Progress, my friends, Progress! (Studying the Korean Language)

Last night I texted my mom: Guess what, the most amazing thing just happened!!

She responded right away: What.

She probably thought something actually amazing had happened, as opposed to what really had.

I was watching the latest episode of 연애의 발견 (a Korean drama) and the subtitles cut out in the middle, but I still understood almost everything!!!!  I had to rewind a couple times and look up some words, but I basically got everything!  I am so proud of myself!!!  😀

This, my friends, is why deciding to watch this Korean drama was such the right life choice!

Not only has it been absorbing and entertaining––less predictable and more realistic than most Korean dramas––but it has been so good for my Korean!

Being obsessed with a drama is by far the most effective motivation to immerse myself in Korean. I first noticed this during my first trip to Korea in the summer of 2009. I’m convinced it was the hours of watching Boys Over Flowers while sick in bed with swine flu that really improved my Korean that summer, even more than the four hours a day I spent in language class.

Studying a language is one of those things that takes a lot of time, effort, and focus without many tangible rewards. Some rules stick more than others. You can’t always whip out the right word when you need to. It’s a subtle, fluid kind of entity that you are trying to grasp hold of.

But last night I could tangibly see how much progress I’m making, and it was so exciting!

A month ago, I could barely understand what my stepdad was saying to me when he was trying to make casual conversation in the car. Now I can understand a whole 20 minutes of a drama?? So I didn’t lose all my Korean after all?! NICE.


Whatever long-term goals you are working towards, don’t give up! I’m with you! LET’S DO THIS.



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Elizabeth is a teacher, preacher, musician, and writer. She has a Master's of Divinity and a Master's of Music, which represent her two great loves: Jesus and the arts. A half-Korean, half-white American, she spent seven years in South Korea teaching English. Elizabeth is a perpetual learner, a deep feeler, and a pursuer of beauty and truth.

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