The Korean language placement test turned out to be a completely useless thing. On Monday all of the international students went into separate classrooms and were handed this packet of papers about 20 pages long. It started out so easy and I felt so confident! Then I turned the page, and the next page… four pages in and I didn’t even know what was going on anymore. I was thinking, “is this even Korean?” nothing looked familiar. I was writing random things and guessing un-educatedly at the multiple choice and then they called me in to take the oral portion. It was abysmal. I was nervous and managed to spit out how long I’d been studying Korean, where I was from, and that I had a pencil (yeah). She told me to just stop taking the written test and turn it in. Turns out a lot of people made it about 3-4 pages in as well so I didn’t feel so bad.
The next day we got our placement results and I was actually placed into the absolute beginner class. Don’t even get me started on how it doesn’t make sense to put anyone in there if they can at least read the alphabet and form basic sentences. Laura and Haruka were both in my class and we got in there and, yes, were learning the alphabet. The next day they told us to be patient if we wanted to change classes and we learned how to say our names. I was getting pretty depressed because my main goal in coming here is to actually learn Korean and at that point I’d neither come into direct contact with actual Koreans nor was I going to learn anything in class. Anyway, after some pestering me and Laura moved up to level 3 which is perfect, we are reading passages and having conversations about them which is perfectly comfortable and not at all deserving of being placed in level one. (bitter) The course is actually too advanced for me, but I don’t mind working harder in order to learn something.
I actually ended up changing the rest of my courses as well, so all of the classes I attended last week were not actually classes I will be taking. Essentially this will be my first week, but I got into a pre-modern Korean history class (we were learning about neolithic man today; very pre-modern) and an awesome pop-culture class where we watch Korean dramas and movies and talk about movie stars. It’s going to be an excellent semester.