Study Abroad: Korean Language

One of the workbooks I used during my virtual study abroad, July 2021.
Another workbook used during my study abroad, July 2021

Well, the study abroad was… an experience. It’s not the fault of the university that the pandemic ruined plans, but that was just the beginning of my bad luck. I didn’t even want to take the language course, I wanted to take a class on Korean culture, history, and society. But that class didn’t make, so I got put into the language class, and (against my knowledge and consent) a class on K-Pop which I almost failed for not participating in even though I wasn’t informed I was in it and did not intend to participate in. Some of the bad experiences were my fault, such as sleeping through the first class due to misunderstanding Korean time zones, I forgot they were on the other side of the international date line, so their Monday was our Sunday, and I spent the first few days playing catch up. Another mistake was insisting I could work and do the study abroad at night. Yes, I technically could, but it exhausted me to a tiredness I haven’t felt before or since.

Honestly, in the short term, despite my frustrations and despite failing the class due to an honestly stupid grading scale that placed a 100% grade on a final exam, I did enjoy the class and enjoyed learning. However, in the long term, I feel that I got the short end of the stick. I’ve since forgotten almost all the Korean I learned, and because I didn’t get the full, immersive experience of actually getting to travel abroad, I feel like I missed out. Was the class beneficial? Ultimately, I’d say yes, but only slightly, and I only gained a fraction of what I could have potentially experienced had I actually been able to study abroad.

A certificate I received for partaking in the program, July 2021
The top of a massive stack of index cards I made containing every Korean letter, number, word, and phrase I learned, complete with translations and pronunciations on the back, July 2021