Anonymous of Holland            -A Dutchman in Korea-

    Helo welcom 2 my websight

All is quiet on the Eastern Front

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.

Do it for her

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.
Please.

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6 comments on “All is quiet on the Eastern Front

  1. MatJib_hunters
    11 March 2015

    Dear God, you poor soul!!! I feel for you ㅋㅋㅋ Do you have Korean friends you can practice with?

    • Anon Of Holland
      14 March 2015

      My girlfriend is Korean, so technically I should probably be improving faster than most but…no such luck.
      Well, I say luck but I guess I’m just not really comfortable speaking a language I don’t completely understand. With the European languages that I know it’s okay to guess grammar or words sometimes, but in Korean that just doesn’t fly so I have some trouble with it.

  2. Margaux
    12 March 2015

    welcome to korea~ waar resultaat belangrijkers is dan al het andere! (zelfs zo erg dat professoren rustig iedereen een punt extra geven als eindcijfer omdat ze dan beter lijken, beter voor de studenten is, en voor de schoolranking)

    • Anon Of Holland
      14 March 2015

      De reden dat we geen vakantie hadden in Februari is omdat Keimyung’s TOPIK scores laag waren de afgelopen jaren dus ze willen ons nu academisch afbeulen lol.

  3. Pingback: 가정은 마음이 있는 곳이다 | Anonymous of Holland           -A Dutchman in Korea-

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This entry was posted on 10 March 2015 by in Korea, Studies and tagged , , , , .

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Forgotten Tomes

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One of the many things I love about Korea is that it has way more 'themed stores' than my own country. For some reason, some companies or brands such as Ghibli, Gundam, Kakao or, as in these pictures, Line, decide to spend millions creating beautiful flagship locations that feel like a mix of an exhibition space and a regular store.

This was the first time I visited the Line store in Itaewon since I'm not very interested in either Line nor Itaewon, but it was definitely a really cute sight to behold.
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#Korea #SouthKorea #Seoul #Seoul_Korea #Line #Kakao #LineFriends #LineStore #Store #Shop #Shops #Stores #Brand #Messenger #LineMessenger #Itaewon #LineFriendsItaewon
#서울 #이태원 #라인 #라인프렌즈 #카카오 #가게 #스토어 #라인스토어 #브랜드 A Gangnam view from the offices of my eye clinic, which is incidentally the reason I haven't posted anything in a while; I've been "busy" recovering from LASEK!

If you're interested in the process of getting vision correction surgery in Korea, check out my latest blog post. There's a link in my bio, or you can Google 'Anonymous of Holland'.
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#Korea #SouthKorea #Seoul #Seoul_Korea #Gangnam #Sinnonhyeon #BGNEyeClinic #BGN #Eyeclinic #LASEK #LASIK #SMILE #Laservisioncorrection #Visioncorrection #Cityscape #City #Skyline #Simcity #visit_korea #ig_korea
#밝은눈안과 #강남 #신논현 #서울 #대한민국 #라섹 #라식 #스마일 #도시 #도시경관 While we were still huddled around campfires to keep warm, Koreans had already invented an ingenious system of stone passages beneath their homes that provided heating by redirecting warm smoke, and later water.

Now, ondol heating is a staple of any building, no matter how high or low the rent. As a Dutchman, floor heating has always been something associated with 'fancy people', so it's petty nice to be able to enjoy warm feet in cold winters like this one myself.
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#Korea #SouthKorea #Palace #fortress #Koreanpalace #traditional #ondol #heating #floorheating #history #Namhansanseong #Asia #snow #historical #kasteel #burcht #UploadKorea #geschiedenis #verwarming #vloerverwarming
#온돌 #대한민국 #남한산성 #요새 #전통 #역사 #한국 #눈 Buddhism has an ever increasing following in Korea, in spite of the extreme popularity of Christianity. As an outsider, it's strange to me how traditional Confucian values and Buddhist teachings can live hand in hand with a modernizing society and the vastly different beliefs of a Western religion, but somehow, people here make it work.

The atmosphere of a Korean temple couldn't be more different from that of a European church or cathedral. Whereas a church makes one feel close to God, a temple makes one feel close to nature.
Perhaps that's why I love them so much.
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#Korea #SouthKorea #Namhansanseong #Temple #Koreantemple #religion #Buddhism #Buddha #Buddhist #Buddhisttemple #Traditional #snow #Buddhisme #ZuidKorea #Confucius #Confucian #Christian #Christianity #Church #Cathedral
#대한민국 #남한산성 #불교 #절 #사찰 #석가모니 #전통 #종교 #기독 #기독교 There are lots of relics from the past strewn around all over the Korean peninsula, but I was really surprised when my 형 showed me Namhansan - a real (fake) traditional town that acted as an emergency palace for some time, surrounded by ancient walls and less ancient hiking trails.

It was probably my imagination, but the air did smell cleaner over there on the snow covered mountain where we found this small temple.
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#Korea #SouthKorea #Temple #Koreantemple #Namhansanseong #Traditional #architecture #Buddhism #Buddhist #Buddhisttemple #snow #ig_korea #ig_asia #mountain #tempel #Buddhisme #ZuidKorea
#대한민국 #절 #불교 #남한산성 #전통 #눈 #산 #외국인 #네덜란드 #사찰 It's a miracle that Dark made it through to the round of 16. Not because his play wasn't amazing (his hold against Trap's shield battery rush was simply phenomenal), but because it's like having me as a fan is like death's kiss; the players I love never seem to win anything when I'm there to cheer them on!

RIP Byun, please come back stronger and harder next season.
Congratulations Dark, for beating my curse! 계속계속 응원하겠습니다!
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#Starcraft #Starcraft2 #SC2 #GSL #esport #esports #progamer #gaming #Zerg #Protoss #Dark #Trap #Byun #interview
#스타크래프트 #스타크래프트2 #스타2 #e스포츠 #아프리카 #아프리카tv #프로게이머 #게임 #게이밍 #게이머 #변현우 #박령우 #조성호 #저그 #프로토스 #인터뷰
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