Thursday, March 21, 2013

Korean Language Learning | I Won't Give Up!

Last July I started learning basic Korean at a community centre near my home. It was once-a-week on Saturdays and very convenient, but I didn't continue when the course ended because I felt that it was not conducted very well. Maybe I'm too used to proper structures and consistencies in previous full-time classes that I found my then-Korean teacher to be quite unfocused and haphazard in her teaching.

We were supposed to be in the most elementary Korean class but she didn't follow the textbook and often jumped to tell us something more advanced, then say "oh not to worry, just take note but you don't have to learn now". o.O"??! Then why confuse our minds when we are struggling to learn the basics with something out of our syllabus? I'm all for learning out-of-the-box, but at least let us get the foundation right first. There were not many opportunities to practise speaking or writing in class, and not much material to revise back home as well. Indeed, classes at the local community centres are inexpensive, and I'm sure some are good, but taking Korean classes there was not for me.

Luckily, I managed to find a Korean language class near my workplace and have been taking classes there for about a month already. I signed up for the most elementary class again as I wanted to start from scratch and have a strong foundation. Again, it's a once-a-week part-time class after work every Tuesday, which is pretty tiring and I get home only about 10.15pm that night, but I feel it's such a worthwhile time spent.

The lessons at my new class are more structured and we follow the syllabus of a very recognised university in Korea, Kyung Hee University. The teacher goes through each new component pretty thoroughly with plenty of practice in class, and homework as well. I recognised most of what was taught because of my previous Korean language class, but have a better understanding of it due to the current class. On completing this class, I would be able to read, write and pronounce the 21 vowels, 19 consonants of the Korean character set, about 100 new vocab words and learn how to have a very, very basic Korean conversation with the natives ;p In a way, it has also given me insights on teaching Chinese to Lil Pumpkin too.

Last Monday I received an email from the centre conducting my current Korean language class that they will not be offering Korean Language Programmes from May 2013 "to consolidate our programme offerings so as to align with the overall strategic direction". This means that after my current term, I will have to find another language centre to learn Korean! Bummer!

The news was so sudden and really took all of us in class by surprise. So very unexpected as their Korean language classes are pretty popular. If they intended to close the Korean Language Programmes in May, why did they allow students to take classes from the beginning of this year? The centre offers {or used to offer} Korean lessons that cater to all Korean language learners – Basic {6 levels}, Intermediate {4 levels}, Advanced {4 levels}. I was hoping to go all the way, which will take about 4.5 years as a part-time learner.

Now, I'll just finish Level 1 and will need to start all over again somewhere else, and their programme track might be different plus they might use different textbooks. This means more time lost and money spent. If I knew this centre was going to stop the Korean Language Programmes in May, I would have started afresh somewhere else. Kinda pissed and disappointed actually.

In any case, I will not give up and continue my quest to master the Korean language! 頑張ります!

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Isaiah Kuan said...

One of my colleague also just started learning Korean around the East area, she said quite good.. If you need, I can find out the address for you..

Melissa said...

All the best to your Korean language Sakura.
My goddaughter is K-pop fan, perhaps learning a few basic korean words is good for me.

Bali Resorts said...

Very nice post, i love it

Stacy said...

Way to go! Not easy learning something new.

mail4rosey said...

I like to have a strong understanding of a foundation before going outside of the box too. Good luck w/your learning!

Theresa Mahoney said...

What a bummer they are stopping the classes! I hope you are able to find another center close by that you like. Good for you though, determined not to give up!

Stacey at RealWorldMom w/LINKY said...

What a wonderful goal to have! I'm glad you were able to find a better class!

Thank you for visiting! :)

Ai Sakura said...

Isiah: thanks! I'll find out more about that centre :)

Melissa: yes that would be good. Korean dramas are a good way to pick up some simple words

Bali Resorts: thanks :)

Stacy: So true! Especially since my brain doesn't work as fast as before haha

mail4rosey: thank you!

Theresa: I'm so disappointed with them! My current teacher will give us some recommendations too so hopefully will find another good class

Stacy: thanks!

An Apel a Day said...

I have a hard time learning other languages! I tried learning Spanish, which is one of the easier ones. I just had trouble with it! I have a hard enough time with my own language. I think the prettiest language sound wise is French! I love the movie Amalie. Listening to them speak is so beautiful.

Jinyee said...

Nice review of the korean language schools that you have attended. I also happen to found this . Was hoping to see if you happen to know them?

Icy said...

Hi, I am thinking of signing up at a CC. Can you roughly give me hint on the teacher so that I won't end up in that class? For example, currently those under PA are: J Pte Ltd teachers, one independent teacher, Young something in the NE area and Cho something in the east area... Any hint? Your advice will be greatly appreciated.

Ai Sakura said...

Icy: it's been a long time and I don't remember that teaxher's name sorry! I think different CC different teachers though. It's a lady Korean teacher around 50-60s.

Anonymous said...

Hi! Did you sign up with another korean language school in the end? I'm looking for Korean classes, preferably in the North East. Do you have any recommendations? Thanks! (:

Ai Sakura said...

Anon: I've other commitments now so haven't been attending Korean classes and out of touch with the current schools. Sorry I'm unable to recommend any in your area. Good luck finding a suitable one!

Unknown said...

Hi , may I know which community centre in the East offer a Korean Language class