Studying for the Retest… Sucks!

Next Tuesday I have my speaking retest that covers the entirety of level 2, which means that during my vacation I have been studying instead of touristing or resting which is really what I would like to be doing. I mean let’s face it who really want to be studying during their vacation… Actually I have one friend who really, really likes studying and spends her weekends and vacation studying. But let’s just agree that she’s the exception. Now if I had to study for any of the other tests: reading, listening or grammar this wouldn’t be so difficult but studying for speaking alone is really hard I mean how do you even practice speaking alone?

Actually I haven’t really been working on my speaking perse since my biggest issue is remembering vocabulary I’ve been trying to work on that. Unfortunately I have yet to find what works for me and continue to simply write and write and re write the words and then forget them 10 minutes later it’s very frustrating. I see the word, and I know that I know what it is but I can’t remember it. The words that I do remember are the words I hear daily, or certain words that I’ve heard in dramas and have for some reason or another associated to a certain scene in that drama so I remember it. I try to use Anki (which is an app to help you learn and memorize words) but I’m terrible at actually using it daily which doesn’t make it as useful. I’ve googled how to memorize vocabulary more times than I care to admit and the same techniques keep coming up but I can’t seem to apply them since I have no imagination to come up with stories to associate to words…

I’ve asked a number of my friends how they go about memorizing words and they all either seem to have better memories than I do or don’t really know how they go about it. This problem has already caused me to fall behind quite a bit so I’ll have to find a solution quickly before it crushes me… Maybe some of you reading this have had experience with this and have suggestions?? I’m running out of places to look to find a solution…

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Seoul Lantern Festival

After the last day of finals I went with some classmates to the Seoul lantern festival for some much needed R&R. After too much time spent studying this past weekend and the past few days before that we needed so time to do something totally unrelated to school. Here are some pictures. One of the themes of the festival this year was the Olympics so there were a few depictions of the two Olympics mascots in some of the various sports

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Level 2: Review and grades…maybe

Level 1 was hard, I mean we all just started learning a new language so we started with the alphabet and how to write and all that, but I had already learned all the sounds and pronunciation before coming so it wasn’t that bad. At least in the beginning, you know , when that’s all we were learning; so maybe for the first week or so? After that we started getting into vocabulary and grammar but even then our first teacher in level 1 threw in some English words here and there and all the vocabulary was written on pieces of paper with a translation in English, Chinese and Japanese. Because I mean, at this point how else do you explain to a class full of people who all speak a different language what 사과 (apple) means, actually it also means apologize…

At some point, I’m not really sure when exactly but the paper with the translations disappeared and the grammar got that much more complicated. In our books there is always an English (Japanese or Chinese depending on which is your native language, if you speak another language I’m afraid you’re out of luck) explanations on the grammar patterns, but sometimes the translations are so bad I have no idea what they are trying to say. Sometimes the practice we go through in class is helpful for this, the teacher asks us each a question which we have to answer using that days grammar pattern, and sometimes that helps it click for me. And then other times I’m still completely clueless when I leave class, those days are depressing. Those days I ask some of my friends to explain it to me and so far every time I’ve managed to understand.

Between level 1 and level 2 though it feels like there was such a big gap, and from what I’ve heard from other students that gap is even bigger between level 2 and level 3. There are 6 levels but there are also three categories if you will: beginner (1-2), intermediate (3-4) and advanced (5-6). So whenever you jump from one category to the next the gap widens even more then the usual gap that already seems to exists between levels.

OK enough blabbering on… I’m sure you’re all wondering how I did on my exams, I know I was. In fact I had absolutely no idea how I did on my exams. OK that’s a lie, I felt like I didn’t get the grade I needed to pass on my reading and also felt like I completely messed up my speaking test and spouted some nonsensical sentence at my teacher on the first question. But apparently I didn’t do as badly as I thought. I passed, everything except speaking which I will have to retest for just before next term… Should make for a super exciting holiday filled with studying 😦

Nami Island and Petite France

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Disclaimer… I messed up the settings of my camera at the beginning of the day and have, as of yet been, unable to fix this very annoying mistake. Needless to say when I got home and noticed that my camera pictures looked worse than my phone pictures I was more than a little pissed. Anywhooo, after a little research I did find out what my mistake was and I will not be making it again but it does leave me with some terribly grainy pictures.

One of my level 1 classmates is from Vietnam, lately she is always cold, mainly because where she comes from the coldest it ever gets is 20 degrees Celsius. And even then she sometimes find that cold, and these days the temperature hovers around 5-10 degrees maybe. Personally I like it it’s amazing weather for mid November. But anyway, I digress, since she’s from a warm country she’s never seen the fall colours so 2-3 weeks ago we went to Namsan on a random weekday to see the changing leaves. Well we were very disappointed as the mountain was about 2/3 still green. In her hunt for fall leaves she found a tour package for a day at Nami island and Petite France.

Since the tour took a whole day we had to book on a weekend , which isn’t ideal as there would be tons of people but we weren’t about to miss classes for that. Another of our classmates also joined us for the tour. Nami Island was very pretty and there were a lot of fall colours for my friend to see. We some bunnies, some weird looking sculptures, lots and lots of snowmen and took lots of pictures. We had some Korean sausage, which was a little disappointing and had some delicious Italian pizza.

After Nami Island we went to Petite France, which was a little weird I thought. I meant there was the Petit Prince and that was about the extent of the Frenchness of the place. They were playing some music but it wasn’t French, there were some antiques and some sculptures which seemed more Italian than French. The view however was very nice so I guess that’s why we went?

Exam season again

This is going to be short…

It’s exam season again, finals start tomorrow to be exact so I’ve some studying to do but I’ve been really quiet of late so I thought I’d at least post this. I do have a few things I want to write about like my trip to Nami Island and a possible upcoming trip to the DMZ so stay tuned for that.

And of course there will probably be a post exam post, though we don’t get our grade back until next Wednesday so you’ll have to stay in suspense for that one. I might do the Nami post after day 2 of exams on Monday though, that sounds like a pretty good plan.

The Olympics and hockey

As you all know by now I’ve been in Korea for about 5 months now, and plan to stay… probably for another year, at least that’s the current plan. And you should also all know that the winter Olympics are in Korea in Feb 2018. Seeing as I plan to be here during the Olympics, I looked into getting some tickets to a game. Thankfully, not sure that’s the right word, but anyway there are some tickets left to many of the events.  There are even tickets left for some of the more popular events and some of the medal games also.

Being Canadian, a hockey fan and a hockey player myself I want to go see the women’s hockey at the Olympics! Today, I thought to myself why keep waiting, book now! So I went back on the site and have now officially reserved a ticket to the women’s hockey gold medal game, yup that’s right the gold medal game! Woohoo! OMG though, Canada had better be in the finals lol.

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Sorry I had to brag, I’m so looking forward to going! 😀

OMG it’s been 12 days

I knew it had been a while since I posted…. I spoke to my parents earlier today and they mentioned that some people were enjoying reading my blog; that made me realize I hadn’t posted in a while. Ok so I guess I have a few updates then.

We had the song competition last week, and my class won 3rd place out of the 12 classes, yay! I’m not really sure what we were evaluated on (probably pronunciation and accuracy I guess??). Anyway we won so we all got a pretty blue Yonsei hand towel as a present. Surprisingly there wasn’t much drama in my class with the singing competition but some classes did and ended up having only a few people participate.

I had a class today, yes it’s Saturday! They asked us all who wanted to come help out at the language school 1-2 weeks ago and I gave my name since we would get the level 3 reading book for our participation (I like free things). At the time I didn’t really know what I was signing up for just that it would be 2 hours on a Saturday. Turns out we were to help future Korean language teachers, they practiced teaching us. It was basically the same thing we usually do in class in a shorter version and with many teachers. Worth it for the free book I think. But OMG the texts are so long in this book, I have no idea how I’ll be able to read these in level 3…

I recently looked at the calendar and realized that finals are in 2 weeks eeek! Guess I’ll have to get to studying if I want to pass. We have another conversation exam just prior to the exams that’s worth 20% of our grade and I’ll be working on that with my partner tomorrow.