By: Baneen Fatima, Humber International Student
Yes, I know, I know! Korean has become my obsession. I have loved different cultures (as I keep reminding you guys -_-) and now I have grown to want to learn more about them. At first, it was just me going “Gaga” over Lee Min Ho (he is super cute – Google him :D). Then I realised that the culture and the way people think, behave and react to situations is so very different from what I would have done.
So what am I doing about my obsession? I am learning Korean! No, not official classes! I don’t have the money for that… yet (still a broke student :$). Initially I was self-studying but I thought I wanted to do more. So, I started exploring. I was invited by the Korean Embassy, here in Canada, to attend classes that they hold for people interested in learning and, get this, it’s completely free!
At the Korean Embassy
I also joined online communities where language exchange takes place. One website in particular had active people – mylanguageexchange.com. The only drawback of this website is that you can’t communicate with people unless you or the other side, have a gold membership (which is $6 US). So, in that essence, it is kind of discouraging. However, I like to believe that I am smart. So what I did was, in my personal introduction, I added my contact ID for Kakao Talk (this is like WhatsApp or Facebook that is used by most of the Korean folks). This way the person interested in learning English or Urdu can contact me, while I learn Korean or Mandarin from them.
Making friends from different cultures!
I know, the online platform sounds a lot like a dating website but it isn’t. I have made Korean friends all over the world and met with at least seven Korean speakers, who are interested in learning languages. Obviously, like every other social platform in the world, there will be some interesting characters. Those whom I have met with (with my friends, in public and in the middle of the day), were genuinely nice people who I now share voice recordings with. They teach me how to pronounce words and how things are written in Hangul (Kakao talk is pretty sweet).
Anyway, point is that no matter how strange or out of the “norm” your passion is, you should find ways to pursue it. I honestly never thought that I could study a different language with such ease, but its happening and it is so exciting! Who knows, maybe one day I will be writing to you guys from Seoul, Korea :D
Until next time, my (친구) Chingus!