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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

My Korean Language Study Experience at Lexis Korea

Wow, it's been 10 months since I last logged on to my blog. Since arriving in Seoul, I've totally abandoned my blog, haven't I? My apologies. I know it sounds quite like an excuse but I barely had any time to update my blog.

I was having a little too much fun upping my alcohol tolerance (hehe just kidding, although partially true!) and if I had to be brutally honest, studying an entirely new language and working at the same time did take a toll on me as it was quite exhausting at times, but of course, I wouldn't have wanted the experience any other way.

Today I just wanted to share about my 7 months experience in Seoul, or more particularly my Korean language study experience at Lexis Korea to begin with. :)

I arrived in South Korea in May 2016 with little to no knowledge of the Korean language. I could only recognise the Hangul alphabets and that was about it.

Today, I can converse, listen and understand, read, and write in Korean, albeit neither perfect nor on a professional level, but enough to be able to survive in Seoul.

On my first day at Lexis, I undertook the placement test and I was placed in the absolute beginner class, better known as the Korean Foundation class. I have since completed 30 weeks of classes and I am currently at Intermediate level:
  • 1 week of Foundation classes ✓
  • 4 weeks of Beginner classes ✓
  • 8 weeks of Elementary classes ✓
  • 12 weeks of Pre-Intermediate classes ✓
  • 5 weeks of Intermediate classes ✓

Upon returning to Seoul again this coming March, I will be resuming my Korean Intensive 15 classes at Intermediate level and I am hoping to make my way up to Upper-Intermediate before I wrap up my internship in June 2017.

Going right back to the start - why Lexis Korea, you may ask. There are so many Korean language course providers in Seoul, including well-known universities, but here's why I chose Lexis Korea:
  1. The main reason being its flexibility - unlike most other providers where there is a fixed number of weeks and fixed start/end dates, Lexis Korea enables their students to commence on any given Monday, for any given weeks. This worked really well for me as I am unsure of my schedule at that point in time.
  2. The other factor being its prime location; with the campus located right in the heart of Gangnam and surrounded by lots of restaurants and shopping! Lexis Korea is only a 3 minutes walk from Gangnam Station Exit 5, which also leads you to a world of underground shopping. Talk about convenience! ;)
  3. The mix of international students! Lexis Korea welcomes students from 30+ different countries every year and I know that'll enable me to meet new friends from a very diversified group of students.
  4. The variety of school activities, excursions and cultural experiences - my plan was to live in Seoul only for a short period of time, so I wanted to be able to explore as much as I could during my short stay, and Lexis Korea offered one of the best variety of activities.
After 30 weeks of attending classes at Lexis Korea, all I can say is that I am glad I picked the right course. Apart from all of the key points I've listed above, I also love how the classes and lessons are very dynamic, interactive and fun.

Of course, it is not all fun and laughters though, homework is given at times, and there are weekly tests as well. Some might even find that the classes can be pretty intense. I do however enjoy the challenge and feel that students at Lexis Korea progress really rapidly. If you pay attention in class and put in the effort to revise the materials provided during your leisure time, trust me, you will improve really quickly.

Within a short period of time, most students are able to communicate with the teachers and other local Koreans in (our somewhat broken) Korean. Plus, what I thought was most helpful is the practicality of the classes; most of what we learn in class, we are able to apply in our daily life.

Just to give you a gist into my progression, this is how far I got in terms of my ability to write and speak in Korean after 15 weeks of classes.

A few weeks later, whilst I was still in Pre-Intermediate level, we did another presentation based on the theme of the week, which was about our memories.

I always feel like my speaking skills get pretty stagnant but looking back at both the videos, only then did I realise that my speaking skills did actually improve, albeit just slightly. :)

Below I delve deeper into what I enjoyed most about my Korean language study experience at Lexis Korea.

I really liked the fact that Lexis Korea runs a weekly syllabus and that the theme is different every week. We learn about a wide range of themes and like I mentioned earlier, it's not just lessons and tests, we also do practical exercises and sometimes the teachers help make it that little bit more interesting by adding interactive activities into the mix. These are amongst the fun stuff that we get to do in classes, just to list a few:

When we learnt about "accidents" and had to memorise like a hundred new words, our amazing teacher made it super fun for us to practise both our writing and conversational skills by playing reporter/anchor in class!

Can you believe my teacher actually hand-made this cute cardboard TV? Based on examples provided, we had to write our own script based on an accident scene then present our written work thereafter. We even ended the news presentation with "지금까지 렉시스 뉴스 민정이었습니다." which basically translates to "This is Michelle Ng from Lexis News signing off." It was super fun!

During the week where we learnt about Korean food and terms related to cooking, we got to get on our hands down on preparing Korean food during class. It was heaps of fun, a unique experience for us all, and we all thought "YAY! NO LESSON!" but our teacher made sure we made use of the new vocabulary that we learnt during the week as we were broken down into groups, and we had to present what we were making, what the ingredients were and how we were going to make our respective dishes.

Then there was one week (I forgot what the theme was) we had to call for pizza delivery. I was selected, and had to tell the guy on the line what our address was and ordered the pizzas that we've selected, all in Korean of course. So nerve-wrecking, but it was quite an experience!

And then when we learnt about "broadcasting", we get to play radio host and guests, and we were given scripts respectively where we have to fill up the blanks, add our own thoughts etc, then present the work. Here I am playing the radio host, and Lucas sitting next to me was my guest. Pretty cool hey?

On top of classes, Lexis Korea also offers a variety of daily activities for their students - this is optional but recommended for those who would like to learn and experience more of Korea and its culture.

For example, in conjunction with Korean Thanksgiving Day known as Chuseok (추석), we ran a Korean Traditional Games workshop and as an intern, I got to put on hanbok for the first time whilst participating in the games! I gotta say I really loved the experience.

Lexis Korea also have a wide range of daily activities planned out for the students after classes. There are study groups, an array of workshops focusing on Korean etiquette, as well as day trips and excursions around Seoul to allow students a glimpse into the many attractions. In this photo, we were at the War Memorial Museum!

To me, what really makes Lexis Korea stand out are not just the fun classes and activities, but the amazing teachers and staff members. Their enthusiasm is top class - it is because of the teachers; their bright and vibrant personality, paired with their passion for their job is the reason why our classes and activities are so interactive and even more fun than they already are!!

I like the fact that the teachers are not only experienced and deliver great classes, they are also really fun. Our teachers actually hang out with us outside of classes and make the effort to get to know us all on a personal level. All 5 of my teachers are super sporting, cool and very fun to hang out with! Yeap, these two lovely ladies are my teachers! Oh, they're all super pretty too hehe.

They also make the effort to go above and beyond to help us students with life outside of school. I remember I once had a fever, and my teacher checked in with me over the weekend to ensure I was doing okay. She even looked up which hospital was located nearby my accommodation and made an appointment for me. It was during the weekend, and my teacher didn't have to, but she went way beyond her call of duty, which I really appreciated.

Like I mentioned earlier, as Lexis Korea welcomes students from all over the globe (mainly Europeans) you will also get the chance to meet friends from different walks of life. I have made some really good friends and although they're now spread all around the world, I hope that one day I will be able to meet them again.

It's amazing how all of us here come from different parts of the globe for the one same common purpose - to learn the Korean language! From Switzerland, to Aussie, Indonesia, France, Sweden, Germany, America, Malaysia, Taiwan and Singapore... When Lexis said you'll be making global friends, they weren't lying; that's for sure! ;)

Meeting friends from different countries, and learning about their culture is also an experience in itself. This is something I know I will not have had the chance to experience otherwise. If I had to look back at the best thing to have happened to me, it is the people I've met during my stay in Seoul.

Everyone you meet has something new to teach you; some bring out the best in you, some help you see different sides of yourself you never knew existed, some teach you to be a better person... whatever it is, all I know is that I sure have learnt SO much in the past few months of my experience at Lexis Korea.

This is not a sponsored post but seriously Lexis Korea have the best teachers for they're truly passionate about what they do... and of course, they also have a high quality and practical syllabus to boot. I loved everything about the Intensive Korean Course that I undertook and I really couldn't have asked for a better Korean language study experience. :)

If you love the Korean culture and language as much as I have (and still do!), then I would highly recommend that you give Lexis Korea's Intensive Korean courses a go.

And I think I'll wrap up my post for now. I initially thought of writing about everything in the one post but it's getting really long so I will break it down into a few posts. Another post will follow shortly where I will share about my work experience in Seoul as an intern, and then finally, my thoughts on life in general and what my experience was like living in Seoul. :)


Julia x said...

Hey :)
I will also take the Lexis course again soon, I will arrive in the mid of April!
Hope to see you there :))
Maybe even in the same class :D

David Tian said...

Great post! Happy to see you enjoyed your time at Lexis and that evidently it worked for you!

Jared said...

Love it, can't wait to see more!

Click on 'OLDER POSTS' for more! :)