Mark and I have been keeping busy the last couple weeks in Korean (hangul) language classes at Metro Korean Academy. Father noticed us looking over a Korean book we purchased back in the States and immediately got on the phone and found us a class to take until we begin working in February.
The school (or hakwon) is located in the art district of Seoul and just a 20 minute subway ride from Father's apartment.
We are in class Monday through Friday from 10am to noon.
This is a very bad picture of the front desk/lobby area.
This is the break room / conference room.
And this is our classroom!
Here's our teacher. We call her Song Sang Nim, which translates to teacher. She speaks very little English, but is very good at acting out words and seems to have a bottomless pit of patience.
There are only three of us in the class, Mark, me, and Stephan. Stephan is from the Netherlands, but married a Korean woman back in 2001. He saved up 2 months of vacation time to come here and study the language. He speaks Dutch, German, English, and soon, Korean. The class is probably particularly challenging for him because the book and any translation is in English, which isn't his primary language!
Here I am feeling very awkward that Mark is taking a picture of me in the middle of class.
Here is our teacher pointing out my mistakes in the previous night's homework (or sukja).
Once again, highlighting the enormity of Mark in this country, look how tiny the desk looks when he sits in it!
Mark has really grasped the language quickly. He seems to catch things more quickly than I do, which is slightly frustrating for me since I actually AM Korean and knew at least a few words the first year of my life!
So far we have learned how to say the months, numbers, a little vocabulary, and a few handy phrases to get around Seoul. However, a majority of our time has been focused on sentence formation and conjugating verbs.
One thing we've found funny is that our teacher flashes pictures of various celebrities on the television so we can practice making sentences stating their nationalities and occupations. Some of the gems that she's used to represent Americans include: Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Naomi Campbell, Brad Pitt, Obama, and Oprah. Go USA!
We've only been in class for a week and a half, but we can see ourselves making progress already. We can read (albeit slowly) and understand some things that are said to us.
We have a Korean cooking class tomorrow - we'll try to take some pictures. Should be fun!