Friday, August 22, 2008

우리 반 소개

There are 11 classes in this short-term summer 3-weeks course. Four classes each for Elementary 1 and Elementary 2. One class each for Intermediate 1, Intermediate 2 and Advanced 2. My class is Intermediate 2 and we are taught by a male teacher (임채훈) and a female teacher (박혜경). By the way, male Korean language teacher is considered "rare species" even in Korea. My class is quite well-mixed with 13 students from 9 countries - 4 from Japan, 2 from Singapore and 1 each from Australia, Indonesia, Germany, Poland, Thailand, UK and Vietnam. Among them, I am most impressed by our 19 years old feisty classmate from Vietnam. She is the 3rd prize winner of the first Vietnam Korean Speech Contest held by the Kumho Asiana Vietnam Scholarship and Cultural Fund in Hanoi on 3 July 2008. For being one of the 6 winners of the speech contest, she got herself a fully paid one-week tour of Korea and a 3-weeks language course in Kyunghee University. Before this trip, she has never been to Korea. Her father objected to her studying Korean. She also does not own an electronics dictionary. But within two years, since she started studying Korean in Vietnam, her Korean language proficiency has reached a very advanced level. Her Korean pronunciation is almost immaculate. She thinks and speaks in Korean effortlessly. I have never come across anyone who is as passionate as her in mastering the Korean language. When her Korean teacher asked her to write one page of essay, she wrote three pages. When the Korean Embassy donated Korean books to her university, she volunteered to translate all the book titles into Vietnamese. She even attempted to translate a Korean novel into Vietnamese. If she is considered hardworking then I am really lazy. In term of passion and effort, I am nowhere near her. But I am really glad to have met her. She showed me what I should have done but have not done and the most important lesson that I have learnt from her is that nothing stands in the way of a determined heart.

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