Day in life of a KGSP Korean Language Student – Exam season

Following my previous post about my day-in-life during non exam seasons, this post will be about how my normal schedule changes to accommodate time to revise for exams. Besides that, I would also share my study habits and patterns!

Before I begin, here is my life schedule during exam season:

Time Activity
8am Alarm ring
9am – 1pm Class time
1pm – 2pm Lunch!
2pm – 4pm Bathe/Watch 1 episode of drama or variety show
5pm-6pm Finish homework
6pm-7pm Dinner time!
7.30pm – 10.30pm Study time
11pm Rest and relax, prayer time
11.30pm Sleep time

Now that I revealed my schedule, here comes a some details on my study habits.

Type of student:

First of all, if I would summarize myself as a student in a sentence, it would be…

Someone who studies only during exam period, but is able to pick up (to a certain level) new knowledge everyday and apply them whenever needed.

If I need to summarize my study/revision style in 2 words, it would be…

ARMY STYLE

I think one of my biggest strengths in the area of learning a language, is the ability of memorizing. Coming from Malaysia where we speak many languages and are exposed to even more local dialects, it is easy for me to pick up Korean because I already have a good foundation in Mandarin. Plus, since we were young, memorizing whatever that was taught to us has been a norm in our education system so memorization is not something that I am unfamiliar with.

Another important point that added to my “success formula” (lol) is discipline. I think 10 out of 10 people who has known me for a long time would agree that once I set my heart on something or make a goal, I would make an effort to achieve it. In my book, (some) rules are meant to be broken and goals are made to be achieved. Which is why I said when it boils down to important matters like grades, I would go full army style hard core studying (i.e. studying super hard and make sure I know everything I need to know for the test). I think it would take years of training (at home and in school) to be able to do that.

Also, I think I could say I don’t break easily when under stressful conditions mainly because personally, I always try my abest to reduce the stress I am taking in in every way possible. You would see how as you read on.

Study location:

I always study in my own room (100%). I don’t study anywhere else because I couldn’t focus properly and there might be a lot of distractions like people walking around, things dropping etc. Plus, I have everything I need in the room (books, stationary, water, food, music etc) and I prefer not to bring everything OUTSIDE and going through the hassle of bringing them back to the room again after I finish studying. Studying in the room feels less stressful for me too because I am in a comfortable location, in comfortable clothes and in a familiar environment. And after getting mentally tired from all the studying, I can straight away plop onto my bed and rest without having to make the long journey back to my room if I were to study outside!

The only downside is my laptop and my phone is always by my side so undeniably it is hard to resist the temptation to keep wanting to click on them all the time. I would allow myself to do it most of the time because I normally have a pretty relaxed study schedule (i.e. I know I could still achieve my study goals even though I get distracted a lot). But there are also times where I have no time left for distractions and this is when ARMY STYLE hormones kick in and work its magic.

An interesting FAQ is, do I turn on the music when I study? The answer is yes. But I could study and concentrate with or without it. I just turn it on so that I can stay seated longer. If no music is on, I would probably walk around the room while studying. It works both ways for me.

Learning Style

Everyone learns differently and in my opinion, once you discovered what is best for you, learning would be a breeze. I usually learn something new by listening, especially while learning technical terms or more complicated things. I would understand the reasoning or theory behind the subject by listening but usually I would forget the little details (that’s why I still need to revise). In class, I am usually very focused in listening to my Korean teachers’ explanation because sometimes it is hard to learn the context just by the book.

I also think it is important to continue learning OUTSIDE of the classroom. I normally watch Korean variety shows in my free time. I realised it helps me a lot in learning new words and also solidifying what I have learned in class. Aside from listening skills, it also polishes my reading skills and to some certain extent my speaking skills too. I am able to read pretty fast thanks to all the flashing captions across the screen that disappears with 2 seconds and my pronunciation is pretty good (that is what the Koreans tell me) thanks to all the influence I got from consistently being exposed to the Korean speech. Needless to say, it takes time for everyone to adapt to the speed of how Koreans speak because they speak so fast all the time. Some of my friends watched Korean shows without the subtitles but in an effort to reduce stress levels I always watch with subtitles HAHAHA #lazypig But yea, if there is no subs I would still be able to understand so it is OK HAHAHA.

Revision style

I always do my revisions alone. Group discussions do not work well for me. The reason why I don’t like group studying is because I have my own study pace (which fluctuates all the time depending on my motivation and energy levels) and now that I think of it, I don’t talk to anyone AT ALL when I am studying. So maybe that is why group study is not for me haha.

My main goal of revision before exam is to ensure I learned and memorized everything that I have to. I remember things better when I read (vision-type memory recollection) but to really know how to apply something I memorized, it is by listening.

In Korean language studies, I normally split my revision to two sections: Grammar and Vocabulary. I do really simplified mind maps for Grammar whereas for Vocab, I cram as many vocab as I can in an A4 sheet before moving onto the next. You can see some photos as below.

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If you haven’t noticed, at the end of the day I filled the A4 sheets to the brim and consolidate as many info as I can in 1 page. To me, it is really effective in bringing my stress level down because even though it is A LOT of information, it gives my brain a perception that actually it is not as much as I think. Imagine having final exams but you only have to study 4 – 5 sheets of A4 sized pages!

I would totally NOT…

If there is one thing I would totally not do when it comes to preparing for an exam, is to try to cram everything one or two days before the exam day. I have been adopting this habit since high school and I am really glad that by pacing out my study scope I am able to reduce my stress levels and I am able to be more prepared (both physically and mentally) for the exam. Adopting this habit also teaches me a lot about discipline, time management AND also crisis management.

For the discipline and time management part, by knowing my own pace I am able to set AND follow a schedule to achieve my study goals everyday during the study period. As for crisis management, I learn also how to deal with last minute issues or problems that arises during the study period. In our last mid term paper held in April, my parents were here a week before my exam (aka during the supposed study period) so I pushed all my study plans forward and started studying ahead of time because I knew I won’t have enough time to even finish my homework. BUT, to everyone’s surprise, the teacher added not just one chapter, BUT TWO EXTRA CHAPTERS to be included in the exam! All of us were informed about this 4 days before the actual test day. So in an actual turn out of events, I managed to squeeze in the additional chapters and finish studying everything I need before the test. This will not be possible if I were to only start studying a few days before the test. So my advice is, always leave some extra time for any last minute changes because you will never know what would hit you!


So there you go! I hope this post will be able to shed some light on the way I am coping and studying Korean language here in Korea under KGSP programme. So far I think I have found the best way for myself and I have been adopting all these habits ever since I was in college. There a thousand and one ways to study and learn so good luck finding the one that suits you the most! πŸ™‚

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Day in life of a KGSP Korean Language Student – Non-exam season

Finally it is the weekend again! After travelling for almost every weekend since the mid of March, I am finally able to take a breather this week. Also, since I have been posting lots of travel related posts recently, I thought it would be nice to also post some updates about my student life.

This weekend is actually April 2018 TOPIK weekend and it is compulsory for all KGSP scholars in the language year to take the exam. But I was fortunate enough to get an exemption because I have already gotten TOPIK 5 in the January test AND the certificate is valid until the end of my masters. So yay to me!

This blogpost will be recording the usual, day-in-life of my life as a KGSP language year student during the non-exam season (aka usual days where we only have classes). My daily routine during exam seasons are a bit different (with the additional activity called: studying LOL) and I would record that in a separate post. It is important to note that everyone has a different study style and I would only study when there is an exam (i.e. Mid Terms, Finals, TOPIK) because that is what we generally do in Malaysia (don’t judge!). But anyway, welcome to my life!

Here is a summary on my weekday schedule:

Weekdays (aside from Wednesdays)
Time Activity
8am Alarm ringggggg
9am – 1pm Class time
1pm – 2.30pm Lunch!
2.30pm – 4.30pm Housework/Laundry/Just chilling around
5pm-6pm ish Bathe
6pm-7pm Prepare and eat dinner
7pm-8pm Complete homework
8pm to 10pm Watching Drama/Variety Show time/Other life commitments
10pm – 11pm Call parents, wash up, pray
After 11pm Sleep time!
Days with extra classes Β 
Time Activity
8am Alarm ringggggg
9am – 1pm Class time
1pm – 2pm Lunch!
2pm – 4pm Extra classes
5pm-6pm ish Bathe
6pm-7pm Dinner
7pm-8pm Complete Homework
8pm to 10pm Watching Drama/Variety Show time/Other life commitments
10pm – 11pm Call parents, wash up, pray
After 11pm Sleep time!
Wednesdays
Time Activity
8am Alarm ringggggg
9am – 1pm Class time
1pm – 2.30pm Lunch!
2.30pm – 4pm Bathe, Complete all homework
5pm – 8.30pm Volunteering at Gwangju International Centre
8.30pm – 10pm Dinner
11pm Prayer time and then sleep time!

Everyone has a choice on how much effort and time they put into studying and there is a way that works best for each and everyone of us. During off-exam seasons, I prefer to be more relaxed and just follow through the class’ progress by finishing all my homework everyday. There are also friends who study a lot at night and also in the early hours in the morning. I usually like staying in the room after evening but I also sometimes do enjoy a night out with friends for dinner and Noraebang haha!

Four hours of class during normal days seem to be pretty doable at the start and six hours of class for certain days seemed OK when we first started in November last year. But as the days go by, it gets more and more taxing because the higher you advance, the more complicated the language gets and the faster your lecturer would speak in class too. Which is why most of us get so burnt out after class and would nap in the evening. As for me, I don’t have a habit of napping but I do take 2 hour naps if I cannot take it anymore (usually happens once a month). I would love to say I could take a shorter 5 minute or 20 minute power nap but sad to say that I tried but I got so drowsy and I couldn’t wake up until I slept for at least 2 hours.

Also, to avoid falling into the mundane, repetitive life cycle, I signed myself up as a volunteer in a local NGO called Gwangju International Centre! They have loads of weekly and special activities and I am part of the weekly language exchange team, which holds free language exchange sessions every Wednesday evening for local Koreans and foreigners to practice Korean – English or Korean – Mandarin. I have experienced volunteering for both teams and it has opened up opportunities for me to work with and mingle with people from many different countries! More on that in my future posts.

For weekends, my schedule is pretty different. When it is too cold or too hot or when it is raining, I usually stay in to catch up with housework and also indulging in Netflix haha. But in autumn and spring when the weather is great, I would hang out in downtown or even travel around with my friends! I have been to many places, which I can’t wait to share more on this platform. What I have posted so far is just really, the tip of the iceberg.

Can’t wait to be updating more!

 

February 2018 – Photo of the month

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Being the last month of winter, February marks the end of our winter semester, which also mean we will be saying goodbye to one of our classmates, Ruby and both our Korean teachers. The photo above is taken during the goodbye lunch we had in our favourite buffet place called Ashley’s. It was a light hearted event filled with laughter and touching tributes to our teachers. One of our teachers even teared up when she opened our gift and she even brought it around with her the next day to show it off to her friends hahaha (that’s what she said).

We are all sad to part with our Korean teachers because they have been the best teachers we could ever had so far. Thanks to them, many of us scored pretty well in the January TOPIK test as they have gave us a good foundation to the language. I will always remember the happy times we had in class and the jokes they make to cheer us up whenever we feel the morning blues and the games and movies we enjoyed together~

More related pictures:

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Took a ride on my lecturer’s car for lunch
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Our lunch room
Picture3
The other side of the room
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Our teacher’s reactions when they got the gift ❀
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Ashley’s lunch crowd
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My first round~
Picture12
The second plate of my first round~

P/S the duck is really reallyyyyy good

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Hungry kids queuing up for food
Picture8
With my teacher ❀
Picture7
With another teacher~ ❀
Picture5
Our table

The next day after the goodbye lunch, we had our last classes with our teachers. And one of them even gave us a notebook and a personalized letter!!!

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My letter and my notebook

It was a good six months with our teachers and classmates. As we are coming to the end of our winter vacation, it is time to gear up for upcoming spring and the new challenges installed for us! The memories we made as a class will always be cherished~

 

Life in the KGSP language year

I am currently on my long awaited 10 day winter break and I reckon it is a good time for me to draft a post regarding to student life as a language year student since the application period for KGSP-G programme 2018 is on-going.

Before I came to Korea and start my life here as a scholar I tried searching for some information that could give me a glimpse of what is it to be like to be a KGSP scholar. But to my disappointment there weren’t any detailed information around so I basically came like a blank sheet of paper not knowing the possible challenges installed for me at all.

So for this post, I am going to be as honest and transparent as possible on my current life as a language student. No sugar coating, and no exaggerations either because what I am going to include in this post is VERY VERY REAL. I figured it would be important for potential applicants to know what they are getting themselves into because I have seen many of my friends who are having a really tough time. And it is because most, if not all of us had no clue on what to expect before coming here. I don’t want to be discouraging, but in my opinion it is important to think carefully before applying and committing to any scholarship because ultimately you are going to occupy a slot that someone else may want so badly. And it is never a good thing to throw the spot away if you reckon that you are not up for it.


General Overview

In my opinion, I would say KGSP is a really awesome scholarship because not only it offers full sponsorship of tuition fees, it also provides us with a monthly allowance that enables us to survive well here in Korea. Coming from a family that is not financially well off, this scholarship gave me a chance to receive quality education abroad without having to worry about living expenses. On top of that, everyone of us are also required to study language for a year (those with TOPIK 5 during application will be exempted) and it is very beneficiary for us because aside from our masters degree, we also get a chance to learn and practice a new language.

But in everything there is pros and cons, which I will elaborate more in detail below. In this post I will be covering different aspects from day to day life and academic life.


Day to day life

Difficulty level: β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†β˜†

We are all given 900,000won per month plus an additional 200,000won (one off) settling allowance. The settlement allowance would be given together with the September allowance so I still had to depend on the money I brought from my country to settle down and buy food and necessities.

But other than that, 900,000won allowance per month is enough for living expenses here in Gwangju because a decent meal like fried rice or the likes cost around 5,000won to 6,000won. We can also get cheaper options like kimbab or convenience store sandwiches that cost around 2,000won to 3,000won too. Sometimes we decide to give ourselves a treat at a buffet place and it would cost around 14,000won to 20,000won. Food delivery for fried chicken will cost around 10,000won per pax whereas chinese food like fried rice and jajjangmyeon etc will cost around 5,000won-8,000won (but there is a minimum amount that you need to order for them to deliver).

My language institution is also located in a fairly good location. We are about 30mins walk away from downtown area and we have 2 on-campus cafeteria for cheaper food options and also a rather decent back gate area where they have more convenience stores and restaurants. In case of medical emergencies, the hospital is 5 minutes drive away via taxi and we also have a clinic inside the International Building as well.

The more expensive necessities/spending normally goes to books. For each semester, the textbooks (Ewha syllabus) cost 26,000won per set if bought new from the bookstore. There are also cases where we had to purchase additional books for TOPIK revision too. For my case, I was fortunate enough to be able to buy my books from my KGSP senior for a good price and borrowed the rest that I need from another senior. Other than books, I noticed that the laundry services here are also pretty pricey (given the limited budget we have per month and the amount of outer coats we would wear during cold seasons). Dry cleaning one piece of down feather clothing can cost up to 10,000won per piece and normal long coats (no padding, no fur) cost me 7,000won. And of course, medical bill here is also much more expensive. A trip to the normal clinic at International Building will cost around 8,000won (including medicine) whereas hospital bills can go up many more times higher than that. For my case, I was admitted to the ER once for food poisoning and it cost me around 350,000won. The insurance provided by NIIED will only cover 80% of the fee so we would have to bear the rest of the medical expenses at our end.

Important point to note is, depending on the language institute you are in, the allowance may or may not come on time every month. And the worse part is, we are never notified on any delay or postponement by our university. I have heard stories from seniors and friends from other universities that they occasionally have these cases happening. For us, we are fortunate that most of our allowance come in on the promised date EXCEPT for this coming March because apparently March is the end of the fiscal year for Korea so the allowance may or may not be delayed. And if you are leaving the country during official vacations, your allowance may be further delayed as well, which happened to all of my friends who were leaving the country this vacation. So to prevent any financial surprises it would be wise to save up a decent amount every month to be used in times like this.

Aside from that, for general help like renewal of ARC, visa issues or KGSP related queries like insurance claims and allowance, we are very fortunate to have staffs that would help us patiently even though they are busy. So far I have been hospitalised once but my insurance claim process was very easy and hassle free.

These are based on my experience while living here in Gwangju. In Seoul everything would be more expensive but I have so far secured the extra 100,000won allowance because I have gotten TOPIK 5. We’ll see how it goes for Seoul in the future.


Academic life

Difficulty level (for me):Β β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†

Fun and related facts about me: I have been watching K-dramas and listened to K-pop for almost 10 years to date. I got into K-pop when TVXQ was a big thing back then and my first drama was Full House by Rain and Song Hye Kyo. Since then I have been consistently been exposed to Korean language and further improved my Korean by watching more variety shows and attending a 6 months Korean language elective in my university. I also speak fluent Cantonese and Mandarin, in which I studied the latter formally from primary school to high school. Upon arrival, I am placed in Level 2 class.

Difficulty level (for my roommate):Β β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… (P/S that’s what she said. I am not making this up)

Fun and related facts about my roommate: She is from Mexico and she speaks fluent English, Spanish and she could comprehend some French (A2 level, which in layman terms equals to the middle of TOPIK 1 and 2, in which in more layman terms it means basic French LOL). She is super hardworking and studies ALOOOOOT more than me. In Mexico there isn’t much Korean influence and when she first came to Korea, she had 0 knowledge on Korean language so she basically was a white piece of paper and she learned everything from scratch here. Which explains the 5 star rating of difficulty because it is a whole new world to her. #salute Upon arrival, she was placed in Level 1 class.

So what is similar between us?

All KGSP students assigned to our language university have language classes every weekday from 9am to 1pm. We started officially in the beginning of September and by November our extra classes started. Depending on the lecturer, the day the extra classes would be held may be different. But all of us would have 2 days of extra 2 hours per week for extra classes. The time for extra classes would normally be 2pm-4pm, which gives us an hour break for lunch. All our classes are held at the International Building, which is next to the main library.

For every class, there would be 2 teachers assigned to us. One would teach grammar and listening whereas the other is in charged of writing and reading. Both lecturers would also cover speaking portions as well but generally speaking portions come a little later because we have to learn enough to be able to speak. Six months into the programme, the language school is switching out our current teachers so after our winter break we would welcome a new set of teachers~

For syllabus, we mainly use the Ewha Korean language textbook and workbook. For level 1 to 3, the levels are split to two sets of books (i.e. 1-1, 1-2, 2-1 and so on). For level 4 to 6, it is one set of books per level. However as the grammar got harder and more complicated, my lecturer also supplemented us with notes from other books like Korean Grammar in Use. My room mate has the book herself as well. For TOPIK preparation, we use HOT TOPIK for reading in class. On the side personally, I memorized some words from Link Korean TOPIK Voca 2500.

Despite being in different classes and levels, all our exams (midterms and finals) are held on the same time. On average we have an exam once every 5 weeks, excluding small quizzes and evaluation tests that we get from time to time. This also mean that we have to cover 1 whole book in 5 weeks (sometimes even more depending on the scope of exam) and it is NOT as easy as it seems. There is a lot of additional vocabulary that is taught in class aside from the ones that appear in the textbook or additional notes. There are also a separate set of TOPIK test related vocab that we all need to learn and memorize too.

Also, we are NOT notified on the exact exams dates until 2 weeks before the exam, and sometimes the exam dates are changed without prior heads up as well. Based on personal experience, my parents came to visit me last November and we matched the dates of my finals so they could come right after the finals and we can spend time together because we do not have classes for the week after finals is over. Turns out, two weeks before the exam we were notified that the exam dates has changed. It was pushed backwards a day later, which means I didn’t get to spend as much time as I intended with my parents because one whole day is burned for taking/preparing for exams.

What is different?

My roommate and I, and also most of the KGSP scholars here are multilingual. However, the difference lies between the amount of prior exposure to Korean and also the existing language that we knew before coming. The reason why I placed a 3 out of 5 star difficulty, and my roommate gave a 5 out of 5 is because it is easier for me to related Korean words to Mandarin and Cantonese. Vocabulary wise, it is easier for me to guess words when I am reading or listening and to learn new words (mostly in more advanced levels) because 70% of Korean language is derived from Mandarin. For my roommate, she finds it harder to related the words and grammar because the vocab and sentence structure is SO different from the languages that she knows. From what I have noticed, people who have had prior exposure to Korean (in dramas, songs, variety show, taking Korean lessons etc) could breathe a little easier compared to those who has absolutely no prior exposure at all.

What is difficult?

Writing off-hand without Google Translate and speaking are the most difficult aspects for me now, especially the latter. I recently tried to speak up more in class during speaking session and I also joined a weekly language exchange offered by GIC to improve on my speaking but it takes time to be fluent and find confidence in talking to Koreans. As for writing, we did a lot of TOPIK style writing and other essays as homework so I am definitely better now. But right off the start, it was so hard to write a good essay even with the help of Google Translate. But sooner or later, all of us are required to shake the bad habit of searching for every single word we are not sure of because we don’t have Google during exams (DUH!).

Another difficult aspect in learning any language is the vocabulary. It is difficult to learn new words but it is even harder to keep them in and use them off hand in speaking or writing. I quote one of my friend who said, “We are basically throwing all the words we learned out while putting new words into our brain”. What he said is very very true and I agree with him totally because despite knowing how to say something in Mandarin doesn’t mean I can say it in Korean all the time even though both languages being so similar. And the fact is, learning new vocabulary is a daily thing and there is no end to this at least until we finish our language year.

At first, it would be difficult for us to communicate with our own teachers because they speak in Korean 90% of the time (for beginners class they start with English but they switch to full Korean very quickly). But once we get a hang of the language and get used to our teacher’s voices, it would be easier to understand. I have a great respect to our teachers because they are all so patient and understanding. They would encourage us to speak up even though we take ages to come up with the right words and make proper sentences. Good teachers make learning a new language a lot more easier and this is why it also encourages us to do well in our exams because we don’t want to let them down.

What is easy? What is less difficult?

Korean language is a very complex language where they have different expressions used for a similar purpose but with many grammar rules that binds on them and they are used in different context.Β In my point of view, basic grammars are easier to catch on because they have lesser exceptions and conditions. These basic level grammars are ones that always appear in speech so if you have prior exposure to K-pop or K-dramas/variety shows, chances are you may have unconsciously been exposed to them already, which makes learning them formally easier.

Once we got used to the textbook contents and flow and how our teachers conduct their classes, from then on it would be easier to keep up during class because the class syllabus and structure is always repetitive.

Among the four aspects of language learning, to me listening was easiest, followed closely by reading and then followed by writing and speaking.


So how do I feel after experiencing this for half a year?

Accomplished but mentally tired. There are many reasons that contribute to this. But the main factor lies in not having a proper break after exams or in between semesters. Unlike Malaysia where we have many public holidays scattered throughout the year, in Korea the biggest holidays were Chuseok (beginning October last year) and Seolnal (February this year). We have 0 days of break before and after midterms and while we were supposed to have 2 days off after finals (excluding weekends), this break got cancelled entirely for our January finals and got cut short for our November finals too! The only “long” vacation that we are getting is a 10 day worth of winter vacation, including weekends before we head back to class again with no more vacation till end of July.

At some point, most of us felt the strain and it is mentally draining to be studying the same subject every single day without a small break in between. Throughout the past 6 months, everything from grammar to vocab to TOPIK studies were taught to us in a rush because there is so little time but so much to cover. We are all expected to digest all the information and do well not just for TOPIK, but also in the exams by the language institution. Bear in mind that even though our language programme is one year long, the period between class commencement and the first TOPIK exam is 5 months (Sept – Jan), the second chance at TOPIK for us is coming April, which is 8 months after class commencement and by April TOPIK test all of us are expected to score a TOPIK 3.

Negativity aside, currently I am feeling accomplished and more relaxed because I managed to score TOPIK 5 already. For now, I am just taking it easy and learning the language at my own pace and interest because there is no longer any pressure on me to score well in any test anymore~ I am glad I made it this far and with 6 more months to go I aim to polish my speaking skills so I can speak more fluently by the end of language year! Once I have let go of the pressure, I realised that new words stick in my mind fairly easier compared to when I was piled under the exam stress.

Any advice?

I hope this post was able to give a glimpse of my life here as a language student under KGSP programme. Even though there are many difficulties that I had to go through, I still feel it is a very good programme and it offers a lot of opportunities for us to be a better person than before. I may sound very pessimistic and negative most of the time in this post, but it is the real deal that all of us here are going through. Six month in, 2 of our friends have dropped out. A lot of us started out really optimistic but no matter how mentally ready we are to be a student again, it is never easy learning a new language in a foreign country away from the support system you have back home.

The best advice from me to any potential applicants out there, is to be mentally prepared and make sure you really have the passion for Korean language and your preferred masters degree before even applying for the programme. It is NOT nice to apply when you know you are not up for this and give it up when you have gotten it because there are so many people who desperately wants the spot. If, after serious consideration you have decided to apply, then the next thing you gotta do is to start brushing up on your Korean. If you have no basic in Korean at all, try taking some level 1 classes to at least learn how to read the characters (or you can self learn, it is not hard at all) and to learn basic words. If you have been long exposed to Korean like me, it would be great to start memorizing vocabulary. The smallest effort you put in before coming would be of great help to you when you arrive.

Good luck and all the best!