Saturday, July 3, 2010

New Korean School

I've faithfully attended Metro Korean Academy in Gwanghwamun since last may, but this month will be the first month that I do not attend that school. Their summer vacation and my summer vacation don't match up, and on top of that, starting on July 21st, I have to start teaching morning classes, so with those two factors combined, not to mention the lack of a good level for me for a Saturday classes, I decided to hunt for a better suiting school. I found two hagwons, YBM, which my friend attends, and Korean Language Academy (KLA). Both have locations in Jongno and Kangnam. I first emailed KLA about classes, and they got back pretty quickly that they had a level 3 class and a level 4 class on Saturday in Gangnam, either of which I could attend. But, they had no classes that were suitable for me in Jongno. Not really looking forward to hauling my butt to Gangnam every Saturday morning for 10:00 class, I put my hopes in YBM. But, strangely, they must not like buisness, because they don't answer their emails. And I don't like phones, so it just wasn't going to work out.

So, this morning, sick with a cold and running on about 3 hours of sleep, I dragged my butt down to Gangnam. The map from the website was a little funky and it took me longer than I expected to find the place. I got there a bit late to take the entire placement test, not that it really mattered, and I went first to observe level 3. The teacher was ok, a bit soft-spoken, and not much in the conversation department which is what made me upset in my last month at Metro, but with only 3 hours a week I guess it's got to be all study and no play since there's not so much time.

I went to level 4 hoping to find some more conversation. I did find level 4 to be more vibrant, but I also realized that, even if the other student's grammar and speaking skills weren't much better than mine, their vocabulary was far higher than mine. I mean... FAR higher than mine. The teacher was defining words with other words that I didn't know, and the other students were nodding their heads in agreement, seeming to understand everything. As much as I would have loved to join that class, I would have spent the entire 3 hours in a dictionary and not looking at the teacher. I guess that's what happens when it's a class entirely comprised of 3 Japanese guys and one Chinese woman. They just have way more of an advantage in that department. It'd be like sticking a Korean in an advanced Spanish class full of English and French speakers. Unfair advantage to say the least.

For the last hour, I bought my book and settled down in level 3. My head was starting to clear from the fog a bit and I participated a little in class. The grammar was quite easy, but it's good practice and the book seems to have lots of vocabulary I should be practicing. I think I'm just going to start from Chapter 1 every day on the way to work, even though our class is studying from chapter 20 as of next week. Getting a new book means all sorts of different vocabulary and new explanations and exercises of grammar than I should be practicing and using more in my every day speech.

So, after this month, I'll be able to give you a better analysis of Korean Language Academy. My teacher will also be changing this week, I guess she got married this weekend (or was it that she went to a wedding? Now I forget) and was, obviously, not able to teach class.

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