Second day at Sogang University

Nope..I'm not gonna blog daily about my life in Sogang University. Scratch that thought..hehe. This will be on and off, as and when I feel like blurting it out here.

Today the traffic was better as I arrived at Sogang University around 8.20am and I was the first to arrive! Yeay! Not a good one..if only I get an award for being punctual you know. ^^ The journey to and fro definitely drained my energy. I subconsciously told myself that it's gonna be okay with time. This is just the beginning. 2 hours in, 2 hours out. 4 hours man...walking, riding bus and subway. Yippie..I will be slimmer in no time! Will I? Hmm..

Today's breakfast was two fried eggs and just plain water. Initially I was quite reluctant to eat breakfast at 6.30a.m. Why? I don't want natures calling me at a very 'appropriate' time like while waiting for the jam-packed train, right? That would be too evil! hehe..but I didn't have the heart to say no to Min Young's mother. Aigoo...

Anyway, today's lesson was a bit complex to explain. I don't want to judge Sogang University's Korean language program but I think I should do this especially for those who decides to jump over to Sogang from other university's program or start afresh here. Sogang University Korean Language program is a highly interactive program.

What is an interactive program?

  • Study the chapter, grammar and vocabulary before class
  • Review the chapter, grammar and vocabulary after class
  • Do the homework after class
  • Do all the talking within the allocated 4 hours - don't even dream to open your books in the class
I highly recommend that you take the 4 hours program instead of 3 hours. Some would say that they want to skip the writing class because they just want to speak Korean. However, after going through the writing class I feel that writing in Korean will definitely help you speak and recognize Korean words faster.

Some of my classmates live in goshiwon, alone and hardly know any Korean who could practise speaking Korean with them. But don't worry as that's the reason why we have teachers. Ask as much question as possible so the teachers would know how good your pronunciation is. I think it was pretty useless to practise speaking Korean with my classmates or non Korean. My last sentence was a bit harsh but it's the truth if you really want to be fluent and good in Korean.

Hmm..textbooks. To buy or not to buy? It's not cheap. Although the teachers told you to bring the textbooks, they were hardly opened in class. Why? Because you need to practise the sentences and communicate while in class. Period. Basically you must know all the vocabularies and grammars from the textbook for the chapter of the day before you come to class. Otherwise you will be struggling and creasing your eyebrows. This is not gonna help you at all.

I was a bit dejected though when some of the students spoke English rather than trying to speak in Korean. I know it's hard. But please.. don't give in to the desire to switch to English when you experience mind block to explain something in Korean.

This is a very crucial point that I want to highlight. Please..please find Korean friends before you come to Korea to study and try to meet them regularly in Korea. Or it's even better if you choose homestay with Korean family where you could practise polite Korean with the elderly and informal Korean with the younger ones. There's no point in studying Korean if you don't want to practise it right? The more you practise the easier the new words sink in. Make mistakes inside classes, outside of classes, anywhere so you will remember more. "Ahh..so this is how you say it!" It happened to me so many times and I feel great after I corrected it and when I speak, it feels more natural than something coming out straight from a textbook.

I forgot to mention yesterday that the teacher gave out an impromptu test for grammar. She told us that if we got less than 50% from the result, we might need to rethink whether we are suitable for Level 2 yet. I was a bit scared as I didn't know how or what was the grammar learned in Level 1. Today, the result was out and Alhamdulillah I pretty much nailed down the grammar with only 2 mistakes due to my writing error not because that I wasn't familiar with the grammar. It was still a careless mistake which I should avoid in future.

By the way, the food at Sogang University's cafe  is very cheap! About 1,800 won to 2,500 won for a meal. But after asking the ahjussi at the canteen; all the food consist meat and the soup as well. T_T I can say bye bye to budget food. However, my classmates hate the food there as they are bland and tasteless. You get what you pay for anyway.