My name is Mai, and this is the blog that I keep to record my ups and downs while learning Korean as well as anecdotes related to my Korean journey.
Quick facts about me:
Age: Born in 1989
Occupation: University student – I’m doing my second MSc while working part-time at a law firm.
My other languages:
1. Danish (native)
2. English (fluent)
3. Swedish (I can manage when speaking, but I always have a native speaker check spelling and grammar before sending anything in writing)
4. Italian (becoming more and more of a passive language. The sad result of having to prioritise)
5. French (can read fairly well, but haven’t spoken or written French since I was 18).
6. Japanese (upper beginner level)
What “caused” my interest in Korean:
To be honest, it sort of snuck up on me. I think it all started during my BSc when I read about Korea in a course about foreign direct investment. It simply seemed like an interesting country! Adding to my curiosity, one of my friends went to Seoul for a couple of months to do taekwondo, and other friends were suffering from K-drama fever. Though reluctant at first, I started watching dramas with them, picking up a few expressions, and becoming ever more curious about this far-away land, I read more and more about it. When I accidentally overheard two girls speaking Korean in Berlin and could understand the few words I heard, I was challenged by my mother to learn it properly and sit an exam to have something to show for it. Since then Korean studies have been a staple in my life and I do something related to Korean as often as work and studies allow.
Why I self-study:
Because of the lack of classes where I live. They are few and far between. Recently they are becoming more available, but it doesn’t really work out with work and commuting times.
Accomplishments so far:
April 2013: passed TOPIK level 2.
November 2014: placed 4th in a Korean speaking contest – much to my own surprise as well
In February 2012 I made a bet with my mum that I would reach TOPIK level 3 within a year – adjusted to April 2013 due to the lack of tests. I lost that bet. Since I didn’t feel ready for the test, I signed up for the beginner test instead. But I stuck with Korean!
My Korean time-line:
Late January 2012: I found out about the existence of TTMIK. Studied secretly since I was fairly certain my parents would find me crazy and think it was a waste of time.
Late February: Finally shared with my mum that wanted to pursue Korean. She surprised me by saying it was really cool and then she thought up a challenge: pass an exam of the equivalent level that I reached in Italian after one year (I studied in Italy for 4 months). I found out about the existence of TOPIK and the goal was set at level 3.
I ordered a grammar book and a workbook from Amazon. I literally started working my way through that grammar book while looking for text books and studying the TTMIK pdf files.
Late June 2012: I finally received my Sogang books after the Danish post had accidently shipped them all the way back to Korea rather than telling me that I could pick them up from the local post office.
July 2012: Started studying Korean in an organised way.
October 2012: I was introduced to my first language partner through university. That was also my first live-experience with formality levels and I realised that there is such a thing as being too polite in Korean; I introduced myself with 안녕하십니까 resulting in my language partner looking more than just slightly uncomfortable.
October-April: selfstudied grammar and vocabulary at home, and wrote two essays per week in preparation for two the weekly meetings with my language partner.
April 2013: sat beginner TOPIK, passed level 2.
Updated December 2015