[Updated September 1, 2015]
Junior High School — 2008-2009
The first language I ever self-studied was way back in 2008. I was just an eighth grader, and there weren’t any languages offered in my school, so I looked for some resources online.
I eventually found SpanishDict, which I studied with on and off for the next two years. I think I got about halfway through the second Spanish course.
High School — 2010-2013
In 2010 my family moved, and I began 10th grade in a different city. My high school required students to choose Spanish, German, French, or Latin to take for 3 years. Chinese was also offered, but only as an elective. I chose Spanish, since I was already pretty familiar with it. Once I started taking official classes, I stopped studying it on my own. I took Spanish classes during all 3 years of high school, and haven’t touched it since, except for occasionally helping my little brother with his Spanish homework.
There was a Hyundai plant near my high school, so there were a lot of Koreans at my school. One of those Koreans, Sarah, was the reason I became interested in the Korean language. The day I met Sarah, she ended up teaching me how to read and write in 한글, the Korean alphabet. She and a few other friends also first introduced me to SHINee (Minho is and forever will be my ultimate bias) and Beast. And there my love for Korean was born. At some point during high school, I bought a Korean textbook (Integrated Korean – Beginning 1), although I don’t think I ever got past Lesson 3.
I also made the decision to take Chinese as an elective during my junior year (2011-2012). I really enjoyed the class, but I chose a different elective for my senior year.
College – 2013-present
Once I got to college, I pretty much ignored all languages for the whole first semester. Spring 2014 I started studying vocab on Memrise and purchased Korean Grammar in Use: Beginner. Once summer hit, though, I pretty much stopped studying again.
Spring 2015 I really got motivated, and started studying Korean like crazy. Since then, I’ve been moving fairly quickly. During the previous years of Korean interest, I had dabbled with TTMIK’s online lessons, getting about halfway through level 2. Since the beginning of 2015, I’ve made it all the way through level 8, though some of the lessons I definitely need to review.
I also renewed my Chinese studies during College. My sophomore year (2014-2015), I took Chinese Intermediate 1 in the fall, and Chinese Intermediate 2 in the spring. There are no “Advanced” Chinese classes, unfortunately, but starting next spring my Chinese teacher is going to be teaching “Chinese Composition and Conversation”, which is basically the next level.
I don’t want to lose my Spanish knowledge, since I spent over 3 years studying it, although it’s definitely not my priority right now. Maybe after college I’ll do some review and possibly build it up more.
Next fall, if I have time in my school schedule, I’m hoping to take a beginning Japanese class. We’ll see how that goes.
This coming spring I’m going to be taking Chinese classes again, as I mentioned earlier.
My priority right now is obviously Korean. I recently ordered the Intermediate book of the Korean Grammar in Use, and as soon as I finish the Beginning book, I’m going to go through that. My big goal right now is to study abroad in Korea next summer. I really hope I’ll be comfortable conversationally by the time I get there, although the speaking part is going to be exceptionally hard, since I hardly have any conversational practice.