Life @ U of T

Everything I’m Using to Learn Korean: Textbooks, Tutoring, K-Dramas and More

One of the biggest language tips I’ve heard is to find people who speak the language you’re learning and converse with them in it. For instance, I can go into a Korean grocery store and engage in Korean with the cashier. As an introvert, though, that never happens. I know I’ll probably only speak in Korean when I absolutely have to (aka when I study abroad in Korea). So how do I do it? How does my introverted self acquire a foreign language?

A bit about my background, I officially started learning Korean in the summer of 2020. As an East Asian Studies major, we have a East Asian language requirement where we have to complete at least a 200-level course. So I enrolled myself in EAS211 – Accelerated Korean I and II. I had a Korean textbook from a summer language class I dropped before second year that I used all summer to prepare for EAS211. I spent all of third-year learning Korean intensively and completing the EAS211, I can proceed to intermediate level of Korean.

But I am so far from intermediate.

Korean language textbook, Beginning 1
Korean language textbook, Beginning 2
The books I use to review!

Fast forward, I took an unnecessarily long break from Korean once the winter 2021 semester ended and I’ve only spent the last two months reviewing everything I’ve learned. I realized that I couldn’t dive into intermediate level without reviewing the crucial basics first. Aside from reviewing my notes and the textbooks I am:

Watching a lot of K-dramas and variety shows. It might sound silly but when you’re an introvert, they really help to get acquainted with the sound of the language and pick up slang and lingo that I’m not exposed to in the textbook. I do so much reading and writing that I neglect my auditory retention of the language and consuming Korean content is one way of doing it. I focus on listening before reading the subtitles immediately and it’s been helping.

Netflix K-Drama "Nevertheless", cherry blossom trees at night
What I’m currently watching!

Taking up tutoring. I used iTalki, a website for dedicated language tutors and teachers who offer class packages at affordable rates, to find my tutor. This was definitely a gamechanger for me in my language journey. I make lots of mistakes when conversing in Korean with my tutor but it’s increasingly helping me to improve my confidence and retention of the language. Again, I’m so used to putting the language to pen and paper that I can get so lost when I try to converse from mouth. Having a tutor forced me to step out of my comfort zone; while it was the most costly investment I’d say it was a worthwhile one.

screenshot of language tutoring website

I learned that you can read countless textbooks and manuals on a language, but you’ll always miss out on that conversational aspect and I think that closes a lot of doors for what someone could learn in a language. In tutoring, I’m learning more about culture and differences in social norms between Canada and South Korea and it affects my Korean language learning positively.

0 comments on “Everything I’m Using to Learn Korean: Textbooks, Tutoring, K-Dramas and More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *