Sogang University

15 01 2012

I love Sogang.
This may be the best Korean language program in the world.

The top Korean language programs are likely here in Korea.
Seoul boasts the nation’s top universities.
Of these, Seoul National (top public), Yonsei (top private) and Ewha (top women’s) each have Korean language programs. And Sogang is widely considered the best of these three.

This program is recognized for its focus on verbal communication.

The slogan is “Be as proud of Sogang as Sogang is as proud of you.”
Overly sentimental in typical Korean style, but I think sweet.
Sogang is a Catholic school founded in 1960 and another slogan of theirs is “Think Different”.
Again, not Madison Avenue ad-worthy but charming.


We have class from 9:00am – 1:00pm every Monday through Friday:
9:00 – 9:50:               Writing
10:00 – 10:50:          Speaking
11:00 – 11:50:          Speaking
12:00 – 1:00:            Listening or Reading

While two hours are focused on speaking, we’re talking during the other two hours also.
Class is 4 hours of Korean, all Korean. NO FOREIGN LANGUAGE ALLOWED.
That means directions, what not to do in class, what page we’re on, how to do this activity, everything is in Korean. Sometimes I miss directions in my own language. In Korean

The first day of class, we looked around the room at each other like,
“This is level one for reals?”

In my class, we have students from America, Japan, Indonesia, The Philippines and France. We also had a Columbian, but she moved to Level 2, and there are also students from Italy and Russia here at Sogang.

Jonathan from NC School of the Arts & Aki from Tokyo

Teacher Kang & Ayaka from Hokkaido

We have one teacher for the 1st an 4th hours and one teacher for the middle two hours.
Both are excellent but different. First period teacher speaks pretty damn fast and will give you the gas face, if you forget to turn off your hand phone or are late. Second period teacher speaks more slowly and has a ton of energy. Also, she brings snacks.
When she teaches, I feel like I’m watching someone do exactly what they were meant to do.

Classes are structured brilliantly.
You can not get bored in this class.

After each period, we have a 10-minute break.
Within each period, there are plenty of writing, speaking, listening and interactive activities.

This experience makes me want to return to DLC to teach English.
I would give better instruction now for having been a student with good teachers.

During break, I usually Skype my mom. This reinforces the Korean I’ve learned and the break is short enough we have good chats. She told me in Korean yesterday I was being a teenager.
I told her back in Korean life is short.





Ansan

8 12 2011

We’re supposed to get -6C weather tomorrow. Yay.
I can’t complain. The weather’s been decent enough to run and go for a hike.

On Sunday, I ran around Yonsei University, which is up the street from my homestay. The hood I’m in is called Sinchon (not to be mistaken for Sincheon) and it’s equidistant from Ewha Women’s Uni, Yonsei and Sogang U.

My favorite part of Korea is that no matter where you are, if you go up, you’re bound to start scaling a mountain. So a short, let’s-burn-some-of-this-rice run turned into a hike up Ansan (mountain). I won’t try to describe the hiking here except to say it’s especially restorative here in Seoul, where the air sucks. Hiking is the national past time. Come visit. You’ll see how serious Koreans are about hiking, all outfitted in windbreakers and visors, walking sticks and pocket radios.

If you get tired hiking, you can stop at one of the fitness parks on the side of the mountain (as if hiking weren’t enough) and play badminton, hula hoop or work out on the fitness equipment.

I’ll start carrying a camera. In the meantime, Manouchka Elefant has Ansan images.