Recently, I was asked what the "best thing" I did in Korea was. My first thought was Yonsei KLI level 1. It had been my dream to learn Korean and I am SO glad I did. Therefore, I made a list of reasons why you should learn Korean, but obviously these are for people who already have an interest in the culture and language (if you hate Korea...you really shouldn't learn Korean ok?). This list is 20% serious and 80% not...so read for your entertainment. Either way, I think if you love Korea as much as I do, you should learn Korean.
- Learning to Read is Easy: The Korean written language (Hangul) has only 40 characters and that's counting the double consonants and iodized vowels, which are pretty easy to learn. Compared to Chinese or Japanese, it's a lot easier and faster to learn to read! You just have to sound it out. Even English is pretty hard compared to Korean I think. Just look at all the weird rules we have and the words that come from French or Latin. I have some friends that still think Lingerie is pronounced LIN-JUR-EE.
- Not a Lot of People Speak English in Korea: It is seriously a myth that it's easy to get around Korea just knowing English. Sure most of the young people might know how to speak a few words, but most of them don't want to. Maybe it's a confidence thing? A lot of people do speak Chinese. But if you don't know Chinese I guess that would be a slight problem right? Say you wanted to go to some hole in the wall restaurant that was run by Korean grandmas. How are you gonna order? Sure miming might get you somewhere but it sure won't get you far. I once had a friend accidentally order makkgeoli (the alcoholic rice drink) at a sujebi restaurant I showed her. I could order it correctly because I had my Korean friends teach me how to say it. But she just guessed and pointed to one of the words on the wall and that didn't turn out well. Rice wine isn't exactly a meal.
- No More "Eng Subs Plz": Don't we all hate depending on others? That's how I feel every time I can't watch a Korean movie or drama because it doesn't have subs. Of course my Korean isn't so good that I don't need subs any more but it's a place I'm trying to get to. Wouldn't it be great to be able to multitask while watching a Korean drama and just know what's going on by listening to the dialogue instead of reading every thing? I can only understand a bit of it now and every time I get immense satisfaction from it.
- Sing Korean Songs in Noraebang: Instead of defaulting to my memorized collection of 3 Korean songs (Nobody, Good Girl Bad Girl and Tell Me) I can actually sing slow ballads because I can read. It sure cuts down on preparation time prior to Noraebang. However, I still have to practice so that one day I can read so fast that I can rap 2NE1 songs. Mimimimimimimi-chigoshipooo~
- Actually Communicate with your Idol Lover: I have a dream of going on Running Man. I HAD a dream of marrying Younho when I was in middle school (hey who didn't) but I was always saddened by the unrealisticness of it because heck I didn't speak Korean! If I met him one day what would I say? Sure he might be able to speak English but probably not as well as I'd like him to so we could share our souls. So by learning Korean...you can feel like you're one step closer to marrying your Kpop Idol lover. Or for my case...BEING ON RUNNING MAN. Kwang Soo here I come.