Monthly Archives: May 2013

How to see your TOPIK result?

I saw this search term, and figured that is one question that just cannot go unanswered:

1. Go to http://www.topik.go.kr.

2. Click on the icon that looks like a man facing left.

3. Depending on whether you sat the TOPIK in Korea or abroad, click on the Korean flag or the icon depicting a bunch of happy foreign Korean learners.

4. Type in your candidate number and birthday

5. Click search and voilà there is your TOPIK score!

I hope you did well!

Material I went through before TOPIK

Yesterday I posted my scores and today I’m making a study plan for the next TOPIK exam that I will sit – the one held in April 2014.

For those who have not yet taken the exam and wonder how much I prepared considering the scores I got, here is an overview of the material I went through:

Sogang Korean books
1A
1B
2A chapter 1

TTMIK levels
Levels 1-3 (level 3 from TTMIK overlaps with the material covered in Sogang 2A to a fairly large extent).
Level 4: a few lessons.

Further material
Writing essays for my language exchange. When writing these essays, I did not respect the TOPIK rules ~ I did not time myself and I used a dictionary to look up all the words I needed.
When I got corrections from my language partners, I made sure to note down the right grammar patterns and glossary. I did not drill the corrections, but I did try to remember them, looking through my notes when writing new essays so I wouldn’t make the same mistake over and over.

These corrections are of course quite random compared to the syllabi of both Sogang and TTMIK because they are based on my actual mistakes and what would sound natural rather than “what a student should know at level X”.

Last minute
In the days before the exam I watched some drama every night to hear the language more. I kept my electronic dictionary next to me, paused and looked up whenever I caught a new word that seemed important to know. I saved the words in the dictionary for future reference.

30회 한국어능력시험: 합격!

The TOPIK scores are out!!! We have now passed 3 pm Korean time and the scores have been published. I have been having nightmares about writing answers in English and failing the exam so it was a big relief to see the score.

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It might not be the most impressive margin for a level 2, but at the moment I’m too happy to be too bothered. However, next time I will make sure to prioritise 듣기 more!

As I already knew, my listening score would be a bit of a gamble so I was slack-jawed to see a 57 considering that at some point during the exam I found myself thinking “why are they all turning their papers?! Why are they turning the page already?!” I must have understood more than I thought, though.

As for 쓰기, I’m really happy that I had the opportunity to write all those essays throughout the year. Without my language partners to look over my work and tell me what sounded off and what sounded natural, I would have struggled so much. I’m not trying to sound smug, but for this exam I actually managed to also enjoy writing even though it was the section I feared the most since it’s notoriously difficult for foreigners to write well in Korean as beginner students.
In total I wrote 35 essays of varying length and had them corrected so that should also help on my essay-confidence 🙂

So all in all I’m very happy with status quo after 10 months of structured Korean studies 🙂

Next stop: 중급 in April 2014!!! 화이팅!

I’m crossing my fingers for all of you who also sat the TOPIK 🙂 how did it go? 🙂

Role models vs. Trolls

Yesterday I was a bit cross with life in general and in the process of cleaning out some things I came across a magazine that instantly made me a bit more hopeful. You might be thinking “pfff! you’re one of those?” but the reason was an article about female bodyguards (turned out to be a bit shorter than I had hoped when I bought the magazine), and an article about Jessica Ennis – from before the Olympics so she was still at the ‘hopeful winner’ stage. They are really inspirational women so I decided to keep the magazine.

Background story: Friday I met an old classmate for coffee and as has become custom many places in the world, he tried to hug me to say hello – except yesterday I asked him not to because I took a landing on my neck in judo on Thursday. It’s only a matter of time before my club nicknames me “Accident Prone”. That is what it is, but it gave us a reason to talk about judo, and what annoyed me was the following:

– he consistently referred to judo as wrestling. I don’t expect or demand others to be as interested in my sport as I am, but at least I try to get the name right when talking to others about their hobbies.
– he made a point of how big a sacrifice it must be for my sense of femininity to have short nails as required when doing judo. Last time I checked, short nails did not equal dirty nails or being badly groomed in general.
– that was followed by questions about whether I have “bulked up” by training and if I could then still fit my dresses.
I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and think that he meant no harm, but for a moment I had to clench my teeth to not turn rude.

But what is it with nay-sayers creeping out from all corners these days?

I have seen posts recently from some of you mentioning how others are telling you how impossible it will be for you to ever master a foreign language without living where it is spoken by the general population. It’s annoying because it’s not really necessary for them to put that much energy into trying to talk someone out of learning a different language, but it also seems that with time most language learners come to just nod understandingly at these people while silently pitying them for how many experiences they must be missing out on.

If we all sat on our bums and never bothered learning anything new, the world would be such a boring place. At gatherings I don’t fear being seated next to those who have “weird” hobbies, I fear having to spend hours trying to make conversation with someone who doesn’t have any interests whatsoever.

I’m not going to become a beyond-super-keen coach type yelling encouragements at everyone I meet, but I have decided to become the antidote to these people whenever I meet them “in action” and whenever I come across someone who has the courage to share that he or she has taken up a ‘quirky’ hobby – such as learning Korean!

Hi again everyone

Hello everyone!

I’m so glad to be back here, thank you for checking in even though I’ve been a bit quiet lately. And welcome to the people who have decided to subscribe in the meantime 🙂

The past few weeks have been super stressful for me. I’ve been working quite a bit (as usual) but my uni courses have been super demanding.
It turns out there is a course that the rest of my class has already done, but I never got to do because it wasn’t part of my prep-course package. Nevertheless, it is actually pretty essential background knowledge for the exam I will sit in June so now I have to read the book from that course too! Oh joy…

That also means that my Korean studies have suffered since the TOPIK 😦 I’ve just been too worn out to think straight and I know I would kick myself if I miss out on a decent grade in this upcoming exam – however monstrous reputation it has because it covers several subjects – because I was being all nerdy about Korean grammar which sadly just isn’t part of the curriculum for Danish tort or contract law… So now that we have all the excuses out there, let’s get back to the Korean talk 🙂

I already have a few drafts that need a work-over, including some wishes from some of you 🙂 I will slowly work my way through them so I can share them with you soon 🙂

열심히 공부할게요!

Liebster Award Nomination

Guess what I woke up to last week! A mail saying that Kay had left a comment on my blog. I opened it and found out I had been nominated for the Liebster Award!
It is such a big honour, and I cannot thank you enough!

It has taken me a little while to write this post because I’ve been really busy in school and at work, but I am no less thankful for the nomination for that reason 🙂

What is the Liebster Award?
It’s an acknowledgement to new bloggers with fewer than 200 followers and it is passed between bloggers.

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The rules of receiving the reward
1. List 11 random facts about yourself
2. Answer the questions designated by the blogger(s) who nominated you
3. Place YOUR nominations for the Liebster Award. Nominate 5 (or more) other bloggers that have
fewer than 200 followers. Make sure to notify them via comment/mail/etc.
4. Make up a set of questions for those nominated bloggers to answer.
5. Display the Liebster Award badge on your blog!

So… 11 random facts about me
1. I can eat 28 pieces of sushi and still have space for dessert. I managed to reach the tender age of 24 before realising that most places consider that a serving for two. But that would explain why the restaurants always give me two sets of chopsticks when little me go to pick up my take-away sushi…

2. I secretly take pride in my sister’s dog being better behaved when I look after him than he normally is at home.

3. Since the late 1990’s I’ve had my mum’s home-made lasagne and tiramisù for my birthday dinner every single year with only one exception: when turning 18. And I look forward to it every year!

4. I don’t have a driver’s license – to the horror of many. I do have a bike, though, and after a solo-crash I always wear a helmet. When biking that is…

5. I would like to have a hunting license before turning 30. My family has some friends from a “forest caretaker” family, and they always serve the most delicious meals with meat from their hunting trips.

6. When I was little I had two birds, one was named Alfonso, the other Al Capone.

7. My parents call me “the rice muncher” because every time they open the kitchen cupboard, they cannot find whatever they need because I’ve built up a nice little stash of various types of rice.

8. I absolutely hate spiders, but don’t mind snakes. Some years ago I had to deal with a spider while my parents were on vacation, and due to a general state of panic (for the record, it was rather big), the best battle plan I could come up with included slippers, a hammer, and lots of kitchen roll.

9. I was introduced to K-dramas by a German/Iranian friend whom I met in London. Two years later learning Korean has become an integrated part of my life.

10. I love espresso macchiato and sparkly rosé. Though not together.

11. I am not a morning person and I need time in the morning to have coffee and “come back to life” before leaving home to not risk frightening children and small dogs on my way to uni. And yet the first thing I do in the morning is to check my blog reader to see if there are any news from you guys 🙂

The questions from Kay:
1. If you were stuck on a deserted island, what would you need the most to survive?
My family and ingredients for lasagne. I assume the deserted island has a stove… If not, add it to the wishlist.

2. What is your favorite book?
Hmm… I probably should name a classic here, but can I say the Harry Potter series? I read it sooo many times when I was younger and have most of them in several languages. Back then I really enjoyed just entering a different world and leave everything behind for a couple of hours while reading. After going to uni I haven’t read an aweful lot of literature that wasn’t somehow related to some course curriculum. Unfortunately…
I made a “Harry Potter shelf” in my flat when moving abroad. I have all of them in English, the first 4 in Danish, 3 or 4 of them in French, and the first one in Korean. Right now all but the Korean one are stored, and I haven’t exactly started reading the Korean one yet, but as a friend put it, I have left the bookmark string in the middle of the book “to fool the enemy”.

3. Gold or silver?
Gold, gold, gold! I’m assuming the question is about jewellery. If clothing I would say neither… Especially if talking about leggings.

4. Something you recently learned.
Judo. Especially I’ve learned how much I still have to learn before I’ll be an even remotely skilled judoka. But at least I get fewer bruises now than I did in the beginning (which also means fewer “what happened to you?! Are you okay?!” comments from classmates who don’t know I train judo) so I must be doing something right.

5. If you could be someone other than yourself for one day who would you be?
Hmm… Tough one… To go with someone who’s probably not too famous internationally, perhaps Merete Stagetorn? A very skilled Danish defence lawyer who specialises in criminal cases and financial crime, and who has had some prominent cases. She had a bit of an odd start on her law career since she originally studied law to have a back-up plan and only started practicing in her 30’s after being a stay-at-home mum. Seriously, but then again times were different back then. But she has “a good head” and has probably heard a bit of everything considering what she specialises in. Being her for a day would probably be an opportunity to gain a lot of insight into some of the darker corners of the human mind and some mechanisms of business and obscure executive thinking that (for good reasons) are not taught in business schools. And besides being a brilliant lawyer she’s supposedly also a very pleasant person to be around.

6. Who is your ultimate bias?
Oooh… Ultimate bias… That’s a difficult one! I don’t easily swoon… Of course I erm, enjoy the view when watching dramas and movies, but I haven’t gone through a phase of tracking down and joining internet fandoms and clubs. When it comes to idols and actors, I get the impression that often they are a bit like elephants; cute from a distance, but a real hassle to keep at home…

So now to the nominations!
Nominating only bloggers with fewer than 200 followers is a bit difficult when most of us don’t specify anywhere how many we have… I apologise if I have underestimated the readership of some of you:

I nominate the following bloggers to receive the Liebster Award:
1. Z from Sydney to Seoul: you inspired me to start this blog in the first place. (And during the TOPIK exam I could suddenly visualise one of your notes on the -면서 grammar pattern).

2. Archana from Panjjakpanjjak: so much info! Proverbs, slang, and curious little cultural gems.

3. David from Autonomous Korean: Korean learning approached by a linguist. Thanks for all the comments with clarifications 🙂

4. Alli from Blue Hanbok: the place to find info about how to get to study in Korea, scholarships, Korean food, and of course: Korean language.

5. Korean Vitamin: The place to go for thoughts about language learning as well as K-pop news. Also proof that it really is possible to learn a language without setting foot in the country where it is spoken. I am aware that you have a lot of fans on facebook, but I’m not aware how many followers you have on the blog, and since I always enjoy your posts I will nominate you here.

I do hope you will receive the reward and answer the questions 🙂 I look forward to continuing following your blogs.

My questions for you are:
1. What is your favorite Korean dish/which one would you like to try?
2. What was your most embarrassing language learning moment so far? (all languages allowed)
3. If you were to choose any other career track/degree than the one you have chosen, what would you do?
4. If you could go back in time and spend a day in any era in any country, where would you go?
5. In the process of learning another language (or if you’ve been in another country for an extended period of time) have you then picked up some expressions/manners that are distinct for that language/culture?