안녕하세요 여러분!

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
Nationality: Danish
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

Weird facts:
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

32 thoughts on “About

    1. koreanlearner Post author

      안녕하세요! 화이팅!
      Actually it was your blog that gave me the final push to keep track of my own learning on this blog ^^. I think keeping a blog also helps to remember the “up-days” better because there is tangible proof that we have been doing something and progressed 🙂 Keep up the good work!

    2. Nuri

      먼 나라에서 이렇게 재미있게 그리고 열심히 한국어를 배우려는 사람이 있다는게 신기했습니다. ^^ 화이팅!

  1. alodia

    Glad to find another Korean learner’s blog! And glad to meet more and more TOPIK takers. I’m aiming for a Level 4 this April. Let’s all do this!

  2. bluehanbok

    Hello M! It’s me Alli from Bluehanbok! I really love your “Word of the Day” category! There are words that you’ve posted that I am not really familiar with. I hope you don’t mind if I add you on my blogroll. 🙂 Thank you for visiting my site too!

    1. koreanlearner Post author

      Hello Alli!
      No, I don’t mind at all, thank you so much 🙂
      Thanks for visiting here as well. It’s always nice to meet other learners and get new ideas from how they learn.
      Thanks for the praise 🙂 I try to find a “good” word every day, but sometimes it’s really difficult.

  3. seoulinme

    So many languages you can speak 😀 I just know two (native English and a teensy bit of Spanish) and I am learning Korean (duh! you knew that) anyway I don’t think its linguistic suicide lol I pretty much would do the same thing if I could take the TOPIK here 😀

    1. koreanlearner Post author

      Hehe, I don’t think that much about it 🙂 I still have soooooooooooo much to learn before the next TOPIK.
      English and Spanish is a pretty good combination. And when adding Korean, it’s really quite unique 🙂

    1. koreanlearner Post author

      Hi! Thanks for the heads-up 🙂 now I just have to get used to check your website rather than my regular blog reader 🙂 congratulations on getting your own domain 🙂

    1. koreanlearner Post author

      Good luck! I was hoping to do the same, but then I realised I cannot travel that weekend. So I guess I will have to be adventurous and be part of the first batch outside Korea to sit the new type of exam.

  4. Nyasha

    It’s nice to meet you, I’m NyNy! Wow, you are learning so many languages :O Just wanted to stop by and say I like your posts.
    I hope when you have the time, you can check out some of mine and comment plus I’m still writing my travel entries when I went to Korea last year. I’d appreciate if you took a look 🙂

    1. koreanlearner Post author

      Hi NyNy, thanks for dropping by 🙂
      I have checked your blog and it looks like you had a great trip.
      I’ll look forward to your future entries 🙂

  5. HC

    Hi there, I just stumbled upon your site by accident… looking up some grammar on Google 🙂 I’m a Korean adoptee, and started to study Korean 6 months ago, but these days having a hard time to feel motivated.
    Your blog is quite interesting and maybe I should make one myself to gather all my information and notes – I thought about it, but never did it.
    You might very well have the books, but the “Korean Grammar in use – series” are great for self study and looking up different grammar points! You should look it up, just in case.

    And, I was adopted to Denmark 😉 Ha’ en god dag!

    1. koreanlearner Post author

      Hej HC, tak for din kommentar og for bogtippet 🙂 Jeg har dem ikke selv, men jeg ved, at mange er rigtig glade for dem. Hvis det kan være nogen trøst, har min motivation også nogle gange lidt en smule under arbejdsbyrde på uni og arbejde, men jeg kommer altid tilbage til bøgerne. Bloggen har helt klart hjulpet mig igennem de lidt træge tider. Er du selvstuderende, eller følger du et hold?

      1. hcriis

        Pt. er jeg selvstuderende, men tog beslutningen sidste år at flytte til Korea, hvor jeg studerede 2 semestre (af 6) og formåede at bestå både level 1a og 2. Det var hårdt når man ikke havde kendskab til andet end hangul, undervisning udelukkende koreansk og en anden undervisningsstil. Men bestod “개근” og var ganske tilfreds efterfølgende. Men at holde motivationen her I DK er ikke så nemt. Hvor I landet er du bosat? Spørger fordi du skriver at der ikke er undervisning nær dig, men du har language exhange? Skriv evt. Til min mail, for ikke at spamme dit kommentarfelt 🙂

  6. Monica

    Hi there! I just found your blog, and I’m taking my first TOPIK I test tomorrow! I’m hoping to pass through level two so I can focus on TOPIK II, but I feel like taking the actual exam will be a long way away. I currently live in Korea, but I lived in Japan for a while before I came here, and I definitely studied more when I was not living here, so I’m trying to motivate myself more, even though grad school keeps me busy. Anyway, thanks for sharing your Korean study experiences!

    1. koreanlearner Post author

      Hi Monica, thanks for commenting 🙂 I just followed you back – I look forward to reading more 🙂
      Wow, how exciting! Even if you studied more when living abroad, I’m sure actually hearing the language on a daily basis helps a lot more than you realise. The combination of grad school and language learning is a tough one – I’ve struggled a lot with that combination so I know exactly what you mean. Good luck tomorrow!

  7. Casterra

    Nice blog that you have! Chanced upon your blog and I think that you are really awesome and talented to have known so many languages! Have followed you! Excited to read more of your posts! 😀

  8. Joris Vankerschaver

    Hi, reading about your passion for Korean and all the things that you uncovered in the language and culture always gave me a huge kick to keep up with my Korean studies (even though I’m maybe at 5% of you). I hope you can keep posting (perhaps about the challenges of combining studying Korean with a fulltime job ;)), but I understand if that’s not the case. Thanks for all the great posts so far!

  9. hoidesu

    Hejsa. Er dette stadig en aktiv blog? Er der mulighed for, på nogen måde, at kontakte dig? Har simpelthen så mange spørgsmål, hvad angår din experience omkring det at lære koreansk.

    m.v.h Hoi


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