Friday, February 01, 2008

연대 (Yonsei): The "Informative" Post : )

As you may know, I've been taking an intensive Korean language course at Yonsei University. This term, there are over 1000 students in the same program. I don't know have the stats, but it seems like a majority of these people come from Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, or the States, and I think quite a few of them are gyopos (Koreans living abroad) like me. Half of my classmates speak Japanese, the other half Mandarin, and there's one student in the US Navy, originally from Tennessee. He's pretty much fluent, I think, and yes, it's still a trip to see someone non-Asian speaking Korean... ^^ Anyway, even though other languages are "prohibited" in the building, I usually hear English in the halls during break-time, but surprisingly haven't made any American friends. Downside? Who's going to watch the Super Bowl with me?! ㅎㅎ

There are a handful of Korean language programs at universities in Seoul (i.e. Korea University, Seoul University, Sogang University, Kyunghee University) as well as a ton of language institutes, and after "researching" - i.e. scouring the web - it seemed like Yonsei was the way to go. There seems to be heavier focus on grammar, which was most important to me. I've heard that Sogang concentrates more on speaking skills, but I'm trying to practice that with my family, friends, and language buddies - also a great way to meet new people!

Korean's one of those languages that's...well...only really spoken in this country. ^^ So I was curious to find out why people are studying here, and so far, I've discovered the following reasons:

1) Gyopos' interest in learning more about their heritage and re-connecting with family
2) Work - either they're currently working here in a foreign company, will be sent to work here by their company in the near future, or are trying to get a job here 
3) Significant other is Korean
4) Simply interested in the language/culture itself
5) College - either studying abroad, or trying to transfer into a Korean college

On another note, it's so nice to be on a real "college-y" campus... BU was pretty much just a street. I loved that it was in the city, but it would have been nice to have a few more trees scattered about. Yonsei has a "FOREST!" ^^

Oh and yes, I'm learning a TON.

*Note: Despite usage of ^^, ㅠㅠ, ㅎㅎ, ㅋㅋ, peace signs, and new found fascination for the miniskirt-legging-boot combo in the winter, I have not yet been fobbitized... you know who are... *cough* STEPHANIE...SAM...G... But for the rest of you who may not know what the heck I'm typing, or for those who can't even view Korean characters on their PC (i.e. the text comes out as funky characters like question marks, or boxes)... here's a little explanation. ^^ is equivalent to a smiley face, ㅠㅠ is a sad crying face, and ㅎㅎ and ㅋㅋ are like virtual laughs. Can you feel the joy?!


Sam said...

hahah the fact that you have to say that you were not fob-ized means that you are so sooooo close!

Anonymous said...

really interesting n informative post..