About

환영합니다

If you are learning Korean or want to learn Korean then you’ve come to the right place. If you are more interested in language learning in general, then visit my homepage, Viva Lingua. Alternatively, if you are interested in learning Japanese and/or also want to follow my learning journey then have a look at Japanese {on the go}.

An Introduction

I started this site way back in 2009, a couple of years after I first moved to Korea and started learning Korean, in 2007. I think that my initial motivation behind starting the blog was to write about my learning progress, and to post the authentic Korean content (both video and audio) that I found in various places on the internet and in Korea. I really enjoyed writing on the blog at the time; my efforts at getting Koreans to transcribe the content I found were met with gratitude and support from the Korean language learning community, especially from the other learners who also felt there was a lack of interesting online Korean content to learn from.

I ran the blog for a couple of years, until my motivation ebbed away, and eventually I stopped posting. By this point I was conversationally very fluent in the language (as I still am today), and the lack of good learning materials for intermediate learners and above sapped my motivation to continue studying as a separate activity. Instead, it was much more efficient for me to just capitalize on the learning opportunities that presented themselves for me in my everyday life, like watching Korean movies, learning songs, reading advertisements, and the interactions I had with members of my jiujitsu club. I think that my Korean became a lot more colloquial in this time, especially from hanging around the guys at my gym who I learned all kinds of colourful language from(!)

I decided to bring my time in Korea to an end in 2012, after five years of living there. It was an important time in my life but I felt the need to move on to regain my focus and continue growing. So I left in September 2012, and within two weeks had already left home again to travel to Brazil to train in jiujitsu. I had a good time, but I soon realized that dedicating myself to training was not what I wanted to do, and so returned home a month later. I also needed to return home because of financial problems I was having, having neglected calculating a realistic budget for my stay. So I came home, back to England, picked up a temporary part-time job in a toy shop over Christmas, and cursed myself for getting into that mess.

I can honestly say that the month of December 2012 was one of the worst I’ve had to date. I must have learned my lesson though, because so far, 2013 has been full of highlights.

While working that Job I also applied to a teaching company in Japan, a country I have always been enticed by, but all the more after my time in Korea, and learning Korean. On Boxing Day (December 26th) I learned the good news that I’d been offered the job. I accepted to start working on May 1 2013, a date that I couldn’t wait to arrive soon enough.

2013 started with a short (and mostly sweet) return trip to Korea to teach a winter English camp for two weeks. When I got back, I immediately started studying for an English teaching certificate, the Trinity CertTESOL, at a school in central London. Every weekday for a month, I woke up with the birds and went into London by train, arriving home late at around 8PM. The certificate was grueling but thoroughly worth-while. It ignited my desire to commit myself 100% to a career in language teaching.

May eventually arrived and I took my flight to Japan. So far, everything has gone far better than I could possibly have hoped for – both with my job and living situation (I am poor though, I will confess that much)

After completing my first teaching contract I’m enjoying a bit of a break, where I’ve planned to really focus on writing on my blogs and using my experience and expertise to help other language learners. I’m also getting into learning Japanese, while focusing on a few other things for my personal and professional development. You can read about the Japanese here, and you might be able to read about the others on my main blog – if I decide to post about them.

So there you have it – a long overdue update for those of you who’ve followed me at some point; and some idea of who I am and what I do for those of you who are new here.

Hope I’ll get to talk with some of you soon.

– James


One Comment on “About”

  1. peter says:

    Hi James
    Thanks for this site and poem: I am a keen language learner with five on the go and have been making inroads into basic Korean for my trip at Easter. The structure with particles is making a lot more sense to me now and I am getting quicker at reading the alphabet
    I write music and will set this poem for my friend’s choir: I have already set texts in Czech, Romanian and Serbian so this would continue the tradition! They do well at the pronunciation for all.


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