It’s a little less than 2 months before i head back to the US. I still have to finish up this semester first though. The time here has been going by very quickly. It will be 2 years living here and studying Korean. I’ve learned a lot, but still have a far way to go to be really good at Korean. I’ve grown a lot here too confidence-wise. Overall living here has been a good experience for me, but i feel it’s time i get back to working, getting a house, starting a family, etc. I could find a job here as an English teacher, but I want to do something more creative like making websites again. And i’ve been somewhat homesick lately and want to head back to the US. I think it’s cause i’ve been in the same place for two years straight that just happens to be a highly populated area of Seoul. Most of the times the crowds don’t bother me, but i’ve found myself wanting a change…
So i’ll head back to the US and start looking for work. But before i head back, i’m going to take a short trip to Japan and take advantage of living a couple hours away. It’ll be my first time going there and should be fun. As along as I don’t get lost that is… But i’m sure it’ll be fine 🙂 I’ve met a lot of Japanese students at Yonsei and Sogang universities, and some have offered me help in basic Japanese phrases. I’ve always wanted to go visit Japan and learn Japanese since high school, but never got around to it. I’ll make sure to take a lot of pictures. I’m pretty excited about it 🙂
Hey, I found your blog while searching for Korean Language Programs in Seoul. I’ve been debating on which one to go to. I’ve read all of your blog and was wondering which one do you prefer? Yonsei or Sogang? Thanks if you could answer my question.
I think it’s amazing that you got to stay in Korea for 2 YEARS. I’m planning on going there myself in March (hopefully). I hope to stay for 1 year.
I would definitely recommend Sogang University’s language program. Yonsei is good, and very popular. They focus on grammar a lot, which is good. I learned a lot of grammar during the year and a half I was there, but not much in the way of speaking. This may have just been because I didn’t socialize as much with others as I should have.
At Sogang, we all sat around 4 tables instead of individual desks at Yonsei. The teachers would explain to us different dialogues with new grammar and words in Korean, and then we spend most of the time practicing those dialogues with each other. This, to me, was a very good teaching method because we got to use the new words and grammar in a normal everyday dialogue. At Yonsei, we would practice just one dialogue per day. And we would just practice it once or twice with each other, and once or twice with the teacher. At Sogang, we would stand up in class and walk around practicing the same dialogue over and over with each other. This gave us a chance to meet each other better too. Especially since many of the students there cannot speak English.
Sogang covers 2 to 3 grammar points over two days. The first day is an introduction to the grammar and the next is review. Yonsei covers 2 new grammar points every day which can be a bit overwhelming if you miss a day or two and things start piling up. Also, at Sogang, after every 3 chapters (sometimes 2), there is a review day that covers the grammar and words learned beforehand. This is also very handy. At Yonsei they have a review day after every 4 chapters.
At Sogang, there is an optional writing class that you can sign up for. This is considered the first hour. The second and third hours are focused on grammar/words/speaking. And the 4th hour alternates each day between listening and reading. At Yonsei the first two hours are grammar/words/speaking. The third hour is reading. And the 4th hour is more grammar/words/speaking. There are also sometimes some listening practice during the 4th hour, but depends on the chapter.
I’m not sure if it was because I got all the practice from Yonsei beforehand, but I felt I gained a lot from Sogang. Their focus on speaking was very good for me. I had to start at level 2 at Sogang even though I got to level 4 at Yonsei. But my speaking skills were too poor. But after level 2 and 3 at Sogang, I felt much more comfortable speaking in Korean with Koreans. I can’t speak on very deep subjects, but enough to hold a basic conversation and get my point across most of the time. I still need to memorize words more and more which is very key.
Oh also, at Sogang they have a 1 week vacation during the course and a couple of field trip/activities. And on the last day everyone goes to a graduation together, then has a special lunch, and also receives a report card. At Yonsei there is no vacation during the course, although both schools honor the Korean holidays if they happen. There are a couple of field trip/activities. Yonsei will have their finals before the last days of class. So after the tests, there are still days to come and study–even up to the last day. There is a graduation, but it is only for the 6th level students. And if you want to watch it, you have to skip class which I thought was dumb. And to get your grades, you have to log on to their website and fill out a teacher evaluation form before you can get the grades. But it is only for the teacher you have during the 2nd half of the semester. At Yonsei, after the mid-terms, you get new teachers, where as at Sogang, you have the same teachers through out the course. Also, Yonsei’s evaluation website is very hard to get working with newer browsers–in other words, the form sometimes doesn’t show up at all.
So yeah, I would recommend Sogang. It’s smaller, but my experience there was better overall and much more memorable. And just some advice, speak Korean as often as you can while studying it, and also memorize all the words too! 🙂 Good luck with your studying!
Oh wow, I wasn’t expecting all this info, but I am so grateful that you replied. I applied to Sogang and just got accepted. Because of your review, I don’t think I’ve made a bad choice anymore. 1000 Thanks. Absolutely awesome!!!!
cool! hope it’s a fun learning adventure there 🙂