It’s a Great Feeling When You See Progress

Today I want to share a few experiences that have showed me just how much I’ve progressed in my Korean language ability.

At the ATM

My first experience was at the ATM. I had to make a bank transfer and I was able to complete the whole thing in Korean without having to switch to English. I thought back to when I first came to Korea, and I always had to switch to English before using the ATM. It was so embarrassing to do that, particularly at my bank. The ATM talks to you throughout the entire transaction. In the Korean mode, the sound is fairly low. But for someone reason, when you switch to the English mode, it is practically screaming at you. I can remember thinking back then how I quickly wanted to finish and get out of there. I couldn’t wait until I was able to comprehend enough Korean so I wouldn’t have to use the English mode.

Well that day was yesterday. I have used the ATMs before in the Korean mode, but this was my first time with completing a transfer in Korean with ease. It was such a good feeling to know that I am making progress. I sometimes can get discouraged by looking at those around me and wondering why I’m not at their level. So maybe my progress doesn’t look like theirs, but at least I’m making progress. And I’m proud of that.

At the Bookstore

My second experience was at Kyobo bookstore in Hapjeong. I went to the foreign language section but I couldn’t find the Korean study books. I had specifically come to the bookstore to purchase a workbook and I didn’t want to leave without buying it. So I mustered up the courage to ask the store employee where the Korean language books were. He responded by asking me if I meant the Korean study books. He proceeded to explain to me where they were and how to get there. Even though I couldn’t understand the entire sentence he said, I was able to hear that I needed to go to the A-store, to go through the tunnel and it would be on my left. After that, I knew what he was talking about and I was finally able to find what I was looking for.

While walking there, I was reflecting on what had just happened. I was able to communicate with someone in Korean by myself. I didn’t need someone to translate for me, and neither party got frustrated with the other. It was exciting to think of what I had just accomplished. I wouldn’t have been able to do that a year ago, or even six months ago.

These are the two textbooks I bought from the bookstore. It feels great and motivating to see that I’m no longer in beginner books. There were some days I never thought I’d get to the intermediate level.

Sometimes when learning a skill, it’s hard to always see progress. When you’re able to see it, it feels rewarding, rejuvenating, and provides great motivation to keep going. It reminded me that my hard work is paying off, and while it’s not where I want to be yet, I know I will get there. Looking back at when I first came to Korea I couldn’t understand a thing nor was I even hardly able to speak a word. Today was a great reminder of just how far I’ve come from since then.

August 18, 2017