Helo welcom 2 my websight
Warning: First World problems ahead
So far I’ve mostly been sharing stuff about my life here that would actually be interesting to you guys, but nowadays I’ve got so much pent up frustration that I just wanna throw it out here. Although Korea in general is awesome, and I’m extremely lucky to actually be getting paid to study here, it’s definitely not all rainbows and kittens.
Aside from the lack of money (we get ₩900,000 a month, which is a lot when you’re living in the dormitory, but not when your rent is 300, food expenses are 250, your mobile phone costs 50, internet 16 and your electricity and gas bill are about 100) my main problem is the change in the way we’re learning Korean at school.
As you know, we have to go to school every single weekday to study the exact same thing every day which is enough to drive any sane person insane in the first place, but where I was kind of starting to dislike Korean last month when we had 6 hours of class every day and several hours of homework, what we’re doing now is making me actively want to avoid the language altogether. Last month, even though it was extremely tiring, I still had the feeling I was learning a language. The teachers tried their best to keep us from going crazy and keep us interested day in day out and even though I wanted to give up multiple times because it was just too much I managed to motivate myself to get it all done (although haphazardly, but blame Keimyung’s excellent planning (doing what you’d normally do in two months in one month) for that).
This semester though…where do I begin.. Basically, it’s everything I hated about level 3 all rolled into one with a 4 stamped on it. Where we were forced to move fast in level 3 because of the ridiculous planning, we’re moving fast now because ‘it’s better’. Where teachers sometimes didn’t want to take the time to explain certain words (once again because of Keimyung), we now get basically no explanation and a ‘just look it up in the dictionary’ if we ask questions. Where the classroom used to be at least slightly interesting, now everyone does nothing but stare at their notes or at the teacher like a mindless zombie, writing shit down and not asking any questions. And why would they? I tried a few times, but it seems the new teacher either isn’t very used to teaching, has no idea how much we know/don’t know, or both of the above. Her explanations are often more difficult to follow than the actual word she’s trying to explain, she seems to dislike explaining anything but the bare minimum you need to kind of know what something is and when someone wants to know more she tells them she’ll talk about that ‘later’ and then never does.
The main problem is that nowadays we’re not learning Korean anymore – we started learning how to pass the Test Of Proficiency In Korean (TOPIK). TOPIK already reared its ugly head in level 3, but it was possible to just tune out and do something more useful when 선생님 went on one of her tangents. Now, however, basically 80% of all class hours are dedicated to this monstrosity. In pure Korean style, we are now studying to pass a test on a language instead of studying the actual language itself so we can pass the test.
This is why Koreans are so amazing at speaking English.
Today we literally (seriously, I’m not joking) had a class on how to guess in what order sentences should be arranged without understanding anything about the content. Because why would you want to know what anything means? All you need to do is pass TOPIK!I know this way of thinking makes sense to some (or maybe most?) of my classmates, since they won’t be studying in Korean, but I will. So I actually care if those 8 different grammars (no shit, this seriously happened today too) mean ‘the same’ or not. And of course they don’t because if they did why would there be 8 of them? However the students don’t care, the teachers don’t care, and I’m not supposed to care. I should just sit there, memorize that those 8 ways of saying something are ‘basically the same thing’ and pick the correct answer on the practice test.
So yeah, I get grumpy as fuck every single day because I can feel my love for the Korean language being sucked out of me by this soulless way of teaching and yeah, I feel bad for both my classmates and my teachers because I’m becoming a giant dick in the classroom. I explained to my teacher how I see things and that I don’t see the use of these classes, and she was sympathetic but all she could say was “Well tough shit, we all have to do this” which is true of course and something that I guess I should somehow deal with. But until I can, I’ll be eating myself from the inside out every day and I’ll just be hoping Korean will become fun and interesting again sometime soon.
Classmates, please pass TOPIK soon.