I had a final meeting with only Haley present, as Yeaeun had already left Finland, and Mariona was getting ready to go. We baked one last chocolate cake, I ended up reminiscing about the course with Haley, and we took a drive around Tampere, looking at some final locations that she was interested in (such as Messukylä old church and visiting Pyynikinranta once again). Afterwards, we stopped by Tullintori and just walked and chatted. It was great fun hanging out with Haley, and I was very sad when it came time to say goodbye. I hope to visit Korea sometime soon to meet up again.
We ended up having a fewer meeting times because most of our meetings were 3-4 hours long, and there was the cottage trip that was around 8 hours. I liked having longer meeting times instead of a few shorter ones, because if things go really well and there’s a lot of fun things to do and talk about during the meeting, it’s a shame to cut it short. Also, some experiences (such as the cottage trip) just don’t fit into one or two hours.
During the course, I learned how to pronounce Korean words correctly and also learned a whole bunch of useful vocabulary for when I visit sometime. During our meetings together I asked for the vocabulary words to be written in Korean, not the English alphabet, so that I could practice translating them at home. This also helped me to learn the Korean alphabet better – I had a sheet of the alphabet with rows of signs, and I tried to memorize a new row every day for about 10 minutes a day on my own. Memorizing them on my own and then needing to translate the vocabulary into sounds after each lesson helped me with learning the Korean alphabet. This was better accomplished on my own, since I’m a bit slow with remembering the signs (I’m learning Japanese kanji at the same time, and didn’t want to get mixed up). I’ve found that learning a new alphabet is all about repetition – going through it over and over again until it sticks to your mind. This can easily be done at home. The part that I really needed help with was the pronunciation and learning new words, which we did together.
I really, really liked this course and would recommend it to everyone! It was so much fun learning about another culture and language from a native, and I was very happy to show them around Finland too. Learning together like this is the best, as it allows you to see the other person’s culture from their perspective and their enthusiasm helps to keep up your own enthusiasm about learning. I hope TAMK keeps organizing courses like this in the future too!