown on my progress on each of these goals:
Goal 1: Keep Track of my Life/Language Learning
I did pretty well here. There were definitely a few weeks/months that would go by where I would get out of the habit of updating my planner with my daily activities and what I had studied, but for around 75% of the year I kept track of my life/study habits almost every day. It’s fun to go back and flip through the pages and reminisce of days gone by, so I’m hoping to continue this habit into 2020. I haven’t bought a planner for 2020 so far, though, so I’m not off to a great start…
Goal 2: Finally Finish the 재미있는 한국어 3 Textbook
Well, after 3 consecutive years of being on my Annual Goals lists, I can finally say that….I failed again haha. I don’t think I touched the book all year, in fact. Maybe for a day or two in January or February. However, it’s way below my Korean level and honestly not worth my time at this point, so I decided to retire this book (finally). It’s the only Korean book I didn’t bring to Korea with me.
Goal 3: Get a Job
If you keep up with this blog, you’ll know that I succeeded here. I’m working at a 학원 (“academy”) in Daegu, South Korea, teaching elementary and middle school students English. This wasn’t the college instructor position I had envisioned myself having at the beginning of the year by any means, but it’s more fun to teach kids than I had imagined. I enjoy my day-by-day working life, but I definitely don’t think I could teach kids this young for the rest of my life. I still dream of teaching at a college or possibly high school in the future. However, I’ll miss the innocent enthusiasm of my youngest students more than I ever expected when I finish my contract here.
Goal 4: Read as Much as Possible (and Faster)
I definitely upped my reading abilities in 2019, although I definitely can’t claim to have read “as much as possible”. I finally relinquished my constant grip on the dictionary while reading in Korean, which enabled me to read through much more material than I had been previously. I also went through a brief phase of reading the webtoon DICE, which I’m actually hoping to get into again soon, because it’s interesting to read and a really easy way to pick up new Korean vocab through context. Am I a Korean speed-reader now? No, I definitely have a ways to go before I’m anywhere close to that. But I’ve definitely improved a lot.
Goal 5: Become Conversationally Fluent in Korean
Ah, yes. The looming goal of fluency that honestly feels impossible to ever achieve 100%. Despite the loftiness of this goal, I actually feel like I might…be…conversationally fluent in Korean now. There are still occasionally moments where I’m blank and clueless in conversations, but after being in Korea for over 3 months now, I have been in several situations where I’ll spend hours and hours with a group of Koreans and will essentially speak only Korean for half a day or a whole day. Here’s what my goal said from last year:
I want to be able to engage in conversations in Korean without stumbling my way through sentences or clamming up due to nerves. (…) I’m not expecting to be an eloquent, native-like speaker by the end of the year. I just want to build the confidence that I currently lack to engage in long (10+ minutes) conversations in Korean.
While I do have the occasional stumbling sentence or blank moments, the fact that I can interact with Koreans for hours on end without a ridiculous amount of struggling is a testament to how much more comfortable I’ve become in Korean. Therefore, I guess I finally feel comfortable calling myself conversationally fluent in Korean.
I feel like overall, I was much more successful with my goals this year than I have in previous years. I feel like this is a reflection mostly of the fact that I set relatively attainable goals this year, in addition to the fact that I did spend more time actively engaging in using Korean in my daily life.
Now, onwards into 2020! I wonder where my Korean proficiency will be this time next year. Time will tell.
Until then, as always,