Friday, July 28, 2006


I want to take a serious Korean class. Right now I am leaning towards the big YBM academy in Jongno - possibly starting in September.

Sogang University's Korean program attracted me for a while. At 3 hours a day, 5 days a week, plus homework, it likely would have reduced my weekday existence to school and work - but is that such a bad thing? I think I have a general mental trend towards laziness and sometimes it feels like the less free time I have, the more I accomplish. And Sogang has a generally good reputation among foreigners here.

But I've been unable to get a guarantee from the head teacher that I'll continue to be free between 10am and 1pm in future months. So it looks like, if Sogang is in my future at all, it will have to wait. (Yonsei and Ewha universities have comparable programs for foreigners, but the timing of the class appear to be just as inconvenient for me.)

YBM offers a less intensive experience than Sogang - 2 hours a day, 5 days a week. And the 3pm-5pm timeslot is perfect - my head teacher confirms that I won't have a class scheduled then anytime soon. There's also the matter of cost - a 3 month course at Sogang would have cost nearly 3/4 of one month's salary, though it could be argued that that would give me an incentive to study hard and make the most of it. YBM is not particularly cheap, but it's less of a financial hit than Sogang. Also, YBM is about a 5 minute walk from where I work, while Sogang U. is a bus ride away.

But how would the classes compare? The impression I'm getting is that YBM classes are focused on learning grammar and vocab, at the expense of actually SPEAKING. I can study grammar and vocab all by myself sitting in Starbucks. But do I have the mental discipline to actually do it? I think paying the money and taking a class is probably the best idea for me.

Anyway, I'm going to look into taking a YBM class, to begin in September. I'm almost certainly going to have to get a student visa - the red tape involved in obtaining a visa when I already have an E-2 work visa is something I will have learn about.

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