Today I met with my language partner for the first time in three weeks, as she’s been traveling alone around Germany and Austria for two weeks. We met for two hours and it was probably the most productive language practice session I’ve ever had.

Last time, we agreed that I should start practicing my writing skills by writing Korean essays so she could look them over when we met. For today I had written an essay based on a previous TOPIK question “내가 존경하는 사람”. Of course there were more mistakes than I had hoped, but the good thing was that I had written all the honorifics correctly. Since I wrote about my beloved grandmother who passed away a few months ago, the correct use of honorifics is specifically important in order to convey proper respect for a senior family member.

Having gone over my essay with a red marker, we then proceeded to reading an Iyagi with the theme “매력적인 남자” (attractive men) ^^ Yep, learning has to be fun right. Btw if you type these two words into google picture search, 송승헌 is ranking quite high on the list. So, that should effectively prove that I’m not the only one on this planet of that opinion.^^ ㅋㅋㅋ

Anyway, before I release my inner fangirl completly I should stick to the most important part of the story. So, as we were sitting in the library main hall reading the Iyagi lesson out loud we were suddenly approached by a Korean girl, who said that she couldn’t help overhear our conversation, and just wanted to say hi. We were slightly embarrassed as we had been talking quite freely about what is considered attractive among men, being absolutely certain that no one around us would understand. But she was super sweet and even complimented me by taking me for an advanced Korean learner. I politely explained to her that what she had heard was just me reading from a text which is considerably easier than speaking freely. But of course her comment still made me happy. Bonus: I got to introduce myself as 소희 for the first time. ^^

After having chit-chatted a bit with the other Korean girl who then had to leave, we finished the Iyagi lesson and progressed to addressing my weakest point – free conversation. In my language partner’s absence I had practiced my Korean speaking skills by talking to myself, shadowing audio, or dramas, singing Kpop songs in the shower, and of course saying a lot of random Korean sentences to my husband (which btw annoys him greatly ^^). But nothing can really compare to having a real native speaker in front of you, so I was eager to practice carrying out a real conversation. We started out by talking about what I had been doing over the past weeks, and what I had read in the papers, and from that we suddenly came around all kinds of things like how she met her boyfriend, how my husband proposed, the Korean political system, the Sewol ferry tragedy which happened exactly a year ago today, corruption, funny accents, and the weather. Quite a combination, I know, but man what an effective exercise. She is super patient and encouraging which makes speaking in Korean so much easier. She even said that she could hear from the flow in my speech that I had progressed a lot over the past few weeks. Yay. I left the session feeling incredibly happy. I cannot wait until next Thursday.

On an unrelated (but still somewhat Korean) note, I recently started streaming the drama 남자가 사랑할 때 on Netflix only to find out yesterday that it had suddenly been removed. Arghhh %#&@>?! Why? It’s a good thing I have Dramafever then. 화이팅!

3 Comments »

  1. Hi Sofie, I’m inspired by your post. I have tried language exchange a couple of times but was never successful. Most of the time we ended up talking in English. I wonder if there is a “right” time to start language exchange. I am at beginner’s level and currently only study level 2 in using TTMIK online lessons. Or I should wait until I am more “advanced” before I try language exchange again. Many thanks.

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    • Good question. I started my first language exchange after having studied for about 3 months. Then I obviously couldn’t carry a conversation as I can today, but it was still helpful. With my first partner I would read out loud from my beginner’s textbook and then he would correct my pronunciation. Even though you may not be able to speak, you can still learn a great deal about the language and the culture. If you have access to a language exchange you should go for it! I wish you all the best! ^^

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