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My Crazy Goals and How I Plan to Accomplish Them

8 Sep

So if you’ve read this blog, you probably have some inkling that I love Korean culture: its language, music, films, and dramas, as well as its history (which I plan to study soon!). However, there are many things I want to accomplish while I’m here in college and really I have this crazy goal of knowing 5 languages by the end of my senior year in college.

So I already know two very well, one at a very good (writing and reading-wise, I get nervous speaking it though) level, and one that I recently became acquainted with. So here’s the breakdown:

I really know Tagalog, although the more complicated words and phrasings escape me because I moved to the US when I was 11 and I wasn’t able to learn any more than a 4th-grade level Tagalog. Nevertheless, I can understand Tagalog without difficulties at all and I can write well in it too even if I haven’t tried in a while. Regardless, Tagalog was my first language so it’s not hard for me to talk in it.

English, I can say with confidence, is my best language. Even if it wasn’t my first language, I am very much aware of all its nuances, meanings, and rules and guidelines. I love history and part of loving history involves me reading books and writing essays and watching films. Therefore, embracing and learning English wasn’t that difficult for me.

I am good at Spanish even though I’m not confident speaking it. I’ve taken it for 4 years but I was shocked when I saw that I received a 4 on my AP Spanish test even though I was being optimistic when I said I was going to get a 2 instead. Still, I can write and read Spanish and can listen to people speaking in Spanish (if they speak slowly that is) but my nerves get the best of me when I speak it.

Japanese is the language I am currently learning in school and plan to continue learning with a possible minor by the end of my junior year. I’ve loved this language way before I loved Korean or any other culture. I love anime and even fell in love with J-Pop and films for a while. Some of my favorite films are Japanese movies (Akira Kurosawa “Ran” and any of Hayao Miyazaki’s lovely work).

For my fifth language, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the language I choose to learn is Korean. I made that decision recently and I would have taken Korean as a class at my college had it not been placed in that dreadful 8:00-10:00 spot (who the hell has the energy to stay up that late in a class??). Also a point of annoyance for me is that my school didn’t offer it as a minor because the language only goes to level 1.
So with a difficult task ahead of me, how am I going to accomplish my goal? Well I decided to take Japanese and Korean together along with my work schedule and my three other classes: Macroeconomics, Calculus, and American Musical (despite its name and topic is quite a challenging class because I have so much work to do for it).

Yes, I’m crazy! I already sleep everyday between 1 and 2 in the morning mostly working on notes and studying but taking two languages at the same time with ENTIRELY NEW alphabets to learn? I took too much sips of alcohol to make sense of that.

Why is it that I choose to endanger my well-being for learning a new language? Well, one, it makes my entertainment so much easier. You do not understand how much easier it was to multi-task when I learned Spanish and watched Spanish films at the same time (I’m a cinephile–I love my movies!). Two, two of my best friends are Korean and I pretty much go eat at restaurants and noraebangs with them. There, they have to take turns asking the waiter what I’m going to eat for me because when Koreans engage in conversations with their native tongue, it’s just hard for them to turn it off, especially when you’re in a Korean establishment. Three, I love Korean music, food, and entertainment! Think of all the opportunity costs I racked up reading translated lyrics, memorizing romanji lyrics, waiting anxiously for subtitles because I don’t know Korean! Plus, I get to talk to my friends in Korean and understand them talking. Big pluses for me. Lastly, it’s a bar I set for myself that I want to accomplish. As negative as this may sound, I am idealistic and ambitious. I want to fulfill my ambitious demands for myself. So even if I lose hours of sleep practicing the new language, I’m willing to do it because I actually love the language I’m learning.

I think the trick to learning a language is to constantly engage in it as much as humanly possible. Considering that I have 225 Korean songs and counting on my playlist, I have a tight Korean drama-watching schedule, as well as an interest in Korean films, it’ll be useful context for me to remember the stuff I’m learning. Plus, I can learn at my own pace if I teach myself Korean rather than learn at the instructor’s pace (which is organized weirdly for me with my Japanese class). That wasn’t my experience with learning Spanish. Being that my school only had about 400 kids, and my class size being 83, we didn’t have room for more than one language. So, I had no choice but to take Spanish. Initially, I wanted to take Japanese but that wasn’t the case then. Now, with my growing affection for Korea steadily building up, I think it’s the perfect time to learn Korean alongside Japanese.

Plus, I have this insane fantasy where I translate sentences, words and phrases from one language to another. Like from Filipino to Japanese to Korean to Spanish to English. Just for funzies!

Anyway, how am I going to accomplish this? Well I’m going to have to learn on my own. Talk to Me in Korean is such a good tool that I might focus on that while I begin learning Korean. Of course, I ought to buy a textbook that will do the same for me (luckily it’s available at the bookstore :D). But pretty much this is learning on my own and it won’t be easy but it’ll do the job.

So wish me luck on my attempts! As crazy and futile as it may sound, I think it’ll work out! I’ll try to keep updates about how that’s going through my College Diary segments 🙂

–Clarence

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3 Responses to “My Crazy Goals and How I Plan to Accomplish Them”

  1. Sakina September 9, 2011 at 12:56 am #

    Best of luck! I love how ambitious you are, that’s the only way to BE! 😀 And now is the time (18-25 years old). I speak Spanish and Arabic pretty well, and want to learn Kurdish and Korean but I haven’t been proactive about it too much. Anyway, All The Best!

  2. berry September 9, 2011 at 8:49 pm #

    i can only say WOW and good luck 😀

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