I used to have a perfectly planned study routine. One hour of reading in the morning, podcasts throughout the day, grammar points and chapters in textbooks to study in the afternoon and evening. It’s worked like that for a long time but recently it seems I can’t make myself stick to it. I’m still studying Korean (in many ways harder than ever) but I find that I’m freestyling it a lot more these days. This week I’ve been reading a bit less, simply because I started reading a much harder book. I’m currently reading a Korean translation of “The 100-year-old who climbed out the window and disappeared” (the Korean title is 창문 넘어 도망친 100세 노인). I’m currently some 20 pages in and enjoying it so far but compared to the other Korean books I’ve read, it seems slightly more difficult. Which is a good thing, since I need to keep pushing! As for my textbooks, I studied a bit with them over the weekend, vowing to once more include them in my daily routine. That lasted until Monday! So what am I really doing if I claim to still be studying?
I read a lot of news articles online, look up new words and make mental notes of them. I listen to Korean audiobooks and podcasts and songs all day long. I chat and speak for hours with my Korean LP several times per week. I watch Korean dramas. I write Korean essays. I think in Korean. I dream in Korean. This week, I even gave an interview in Korean. (I’ll be sure to post the video here when it’s been edited). I certainly have Korean incorporated into my everyday life more than ever. So, why can’t I make myself stick to my textbooks? I’ve reached the advanced level in my KLEAR textbook series but contrary to the other books, this volume seems boring. This textbook is merely a collection of original Korean texts like newspaper articles and speaches and there are no dialogues whatsoever to practice with. I know that as an advanced learner I should be able to handle this and I’m not saying it’s too hard, I just find it boring. And boring is bad for my study motivation.
Now the big question is “Is it a bad thing that I’ve digressed from my study plan?” I don’t think so. It would have been bad if I’ve given up all together. But I still immerse myself into Korean in every possible way, I soak up new words and expressions, I challenge myself to say extremely complex sentences, and I feel increasingly comfortable doing so. At least until yesterday when my LP interrupted me and told me to seriously get my topic/object markers straight if I had any ambition about making any sense at all in Korean. Quote: “What you say is very… how do I say 헷갈리다? “Confusing”, thanks!” Only after I had repeated the same fairly long sentence 5(!) times did he seem satisfied. Well, practice makes perfect.
My point is that I’m still learning, but I’ve found new ways and methods that I enjoy more than just cramming textbooks. After all, learning a language should be fun. If you don’t have fun in the process, you won’t be able to stay on track. I’ve therefore decided that while I’m not allowed to study any less, I alone am in charge about how I study. And I still keep improving, so apparently this works too.
This weekend I’ll be rewatching the first two episodes of the new Korean drama 태양의 후예 (Descendants of the sun). It’s just spectacular, and I can’t wait until they release two new episodes next week. I love the story, the main couple, the setting, the soundtrack! It’s just all soooo good! It also seems that for once they have managed to write a Korean male lead character who is not acting like a complete jerk to his significant other all the time. This guy is so charming, and I couldn’t stop laughing at a cute scene where he’s holding up two identical(!) military uniform jackets, asking his soldier friends which one looks better so that he may impress the girl he has a crush on.
To brighten up your Friday, here’s another song from the awesome soundtrack. I’ve added the version with the lyrics in the video, so feel free to sing along. It’s a real feel-good song.