Posted by : Ruby Escalona Wednesday, May 23, 2012

If you're a frequent reader of this blog, you'll know that most of the entries here are composed because of boredom - the constant feeling of being stuck and not knowing what to do because I feel I've done everything that Manila has to offer.

Then an opportunity arose a week ago (it's May 12th as I type this), where I could enroll in Korean lessons for only P800 (roughly around $20), within a walking distance from where I work, and the end of which is a diagnostic exam where if I pass, I could move on to Level Two.

The idea was first sprung to me by my colleague (Hullo Ash), who was addicted to Korean Television Shows. She wanted to learn Korean as a way to understand what the actors are saying without reading the subtitles. Me? Why do I want to learn Korean? Hmmm.. let me count the ways.

1. A chance to learn something new.
On my travels, I realized that the world is so big, full of different cultures, speaking a ton of different languages. Of course, since my time on earth is limited, I want to soak up whatever the world has, and hence, learning new languages is part of my goal.
Ultimately, I would have preferred to have learned something more useful, like Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, or French, but I wouldn't complain :) At least I'm learning a new language that I can use when I do go back to Korea.

2. The beauty of being able to communicate abroad

Sure I could only use Korean whenever I travel to Korea, but on my February 2012 trip there, I have learned to appreciate the place. This country will always be memorable to me as it where I got my first taste of solo international backpacking was like, and was also the first place where I had encountered winter. I live in a tropical country with only two seasons!

When I was trudging along Korea the first time around, I found that knowing how to say Hello and Thank You in Korean really did go a long way. Now, learning more basic terms, I'm ready to go back and converse more with the locals.

3. The ability to read something completely out of the ordinary. 

The Korean language, much like Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, among others uses a completely different writing system. While it may look like a bunch of circles and straight lines to foreigners, I am more than excited to learn how to read them! I've studied Japanese before for two years in high school, and a term in Uni and there's nothing like trying to memorize all those symbols, which would in effect, make up words, and sentences. It's amazing.

And so, since the excitement and anticipation begins. My classes start on May 28th, from 9:30-11:30AM. (Good thing work has allowed me to change my schedule so I could work and study at the same time) Unfortunately, given that the online enrollment was a bit of a nightmare (it was next to impossible to get slots, but luckily I managed to get one), I was not in the same class as Ash (she is taking the 6:00-8:00pm class, along with a few others in a different team in the office) but maybe it's a blessing in disguise as we can concentrate more on the classes, and I can get to meet more people.

I'll be pulling in later work hours for three days a week for two months but it's well worth it :) I hope I get to pass the exams!

Hmmm... I do have to take two days off from class as I already have booked trips out of town while the courses are being held. But no matter, hopefully it won't conflict with any exam dates - if that is the case, I could probably request for another exam date then~

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