So what do I yearn for and where do I search for? The missing piece...
Graduating in less than half a year seems more surreal than it already is, graduating with an architecture degree is more. Would I be walking the same path if I was given a second chance? I think the answer is a Yes. I would not have garnered so much courage if I was not braced with all these that came unexpectedly yet seemingly memorable.
Graduate also means I need to start looking for job, the path to becoming a design architect or project architect or no title at all leave me and my future in uncertainties. Future is never certain.. And having so many in my bucket list sorta bring me to suffocation, most of the time it is about money. I only have an architecture degree certification, what else can I do besides having myself in the similar field.
So much I wish to achieve and all of them involved money. Reality always slam you hard on the face, but I do believe in persistency and I will not give up easily no matter how long it takes.
I actually wanted to write a post of this topic quite awhile ago then I stumbled across a Singaporean blogger's blog few days ago which she wrote about her journey of learning Korean and Japanese where she began from self-learning and it is quite similar to my situation so I guess maybe I can give my two cents too? Not sure if it would help anyone out there but just wish to share what I know so far. And I will go by the usual question and answer form so you get to know it clearer.
Q : How do you feel about self-learning a completely new language? Was it hard for you?
It was not hard at all for me to be honest, I started receiving info and knowledge of foreign language when I was 14 cause I was so into Kpop and it used to make me feel closer to my oppas (roll eyes). So ya I was already very interested in it when I started so I could say I learned and adapt quite fast. And what I wish to say here is everything is not tough anymore if you really like it (smiles).
Q : How and where did you learn it?
10 years back I was not really good with net surfing and all so I started off with copying lyrics. I used to buy those albums and they always came with a lyrics booklet so I would normally copied them down to a notebook and translated word by word. I didn't even know what I was copying but I just wrote them down and translated to romanization. And I did that every day without fail, anyhow I will squeeze out an hour or so every single day to copy them. Basically I learned my pronunciation from listening to Korean songs (I can listen to the same song for more than 10 times a day, and Korean songs blasting day to night).
I would also looked up to online tutorials when I got more familiar with the whole internet thing. What I did was I downloaded some of the worksheets (for beginners) and tried to do them with the help of google translator and dictionaries. I actually bought quite a few Korean grammar books, I was really picky in getting these guide books. I suggest you to get those without translation/romanization (especially those translated using chinese words, they sound really funny and you would probably get mislead and also to prevent you from being too dependent on the translation given). I prefer translating everything on my own in my mind but it is also better to do some short notes sometimes. This was how I learned to read fast (without knowing 100% the meaning though) but good enough to read lyrics (raises eyebrow)
Q : Do you need to spend a lot of time in it since you're doing self-learning?
Not really, as I mentioned I would spend an hour or two sometimes less if I was busy with exam preparation or so. But doing it everyday keep you fresh and attended, because it is not something that we learn since young so it definitely needs longer time for us to process the info received. I would suggest the beginners to try practicing every day, even just half an hour from writing, listening or reading. It helps really, trust me. It is all about persistence here, you can't rush.
Q : How do you know if pronounce correctly since you have no tutor to correct you?
HAHA, at this stage google is quite helpful but not all the time. I watched many Korean dramas and listened to close to or maybe more than 1000 Korean songs already in the past 10 years. And I really like repeating the lines in drama (sometimes pretending I was the one acting), I would follow what and how they said it for a few times, listened to myself and repeat the lines for a few times to check if I did it correctly. Besides, I watched short videos too and I will repeat the scenes again and again till I got to listen clearly of what the person saying. I'm quite fussy in pronunciation, be in for other languages as well. I always try my best to speak as accurate as possible cause to be honest it sounds annoying to me when people strengthen on the "r" so much when they say saranghae (roll eyes). Of course I'm not the best, but I always try my best.
Q : How do you understand if you are watching something without subtitles?
Because I only did self-learning all these while so I have very very bad grammar. I could understand words and short sentences but not formal and long ones. But I can still understand about 50-70% depending on what kind of videos. As for songs a little bit more as they are usually about the same (especially love songs). I used to force myself to watch videos without subtitles just so I could practice my listening and also get my brain used to this language. For me it worked quite well, cause I improved quite a lot in my listening and I sometimes watch drama without subtitles and still know if the boy loves the girl or not, or he is dying from some disease bla bla (smirks). Simple to average is fine for me but big NO NO for ancient story background kind of drama, I understand nothing cause I know not much about formal language (I really wish I could understand them one day though). Overall, I think it is about practice again. Try it once in awhile to watch a short video without looking at the subs and force yourself (not like force force la if you get what I mean) to understand it and remember the meaning of each line. It definitely made a difference after some time.
Q : Where and how did you practice it?
I talk to myself a lot (no I'm not crazy), and I sing. I used to own a Korean twitter thing called me2day, and it was where I made friends with Korean people. And I tried to chat with them in my very very broken Korean I was lucky la most of them too kind and complemented on my Korean (which was quite bad actually at that stage but I used to think I quite geng hahahah) so it gave me lots of courageous to use Korean more in my daily life. I tried to write short passage or sentences in my secret notebook (now gone liao) or I would just post it on me2day since nobody used it (my friends only Jenn knows la).
Oh there was a thing I did too, quite rude actually. I listened to people's conversation every time when I met Korean people around me. (kepoh I know) but I wanted to try understanding what they saying cause Korean speak 10 times faster than what you hear from your whatever guide CDs or tutorial videos. I failed la most of the time, still adapting to their speed of speaking (sighs).
There was a time I really got to practice it though, I went Korean for a trip in around 2011. I chatted a lot to the driver who brought us around. He was like appa to all of us and I actually called him that too. I would always go next to him while waiting for the others before we left to next station and tried my best to make conversation. And through our conversation I found out that he has a son studying in KyungHee who is a few years elder than me and he also went around telling people (restaurant owners most of the time) I was cute (I said WAS ah not cute anymore I know). At the end of the trip he even wrote his phone number down in my notebook and told me to contact him if I was going to come Korea again (cause I told him I wanted to pursue Korean language in Korea). I tried to speak Korean to them locals too when I was asking for stuffs or buying things instead of speaking English to them. Ok back to story, so I think it is really great if you have someone to talk to in order for you to really practice it in real life but I never tried speaking Korean to my korean friend before la I paiseh. (last time buey paiseh see people I talked ba liao)
Q : Do you think self-learning is enough to master it?
I do not think it's enough for you to really master it through only self-learning. Because most of the time you need to speak and write a lot for you to fully adapt into using the language cause it is not our mother tongue afterall. And we forget easily after few months not using it (me la goldfish memory). It's really better if you can sign up for class after reaching more than average level, and try to get tutors who speak Korean as native cause it is where you get to learn the most accurate information, pronunciation especially. But I think there are still people who managed to master the language despite doing only self-learning (cause you know genius everywhere). I strongly suggest you to start with self-learning though at the beginning stage, quite a waste of money if you spend few hundreds just to learn how to read the basic which you can always learn from internet.
After writing this post I think I should have done this a lot earlier, I always wish to share useful info on my site instead of spamming with my emotional posts. Oh ya, I just signed up for Korean class as I think it is really time for me to make it to a more advanced level, I have stopped half way for way too long already wasted a few years time in between. I hope whatever I have said could help any of you out there who is interested in picking up a new language but too afraid of wasting too much money on it. So self-learning it is! It is not hard at all trust me, anyhow you will find a way to get there if you really have a strong interest here.
It is the time of the year again and here I am jotting down every single thoughts that come across my mind just so I don't forget even a single bit of how I feel right now.
2016 is a year full with emotions,
roller coaster ride with thoughts of giving up haunting me, of course I didn't.
And I think I ended up being stronger than ever.
First half of the year was when I had short semester, together with the juniors of lower semester. It was definitely a pleasant journey cause it was not just my first time leading such a big sub group but also the first time I question about my capability. Guess I really thought too high about myself most of the time. So I learned to be patient, to be more humble. And feeling more grateful than before to be blessed with great teammates and tutors. Yes it made hell big difference.
What came next was the 4th semester of my degree year which I called it hell. (smiles) Guess most of the people know why and I don't want to talk too much about it anymore. Keep ranting about the same issue won't make me look any better so yea at least it's over! But it was the time I broke down the most, crying almost every one or two days and to the edge of "YES THIS IS IT FLIP TABLE" I have that thoughts so easily I noticed but same thing I sucked everything in and went through every hardships given (flips hair like a boss). Really I never knew I could be this strong before enrolling myself into this course, both mentally and also physically. But thank goodness, it ended well enough too. Again, I'm extremely thankful for always having angels around me to help me out when I need them most, be it just emotional support or physical ones. Guys, it helped a lot...
Slowly I realized, the more I'm doing it the more I wish it could just end as soon as possible.. More and more struggles I have faced with my inner self conscious. I have to fight with myself every single day without fail, telling myself to stay strong and finish everything. My day will come, my time my glory will soon be there...
Semester 5 just ended weeks ago, the craziest semester ever with very very little sleep in between. The only long sleep I would get was probably after submissions (half of time not cause the submissions continued after one another), you will find breathing wasting your time too no joke. And some dramas happened too, it was not well managed enough I have to admit but what needed to be done have been done, we will see. Academic wise, I think I have done quite ok despite the heavy workload thrown at me (all of us) I handled them pretty well. And I cried no more! okay I only cried once the day before studio submission when 3Ds max decided to fail me last minute. But I kept praying and tadahhhh everything went smoothly in the end! Guess a strong mentality is what keeps me alive till today! Even the boyfie was surprised at how chill I was at coping with most of the things, at least I don't go to his place and cry all day all night anymore.
I'm actually happy at how much I have changed compared to the first few semester, definitely growing up! Daddy please be proud of me hehe
Disclaimer : I do not think crying is the best way to solve an issue but definitely not considered as something bad to be done too. It was a way of mine to release my emotions and it harms no one so why not? At the end of the day I still managed to finish up my part and I definitely felt better!
Soon after the semester ended, as it draws closer to the end of my degree life. I did a lot of thinking lately, since I have nothing else to do other than just sitting there. I question a lot on my decision, did I even regret getting myself into this? I have to say, I did but not much. And I'm actually quite glad that I went through these years doing something I was not really interested nor good at it.
It thought me a lot to be honest, and I was hit by this sudden realization of how I should really start planning about my future. Of what I really love and wish to do for the rest of my life, my life is already set to be inseparable from languages and I know it so well. It was a missing piece from me for the past 10 years, a big part of me still long for it very very much. So I have made up some plans for 2017 and please wish me luck on making them come true! Need them lots!
2017 is definitely a better year to look forward to, I always believe that things only get better if you believe that they will. And how bad could it be provided I have already gone through the worst days for the first half of 2016. There are so many things I'm anticipating too!
Internship, language class, Taiwan trip, graduation and my completely new life!!!
At the end of this post, I would like to dedicate my appreciation to every single person who had helped in any way, every way be it good or bad. Thank you just thank you for shaping me into ME today. Never would have gone this far without these great ones surrounding.