Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Getting the hang of Hangul

I signed up for the Level 1 Intensive Korean class at the YMCA. It was a bit pricey but so far I'm really enjoying it. Even though it means that two nights a week I go from school straight downtown (to have dinner with classmates beforehand) and only get home at 10.

It's ok. You can use traditional Korean methods to stay awake at work.
At first I emailed them but it didn't seem to be working as their English website is horribly out of date and they're pretty busy. Their emails are mostly used for informing students en masse of important things. In the end, I went in person, signed up and paid cash. They're located near Banwoldang station (I forget the exit number but it should have a YMCA sign on it). They do have a card machine but they prefer you to pay cash for the books. W180 000 for intensive classes and I think the books were W25 000.

The class is small, with about 9 students. Almost all of them are from my Epik Orientation group, so we're getting along swimmingly. There's a mixture of levels, with some people having studied on their own beforehand, and some people being fresh off the boat, having just arrived in Korea this week. Everyone seems pretty patient. I knew going in that we'd be starting from scratch, as I'm not quite at the next level yet, so I joined the bottom level class. I still learn something new every lesson.

The lessons are about two hours long, with a ten minute break in which (if you're fast enough to get it while stocks last) you can snort coffee and shoot yourself full of tea.

The first week, we had 44 pages of homework. They weren't kidding when they decided to call it 'Intensive'. It was mostly learning to write the Korean alphabet, though, so it was quick and easy. This week the level went up quite a bit - there seems to be a steep learning curve - but there were fewer pages to do.

I can now introduce myself, talk about my job, and ask someone if they're a Russian prostitute.

Because all foreigners are Russian, and all Russians are prostitutes, of course. 
Still, I'm having fun and it seems to be worthwhile. Having forked out money for it, and being in such a small class, at least it's giving me some kind of driving motivation to keep up with my Korean learning.

If you missed this round, the next one runs from July 1st to August 29th.

In other news, I'm rushing frantically to get my Open Class lesson ready for next Monday, I accidentally bought a puzzle that takes up my whole apartment's floor space, and I've been having fun discovering amazing little secret restaurants all over the city. I might just have to start doing some proper restaurant reviews. All in good time, when I have more of it.


  1. It's gate 14 of Banwoldang station to get to the YMCA. If you exit out gate 13 BECAUSE THERE'S AN ESCALATOR!look to your left when you reach the top and you'll see it. Of course, you have to cross the street to get there.

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