Yonsei Korean Language Institute (:

I’m sure you know by know that I went for a 10-week Korean Language Programme @ Yonsei in Korea back in September 2014 (: I have repeated, “I went to Korea to study Korean” so many times that I no longer find it weird to say it out loud. Heh.

Anyways, just want to share my experience at Yonsei Korean Language Institute (KLI) and some tips on what school to pick (:

My experience at Yonsei KLI

The placement test
The placement test takes place a few days before school starts. Basically, the purpose is to ‘sort’ you into the correct level. There’s 2 parts to the placement test – written paper and oral.

The test is structured pretty much like a TOPIK paper. Just keep doing the paper until you can’t anymore (or till time runs out). Contrary to what I’ve read online (while prepping for my trip), the test is made up of multiple choices and fill in the blanks (you choose the correct words from a list). The essay part is right at the end and I think it’s for the highly skilled people ;p So, don’t stress yourself out (:

While doing the paper, the examiner will call you out for your oral test. The oral test is pretty straightforward. The examiner basically have a paper filled with questions to ask. They will go through the list and see how far you can go (: Questions range from what did you do last weekend, what’s your occupation, introduce a place of interest in your country and etc.

I was lucky. I totally fumbled during my oral cos I was so nervous! But the examiner realised that I could understand what she was saying and gave me a good score! She was my 읽기 teacher! I really enjoyed her lesson so much! I think I spoke a year’s worth of Korean sentences in her class.

<will go hunt for the photo I took with her>

Lesson Structure
It’s pretty systematic which I kind of like. Every teacher will have a thick book filled with sample sentences for the vocabulary and grammar of each chapter. Kinda interesting.

Baiscally, the class goes like this –

9.00 – 9.50 Conversation/Grammar/Vocabulary
10.00 – 10.50 Conversation/Grammar/Vocabulary
11.10 – 12.00 Reading Class (taught by a different teacher)
12.10 – 1.00 Oral Practice OR Conversation/Grammar/Vocabulary

A typical day in class will start with a recap of the grammar from the last lesson. The teacher will go down the row one by one, ask you a question and you have to reply using the grammar. For example, the teacher will go, “혜산씨, 영화 볼때 휴대전화를 싸도 돼?” and I have to reply with, “아니요, 영화 볼때 휴대전화를 쓰면 안돼요.”

Once that’s done, the teacher will start by reading the dialogue in the textbook (some teachers may make you memorise them). After which, the teacher will go through the vocabulary used and try to ask you questions related to them. Then she will bring you through the grammar for that chapter. What I liked was that…The teacher will give you sample sentences and go round the class to get you to construct sentences with it on the spot *thumbs up* Stressful, yes. But damn useful!

Reading class…I have really different experience with different teachers. My first teacher was awesome (my oral examiner!). She will read the passage, make us repeat then make us read it on our own. She will also go through the vocabulary and then…FREESTYLE! She will ask us questions regarding the passage (like comprehension), tell us stories, encourage us to tell her about our own culture, introduce us places to go for the weekend etc. If we speak in a language other than Korean, we have to pay 500won! Fun!

The 2nd teacher for Reading class was kinda boring. She followed the textbook to the T. Yawn. And when it comes to words that are commonly mispronounced, she will jump on you even before you read it. She naturally assumes that you will pronounce it wrongly. Like WHAT?! And she likes to answer her own questions! I gave up participating in class after awhile ;p

Anyways! After Reading class, the last lesson is used to wrap up loose ends from the 1st and 2nd period. If there’s time, there’s oral practice (:

Oh yes, after mid-terms, they will swap your teachers 😦 I find it rather disruptive cos you have to adapt to the new teacher all over again. But I guess, it helps cos different teachers may spot different areas that you need help with.

Homework + Exams
There’s homework everyday! Haha. This differ between teachers but the basic ‘set’ is to copy the dialogue from textbook (x2), form sentences with the vocabulary (x1) and the grammar (x2; dialogue style). Homework is not compulsory. But I highly recommend doing it. It’s really useful.

There will be mid-terms and final exams. Here’s how it’s split –

Oral – Scenario-based* + One-on-One Oral
Reading – Comprehension + Reading out loud
Grammar Test

*Scenario-based Oral is done in pairs. Basically, you will be paired up, given 3 scenarios and you have to work with your partner to come up with a dialogue. Each person needs to have 8 dialogue each and you have to memorise everything! You don’t know which scenario will be tested. Try to use the grammar and vocabulary learned in class!

Exams are spread over 2 days + 0.5 days (scenario-based oral usually done a week before exams). Results are announced the day after your final paper. Talk about efficiency!

Other activities

Different levels will have different activities. But there will be about 2 activities per semester – before and after mid-terms. For Level 2, we learnt how to make japchae before mid-terms and then had a singing ‘competition’ after mid-terms *cough*

making our own japchae (: that’s the awesome Reading teacher in the left corner!

I heard in Level 3, you have to act and in Level 4, you have to debate in…Korean! Gasp!

Tips on choosing school

Honestly? If you are already studying Korean, I will highly recommend going to the school of the textbook you are using (: As different schools teaches in different way (for example, Kyunghee starts with formal while Seoul starts with casual), if you jump schools, you might end up in a ‘lower’ level and having to re-do a lot of stuff.

If you are not studying Korean right now, you’re in luck! You can take your pick! But…do try to look through textbooks of the different schools before trying (:

Trust me. The textbooks is EVERYTHING. I spent 2 years studying 6 levels of Korean using Kyunghee’s textbook. After 6 levels, my Korean was still horrible. It was only after jumping to Seoul University’s and Yonsei’s did my Korean improved. So, textbook is important. Can’t stress this enough.

But I want to go to a school that concentrates on SPOKEN KOREAN.  

I guess that’s what everyone will say. Well…from my experience, I think it really doesn’t matter which school you go to. If you want to improve your 말기, your social circle/classmates are more important.

There’s only 4 hours of class everyday. How much 말기 can you do? Not much.

For me, my 말기 didn’t improve as much as my friends from neighbouring classes. Why? 60% of my classmates speak Mandarin, the other 30% speaks English! For the most part, I end up speaking in English/Mandarin to them. I only truly speak Korean to my Japanese classmates *facepalm*  On the other hand, my friend from the class next door…She had to speak in Korean because majority of her classmates don’t really speak English/Mandarin. Her 말기 really improved alot.

Oh and I didn’t manage to use much Korean in my daily life as well because everyone starts speaking to me in Mandarin somehow. Even if I speak to them in Korean/English to begin with. It’s really frustrating (though it does makes life slightly easier). BUT! I can now order delivery in Korean 😀

Yup! I think that’s about it for picking schools. Will try and write about accommodation (SK Global House) and getting a Korean SIM soon. Hopefully (:


back to class.

I’m going to be dancing again! 😀

Actually, just going to be exercising! it’s been almost 5 months. Hopefully it will help to get rid some of my body aches ;p


Sunday Devotion 25/1/2014

I have been reading Our Daily Bread and using “The Holy Bible” application (highly recommended) to starts plans. I particularly like Rick Warren’s because they are not overly preachy and helps to relate to daily life.

ANYWAYS! Sometimes, I find meaning words/verses/phrases and I do a screenshot of them. But somehow, an idea struck me today and I thought, “Why not just do a weekly Sunday thing?” Just in case the phone dies and the screenshots disappeared *choy!*

This is going to be necessary as PMS strikes this week. Imagine the OCD, the sarcasm and the honesty tuned up to the highest level.

Lord, please take control of my words today.
Fill me with Your words of love and grace.
Use them to turn some hearts towards You (or cheer them up).
I can do nothing without You.

– ODB, 2014

ageing doesn’t scare me.

but my parents ageing does. it makes me sad that they still have to work at their age.

sometimes i wonder how i can do more for them. sometimes i wish i can bear their pain instead. have insomnia instead of my mum.

Sunday Devotion 18/1/2014

I have been reading Our Daily Bread and using “The Holy Bible” application (highly recommended) to starts plans. I particularly like Rick Warren’s because they are not overly preachy and helps to relate to daily life.

ANYWAYS! Sometimes, I find meaning words/verses/phrases and I do a screenshot of them. But somehow, an idea struck me today and I thought, “Why not just do a weekly Sunday thing?” Just in case the phone dies and the screenshots disappeared *choy!*

It’s something I have been asking for this entire week – guidance (: This is something from ODB 2014 (not too sure which day)

Today, as you think about your relationship with God, remember that the Spirit is your guide to life in Christ (Romans 8:14)

Holy Spirit, Light Divine,
Shine upon this heart of mine.
Chase the shades of night away;
Turn my darkness into day. – Reed

I don’t know why but somehow the bitterness (towards a certain ‘friend’) kinda seeped into me while I was bathing. Kept them at bay for so long! This came at the right time (: I blame it on the flu medicine – drowsy= emo me.

Happy Sunday, everyone (:

getting what you want.

I don’t know why this image hit me while I was bathing just now. It’s been a while since I have this kind of “inspiration”. I used to be full of them when I was still in school. Most notably, the one about the mountain and the amazing view (you need to work hard before you get to enjoy) analogy.

I have been job hunting for about a month now. From one bad experience and talking to my friends, I realised something…There’s more than one way to get to what you want. Especially when it comes to doing something that you want to. Let me elaborate.

a pictorial description. image tweaked from: tiny tower

a pictorial description.
image tweaked from: tiny tower

Imagine what you want is on Level 5 in the building. In order to reach it, the most straightforward way is to take the lift. Duh! But we know life is a funny funny person. We might wait forever and the lift might never reach us or the lift might be under maintenance.

What would you do? Would you keep waiting?

Well, we can keep waiting. Yes. But how about taking the stairs? Yes, it’s going to take a much longer time, take much more effort and it seems a little unfair. Why must we take the stairs when others can take the lift? Let’s just wait. It will come to us eventually.

But here’s the thing. Compared to taking the lift, you can actually find out what the other floors have. With reference to the picture, If you take the lift, you will never know that there’s a sushi bar on Level 4! You will never know just how determined you are. Plus, when you do finally reach Level 5, you will treasure it even more (and have a whole load of experiences to share)!

The longer you spend waiting for the lift, the later you will reach Level 5. The older you will be, the tougher it is going to be for you to climb the stairs.


This might not be the best example but it will have to do. For example, you want to get buy a car. You can wait for money to “fall down” from the sky (i.e. take the lift) or you can start saving and planning (i.e. take the stairs).

Another example is if you want to work as a counsellor but lack the qualifications…You can either keep trying and hopefully someday you will get the job (i.e. take the lift) or you can go out there and start gaining experience that may help you (i.e. take the stairs). If you just keep waiting, you will get older. The older you get, the harder it is for you to switch jobs. Plus, your resume is going to be empty. It’s not going to work in your advantage. This is something that seriously hit me this time. I am not getting younger.

Don’t use the same method and hope to succeed. Not going to happen.

I know it’s not easy to decide to take the stairs. Fear. Inertia. Why is life so unfair? And loads of other concerns…But, if you don’t move, life will continue to be unfair to you. The lift will not come.

And just remember this –

the graffiti i walked pass everyday in Korea.

Fighting, everyone!

(And hopefully, I will remember this analogy and apply it to my life too :))

Sunday Devotion 11/1/2014

I have been reading Our Daily Bread and using “The Holy Bible” application (highly recommended) to starts plans. I particularly like Rick Warren’s because they are not overly preachy and helps to relate to daily life.

ANYWAYS! Sometimes, I find meaning words/verses/phrases and I do a screenshot of them. But somehow, an idea struck me today and I thought, “Why not just do a weekly Sunday thing?” Just in case the phone dies and the screenshots disappeared *choy!*

A short one this week (:

12 Be happy in your hope, stand your ground when you’re in trouble, and devote yourselves to prayer.

16 Consider everyone as equal, and don’t think that you’re better than anyone else. Instead, associate with people who have no status. Don’t think that you’re so smart.

21 Don’t be defeated by evil, but defeat evil with good.

Romans 12