On my blog I write about various things I like and try, and one of the things I really like to write about is related to language learning.
While I haven’t found my Ikigai in life yet, I know for sure that I like to learn languages. Actually, one of my biggest goals in life is to learn many languages and talk to different people in their mother tongue.
I once refered to learning Korean as my own little forest. It was the first time I followed my dream, no matter how scared I was, and that decision will always be my guiding light.
I remember that following my dream felt unreal and uncertain at the beginning. I knew from the start it was going to be difficult, and I wasn’t quite sure I would make it, but I wanted to try anyway. I am forever greatful to that scared old me who did it anyway.
If you ask me why I chose to study Korean academically instead of learning on my own, I would answear that at that point learning Korean was my dream and going to the university was something that I had to do in order to have better chances as an adult in Romania. So I found a way to do both.
I must say I was lucky. Sometimes hard work will also need a pinch of luck to have successful results. For me it was my hard work, a pinch of luck, God’s love for me and my parents’ support I am always thankful for.
I was 14 when I heard Korean spoken for the first time. It was love at first “hearing”. The strange sounds I heard for the first time were like music to my ears. There was a new series diffused on national television, a Korean historical drama (also known as sageuk in romanized Korean) and that encounter was the beginning of my journey.
Soon enough I was hooked by the content of Korean dramas. I didn’t have Internet at home, so I was waiting like children wait for Santa Claus everyday to only watch one episode per day (minus the weekends). The old me would be so jealous to see me bingewatching series now.
In high-school my only contact with Korean language was through K-pop (Korean pop music) and Korean dramas. I tried to learn some vocabulary, but it was useless because it was used hundreds of years ago (they were broadcasting only historical dramas on national television).
It only started to get serious in college. I chose Korean language as my major, though everybody was concerned or reluctant. But I knew what I wanted to do.
In the beginning I did a lot of learning mistakes:
- not reading enough
- romanizing Korean words which made my brain lazy
- forcing my brain to memorize thousands of words without context or examples
All these mistakes made my progress very slow, and after I found my own learning style, I progressed better studying my own way.
After graduation, because there was no Korean Master program in Romania, I decided to enroll in any Master program I could find somehow attractive and I tried to continue studying Korean in my spare time.
My progress in Korean was always slow because I either studied the wrong way or I didn’t have enough time to study because of both my Master degree and my full-time job.
However, studying must be done in a fun way. Even today, I continue to improve my Korean whenever I have the time, without stress and deadlines. This is how Korean remains my little forest, even after many years.
This is it, this was my story about my Korean learning journey. I hope you had fun while reading.
Do you have any passions that became your little forest too? Let me know in the comments.
Thank you for reading.