Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Lifestyle | Studying Japanese And Korean At University


Hello Lovelies! Recently I made the conscious decision that I wanted to share a little bit more about myself on my blog, which hopefully you guys will find interesting... I've mentioned what I'm studying at university briefly here, but oddly enough I've never really talked about it in detail despite it being something I'm incredibly passionate about! As biased as I am I think both Japanese and Korean are AMAZING languages to study, and I hope with this post I might even encourage one of you to learn them. So here are some of the questions people most frequently ask me, and my attempt at answering them: 


Why Languages? 

When I was in primary school (at about the age of 10/11), all of my year took this language ability test to see who would qualify for a language taster course at another school. Somehow I ended up being one of the five in my year chosen and so every week a taxi would come to pick us up, something I thought made me look famous at the time (insert sunglasses emoji) and we'd go off to this school to learn languages. As you can imagine I loved it, especially as I got to learn some really cool languages like Hungarian, Catalan, Icelandic and German and for me that was the point that I realised I really loved learning languages. 

Why Japanese?

I'm going to sound like such a loser right now, but a little part of me feels like it was fate for me to study Japanese, and honestly I don't even really believe in fate. Basically for the whole of my life I have stumbled across Japanese things I love, Hello Kitty was the first (I am still obsessed), then the Studio Ghibli films, Origami which I am horrendous at and the list goes on... But the real turning point was when I got to study it in secondary school. For pretty much all my life before then I thought I was going to study English at university, but after studying it for about a year I knew I wanted to study Japanese there instead. Not only did I love it, but I was actually good at it, so it just seemed like the natural decision to pursue a degree in Japanese.  

And Why Korean?

Unsurprisingly I got into Korean from K-pop and K-dramas. About six years ago, I watched a pretty hilarious video called Lollipop by my now two favourite bands 2NE1 and Big Bang, and originally I laughed at the video over and over again and thought it was pretty 'special'. But then I kept on watching it and realised that I actually really liked how different it was to mainstream music at the time. K-pop was fun, innocent and always surprising and that was something that appealed completely to me at the time, and obviously still does. Oh and K-dramas are amazing too by the way, addictive but incredibly melodramatic. But anyway long story short, I ended up teaching myself a little bit of the language with some amazing online resources and then spontaneously at the last minute I decided I wanted to apply for Japanese AND Korean, and now in my second year I finally get to study the language! 

How Similar are the two? (And Aren't They Both Super Challenging?!) 

Personally I've studied a lot of languages so it's a little easier for me and actually when I compare Korean and Japanese to languages like Chinese and Russian which I studied at school, they really don't seem so bad! But obviously they are challenging languages, especially as they work so differently from English - for example verbs are at the end of the sentence! So you really have to adjust your brain to a different way of thinking. That said with both Korean and Japanese, there is a huge payoff. They are both amazing languages, especially Japanese which has such beautiful words like the word for mushroom, Kinoko (きのこ) which literally means tree's child, awww. But the big issue most people usually have is with writing. Korean actually has a relatively simple alphabet, with letters that consist of very simple shapes: 안녕하세요 and luckily there aren't many either! However, Japanese is definitely a challenge with three different writing systems, Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji (Chinese characters), so Japanese looks a lot more difficult: 私は猫です。Writing Japanese definitely is very challenging, but I actually think the grammar is relatively easy compared to some other languages, so it's not all bad!

Where Are You Studying?

I'm studying at an amazing university called SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) in London - very close to UCL. What made me choose SOAS was the fact that it was a bit quirky, and really stood out from all of the universities I visited. You can study an amazing range of languages there, and as someone who absolutely adores languages, that kind of environment just seemed one I would feel completely at home at. Plus I can vouch for the Japanese teaching being amazing, it really is, so if you're thinking about studying Japanese, definitely think about SOAS!

Best Advice For Learning Languages?

Firstly take the plunge, a lot of people write themselves off as being bad at languages but I genuinely believe that no one is. I actually really struggled with languages like French and Latin, but then it turned out that Asian languages in particular clicked with me, so sometimes it is a case of finding a language that really works for you. In terms of learning a language, my best advice is to learn vocabulary as the actual meaning, rather than the English word. So rather than learning the foreign word for apple, as 'apple', picture the apple and associate it with the foreign word. You'd be surprised at how much easier this makes a language to learn. 

Thank you for reading lovelies! I know this was something a little bit different but I really hope that at least one of you found it interesting!

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20 comments

  1. I had french classes and oh my how hard was it! Good luck with learning Japanese and Korean

    Candice | Beauty Candy Loves

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    1. Haha, yeah I found French so hard and I studied it for years! Thanks Candice <3

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  2. Wishing you the best of luck dear! I imagine it's quite challenging but extremely rewarding in the end! P.S. I spy a little Totoro, heee! xxxxx

    www.romantiquely.com

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    1. Haha yes definitely, and yeah I actually got that little on in Japan! xx

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  3. this is so exciting and SOAS is definitely the right place. I remember I applied there but ended up choosing another uni. I loved learned languages when I was growing up and whilst I speak a few fluently, English was the last one I learned. I think I'm cool now, my brain is definitely not as fast as it used to be :p

    Good luck!

    Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

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    1. loved learning*...
      guess I'm not as fluent as I thought :p

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    2. Haha wow I'm surprised English isn't your first language, you are so fluent haha! I am quite jealous because English is the only language I can currently speak fluently lol. And yeah SOAS is an amazing place :)

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  4. This sounds so interesting! I would love to learn another language, but my memory is so terrible :(

    Meg | A Little Twist Of…

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    1. Aww my memory is terrible too, so don't give up on learning languages!

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  5. I love that you're finally open to sharing more about yourself, Vicky, it's really nice to learn more about you. You have my respect for learning both Japanese and Korean, I can't even read Chinese language, able to speak but can't read/write because it's so tough.

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

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    1. Aww thanks Shireen! Ah Chinese is so difficult to read and write though (know from my own experience!)

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  6. It's so cool that you know so much about languages! We were only taught one other language at school (not too well either), I would have really loved to learn a few languages like you :)

    Velvet Blush

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    1. Yeah, I was really lucky to have the opportunity to learn some really interesting languages at school!

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  7. I am SO glad you wrote about this, I love this post! Also, I completely forgot about Lollipop, how long ago was that? :O 2NE1 haven't released anything in ages... By the way, I'm so envious of your course, it just sounds amazing. Really regret not doing something like that myself sometimes with all the love I have for that side of the world. Looking forward to reading more posts like this! x

    Martha Jane | www.marthajanemusic.com

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    1. Haha omg I know, it was AGES ago. 2NE1 aren't going to release anything until after CL's American debut I guess? Yeah, well at least you can always give learning one of the languages a go if you want to! x And thank you so much lovely :)

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  8. This sounds amazing! I would love to learn a different language! Gaelic and Latin are at the top of my list!

    Renee | Lose The Road

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    1. Ah Gaelic sounds like it would be so interesting!

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  9. I'm so jealous! I would love to learn Japanese properly, I wish I done it as part of my course at uni when I had the chance!

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    1. Well if you ever get another chance, definitely take it! It's an amazing language :)

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  10. Ahh this is so awesome! I took a beginners Japanese course and I loved it, I'm so glad you wrote this, major motivation to start learning languages again! Good luck at SOAS! X

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Thanks for your comments, I love reading them and will be sure to visit your blog soon :) have a lovely day!

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