I’ve always loved the early fall with its changing of the colors, the crisp air, and the “back to school” feel of everything. I always feel compelled to buy pens and notebooks this time of year and I’m so happy that, as a teacher, it’s a perfectly valid thing for me to do.
While everything seems to be radiating “back to school”, I think we can all agree that nothing is back to normal. Quite the contrary. Making plans even a week or two into the future seems futile because who knows what will be cancelled or closed by then. The same goes for traveling. I’ve been itching to go somewhere – anywhere really – all summer, but of course I’ve stayed put hoping for better times to come. Sooner rather than later.
With all the things I’ve wanted to do being a bit out of reach at the moment, I’ve found it helpful to create new goals and activities that are within the limits of what I can control myself. So, I’ve been putting more energy into my Korean studies than I’ve done in a long time. I’ve been listening to the news every day, reading at least 20 pages in a novel and meticulously read through every textbook I’ve ever studied. While this has been fine and I have managed to stick to my self-assigned schedule, I recently started to feel a need for a more tangible goal than the somewhat vague “improve my Korean skills”.
This is when I thought of the TOPIK. For those of you who don’t know, TOPIK is a standardized Korean proficiency test which measures your ability in listening, writing and reading. I took the test in Daejeon in November 2017 and just barely passed level 6 (passing is passing though). With results being valid for only two years, mine have expired around the end of last year which is a perfect excuse to finally have another go at it.
Since I’m back in Denmark at the moment, my options for taking the TOPIK are fairly scarce and pretty much limited to flying to London and taking the test there. While it’s held six times a year in Korea, London only provides the test twice a year, and in April it was canceled because of covid19. In my effort to pursue a new challenge, I signed up for the next round, which will be held on November 14 (if that’s not canceled too). As with everything this year whether I get to go or not is highly uncertain but so far I’ve paid the registration fee to keep the option open. I’ll likely not book flights or hotel until the last minute depending on the current situation.
If I get to go, my clear goal is to defend my level 6, and hopefully with a significantly broader margin than last time. Aside from wanting to improve and work toward a new goal, I do have one other reason for needing a valid test score but that’s a story for another day. So is how I’m preparing for the test, which I’ll tell you in more detail in my next blog post.
Now I’ll get back to cramming some Korean idioms (hey, just thought of a third blog post – you should expect a lot of interesting Korean learning content over the next few weeks.)