Note to Self for Korean Learning

Updated: Oct 9, 2019

I am currently on my 4th contract in South Korea and now completely understand how someone can live here for 10 years and not speak Korean. However, thanks to Motivate Korean I am well on my way to having the foundation to learn Korean. Some of his learning and teaching philosophy I had already, but Jeremy has taught me so much without even knowing it. You can find his courses here:

Motivate Korean

I took his course on grammar and plan to go through his pronunciation and hanja course soon. The grammar course was a great mix between stories, logic, and coaching. Learning a language is 90% on you and 10% on the teacher.(I just made those numbers up)

Make it Fun

Before Coming to South Korea in December 2015, I didn’t even know how to say “Hello” or “Thank You” in Korean. I haven’t been going step-by-step which is a little bit of an issue for me. For instance, I was at a Korean fast food restaurant and my friend was shocked when I didn’t know the word for take out(포장 po-jang) but earlier in the day I referenced a 꽃뱀(goat-bam flower snake) which roughly means gold digger in Korean.

“Be Fluent in 90 days!”

Maybe you won’t be able to read 안녕하세요 right now and in 90 days you will be talking about the theory of relativity in Korean. All I can tell you is that is not my experience and falling into that trap was mistake number one for me. Be careful of marketing.

Take the long road. It is actually the shortest way.


Review the basics.

Self Study.

Use the real world.

Scramble and make mistakes.

Retreat back to self study.


Make Mistakes: Be Kind to Yourself

For some reason, I get so discouraged when I mispell a Korean word but when writing in English I usually could care less. Kind of like how I misspelled “mispell” right there. Making mistakes isn’t such a bad thing. In fact, the mistakes might even help to cement things more in your brain. For instance, I made the mistake of saying 고환 when it really should of been 교환. The second one means exchange and the first one means….testicular/testicle. Whoops. Now I know two words because of that experience. Learning from these mistakes is what it is all about. Once again, this is a note to self.

Language Learning Teaches You How to Live

Everything is connected. I have trained for marathons the past few years. Daily journaling while living and working in South Korea. EVERYTHING is connected and you can learn so much from these things and transfer it into other areas of your life.

Be open.

Listen to Yoda

This was a common theme with Jeremy and me. He would TRY to teach me things and I would be TRYING to take it in instead of just taking it in. Don’t try to study Korean, just study Korean. It is almost impossible to teach someone if they aren’t open.

Sorry Jeremy haha.

Think about a “success” in your life and think about how you did it



You just did it, right?

“Do or do not. There is no try.” - Yoda

Smartphone - Use it, Don’t Let it Use You

You have more access to information in your pocket than the President of the United States had 20 years ago. Access to information isn’t a problem, but the filtering out of all irrelevant information is. Irrelevant information is anything that is distracting you from the task at hand. Let the information at your fingertips guide your learning and lead you to the next step, but don’t allow it to veer you off course.

Here are a list of apps that I use for Korean:

Papago vs. Google Translate


Drops(thanks Jeremy)

Naver Dictionary


Kakao Maps

DeerLingo(thanks Jeremy)

Evernote - To record native speakers and myself.

Study Habits

Study Everyday. Set a minimum amount of time everyday that you will study with the opportunity to do more.

Do 1 minute a day if that is all you have time for but do it now and do it consistently.

The best exercise is the exercise that you actually do.




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©2019 by JourneySkorea.