Ewha Womans University, 1
My name is Anna, I’m an ethnic Korean from Moscow, Russia. My family had to move to South Korea because of my father’s business. I graduated from Russian embassy school situated in Seoul and then I started studying Korean to get an opportunity to enroll in a Korean university. I learned Korean at the Ewha language center for a year. I started learning from the basics: Korean alphabet.
At first, Korean seemed simple enough to me (as there are no Chinese hieroglyphics!). I really enjoyed learning this language. I incredibly loved the Ewha textbooks, and the teachers were excellent. They perfectly explained the new material and knew how to “revive” drowsy students. Now I understand why the Ewha language center is the best in Seoul.
Unfortunately, my joy came to an end after being done with the basics. I completely couldn’t understand why the verb always stands at the end of sentence, and reading Korean texts, even small paragraphs became unbearable. I could only understand the meaning of the sentences after finishing reading it. At the beginning of the second level of Korean, things became incredibly difficult. All the new words seemed identical and to be honest, I just wanted to cry because of their abundance. How was I supposed to remember everything? Also my pronunciation was terrible back then, because in Russian, every word has its own intonation, but in Korean things were different. So sometimes my pronunciation sounded too emotional.
I didn’t manage to pass the final Korean exam of the second level. My self-esteem and self-belief completely disappeared at the time and I wanted to surrender. I asked my father: “If I did not pass the second level, then how can I pass the fourth one and go to university?”. How can I learn a language in just a year?
Then a teacher named Kim Hyun-jin supported me, and literally instilled confidence. I was shocked at how kind Koreans were! Thanks to these teachers, I wanted to enter Ewha and grow up to become one of the most diligent, intelligent and especially an amazing woman just like them. So I studied hard believing that someday I was going to understand everything and become part of this society. Finally, I passed the second level!
The higher the level I was, the Korean language was still difficult. I also felt guilty towards my parents paying for my courses and for all my mistakes. I don’t remember how but I pulled myself together. This time I really took the language seriously. I passed the third level and moved onto the fourth level. If I hadn’t passed my exams that time, it would have been too late for the submission period of documents to the university and I would have lost the whole year. Four hours of Korean language courses and more than five hours of daily self-study, homework, essays, books and films in Korean. I passed the courses, and then passed the national Korean language exam called “TOPIK.” Then without any help from others, I collected a huge bunch of documents and applied to the University of Ewha. I didn’t want to choose any other university than Ewha. Of course, in Russia there are no women’s schools or women’s universities, so it was scary to become part of a small society “without men.”
Soon came the results - I did it. I passed. I cried for a long time, because it was a very long journey. Everything was so hard when I was presented with new obstacles and I would ask myself “Well, how about giving up?”. Thank God everything ended well, although there are still four years of university life left, exams and nights without sleep for the translation of university textbooks, I am sincerely happy.
Tyan Anna firstname.lastname@example.org