Another 3 months or so have passed and it is yet time again for tests and leveling up, this time into the intermediate level where it’s apparently all about honorifics and more challenging stuff. This journey of learning the Korean language has been an interestingly enriching one: not only am I learning a new language but I (have) also gain(ed) new friends. And this is also the first time for a test that I scored full marks! Guess those late nights studying paid off somehow. lol
As much as I dread homework, tests and exams, they are the only tools for any indication of how well you have understood what you have learnt. And since there is no more stress of having to achieve good grades (unlike in a 'real' school environment), for me it is minus the stress and double the fun learning because results are not everything; it is what you have learnt and realize/understand where you went wrong that indicates how well you have understood a subject. Unfortunately, parents and children, even some adults, nowadays focus too much on results and get too competitive (comparing) just to get the higher the better grades, regardless of how they get there: dead memorizing is all good but when you are thrown in out-of-textbook situations, that’s when the crunch of what you have studied comes into (good) use.
Anyways, for the level up test (to intermediate) this time, I decided not to buy the textbook from the school but online instead (it is cheaper by at least S$8!). Like I mentioned before, I do not have that much of ‘self-discipline’ for self-studying so I chose a language school that was the most convenient and relatively affordable. Being affordable and having quality is one thing, but when the school cuts the number of lessons from 13+exam to 12+exam ‘silently’ for the same price, the ones who are paying feel the ‘pinch’ and ‘value’ perception drops.
Although it was updated in the latest terms and conditions, they never did make it a point to actually announce the change before anything was signed, nor was there any indication/reminder for such a change – nothing wrong on the school’s part as a business, but it just goes to show as consumers, we have to be alert and cautious.
Still, despite that, on the school front, I am thankful that I have met good friends and have good teachers that really made me… well… learn. I have also realized that getting a good teacher (one that has a good/compatible pace and spurs you to learn the language) and classmates (who are competitive in a friendly way, don’t endlessly compare in bad way, and can encourage each other to enhance the learning experience) might be happenstance for some (but for me, I believe it was because I prayed/asked for it; things like that are usually out of our hands anyways so it doesn’t hurt to pray/ask).
Having said all that and after almost a year at this, what I find amazing is that I can somewhat understand/read simple sentences in Korean. Although I would need to muster some courage to actually speak (I’m shy that way hahaha), I think it is coming along nicely. Well, here’s to more studying and hopefully having a simple conversation, managing to read a simple book in Korean and watching a show without subtitles; ultimately understanding Korean!