Weeks Three and Four of Korean Challenge + Final Thoughts

So I did it! I studied Korean every single day for thirty days. As someone who struggles with procrastination and creating structured study plans, I was really happy with the consistency I achieved through this challenge.

My attempted weekly blogging schedule, on the other hand, wasn’t as successful…

In this post, you will find:

  • A dreadfully late recap on the last two weeks of this challenge
  • Details on how exactly I studied
  • A video I recorded of myself speaking about the challenge in Korean!

Continued struggles with studying late

If you’ve read my last two posts, you already know I find it difficult to study Korean during the day. I assumed my time management skills would improve over the course of this challenge, but unfortunately week four seems to most clearly demonstrate my utter lack of them.

For others with heavier course loads in school or busier schedules, the way I completed this challenge might just not be feasible. That being said, I often went overboard and studied for an hour or two when much less time would have sufficed. Even if you can only study for twenty minutes a day, it’s undoubtedly better than studying for a few hours every once in a while like I did prior to the challenge. Just getting into the language-learning mindset and reviewing information every day goes a pretty long way.

Week 3Week 4

Which week was the best?

  • Week 1: Vocabulary and grammar
  • Week 2: Listening
  • Week 3: Writing
  • Week 4: Speaking

My favorite week was week three! But week one was definitely a runner up, so I’d like to give it an honorable mention.

Week 1

During the first week, I drastically increased my vocabulary and was having mini epiphanies every time I watched something in Korean. It was an incredibly rewarding feeling being able to recognize so many more words. I also came to the painful realization of just how limited my vocabulary is, which I guess needed to happen somewhere along the line.

Also, during this part of the challenge, I made sure to not only enter new vocabulary into my Quizlet set, but also reviewed them every day. This sounds obvious, but it isn’t enough to write down words once; you really do have to review them every day until you know them, even if it is tedious. I find that if a lot of time passes between one review and another, the words are harder to learn because I no longer remember the context in which I first encountered them. From there, it’s really boring rote memorization.

Week 3

Week three was the best because I got to see the information I’d been cramming into my head finally put to practical use. Each day that week, I would write a journal entry and post it to Lang-8, where Korean native speakers corrected it. Since self-studying a language can get lonely, it’s really nice to communicate with real people and see the fruits of your labor. Additionally, getting positive feedback is probably the best confidence booster out there.

HiNative feedback

What a kind person said after seeing a post of mine on HiNative                      I was so touched ㅠ ㅠ

Speaking

It’s getting to be a somewhat lengthy post, but I think it’s worth talking a bit about the speaking practice I did in week four.

For a lot of people learning languages alone, their reading and writing abilities advance at a disproportionally faster rate than their speaking abilities. The reason for this is obviously because so many of us lack native speakers around us.

If you can’t be bothered to find a language partner online on sites like iTalki or just don’t want to invest the money, the next best thing is language shadowing, which is a fancy way of expressing the act of repeating after audio recordings of native speakers till you can match their speed. Doing this, your intonation, pronunciation, and speed improves. Grammar patterns and vocabulary that you don’t use often start to roll off your tongue far easier.

In my case, I purchased a book from Talk To Me In Korean called Real-life Conversations in Korean: Intermediate and listened to the accompanying audio recordings. This is the sequence that I ended up making:

  1. Read the text.
  2. Listen to the audio recording, without trying to repeat after the speakers.
  3. Listen to the audio recording and repeat after the speakers.
  4. Read out the text by yourself to try and smooth out and trouble areas you noticed while reading along. Also, look up the vocabulary you don’t know.
  5. Read the text again, this time with the audio.
  6. Repeat step five until you’ve matched the speed of the recording.

This sounds way more daunting than it really is…

Of course, you don’t have to do exactly what I did; repeat after the audio recording as many times as it takes for you to get comfortable with it. Also, you can always perform these steps over a few days instead of all at once.

Total time spent studying

Week 3

Total active studying time: 485 minutes, about 7.8 hours

Total passive studying time: 200 minutes, about 3.3 hours

Week 4

Toal active studying time: 465 minutes, about 7.75 hours

Total passive studying time: 0 minutes (couldn’t find the time to watch dramas or variety shows that week…)

The Grand Total

Drumroll, please.

Through the entire challenge, I spent a total of 2,013 minutes actively studying.

That’s 33.55 hours.

I’d say that’s pretty decent for thirty days. It’s probably the most I’ve ever studied Korean, to be honest.

The video!

Now for what I am most proud of! I made a video at the end of this challenge to submit, and I actually ended up winning! 😀

If you’ve read this far, I’m incredibly grateful! Your interest means a lot to me.

I hope to see you back soon!

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