I must admit, of all tasks I had to complete before coming to Seoul, choosing the right school was the most difficult one. The course offer in Seoul is huge! After careful research and with the help of my Korean friends, I finally opted for a small private school located in Apgujeong. Price, flexibility and the size of the school played an important role in my choice. The school offers monthly courses for each level of expertise (ten in total), private and even Skype lessons. Because I did not want to commit to a long term course this was my best choice.
Wearing Hanbok, the traditional Korean dress. The school offered us a tour at Gyeongbokgung Palace
The first day I arrived at the school, my level of Korean – both written and spoken – was tested and I got placed in the second group with four Japanese girls. We immediately bonded and became study buddies. Despite finding the second level grammatically a little too simple, it was great to train my speaking and writing skills. The small size of the class allowed the teacher to focus on each one of us and the environment was so friendly that she even shared her Kakao ID, in case we had questions or wanted to practice a little in our free time.
On my way to school, streets look so beautiful in Spring.
Each day we would study two or three grammar principles and new vocabulary…it sounds like a lot but classes were so entertaining that I did not even notice. Teachers aim at covering one level per month, so we would get daily homework and get tested twice a week – so yes, we were really forced to study everyday! It worked, because I passed my final test and next week I will begin the third level.
Break time, checking homework
Since I have now experienced both studying as an autodidact and with a teacher, what is my opinion about the two? Studying alone was fun and easy. The internet offers a lot of good resources to learn Korean for free. I did not have schedules or homework, and could set my own pace. Nonetheless, the improvement I made during this only month in Korea showed me that there is no better way to study than with a teacher. The teacher answered all my questions and checked my spelling and my pronunciation. It would have been impossible to do it alone! In addition to this, many schools also offer free conversation classes and organise fun activities to make students bond with each other. The learning process is definitely more fun and useful!