All views and information presented herein are my own and do not represent the views of the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State.
I will be leaving in a few weeks for Seoul, South Korea. To kick off my journey, the Korean families in my district had a wonderful picnic where I learned my very first Tae Kwon Do move – breaking the boards. It takes extreme focus and concentration. Breaking the four boards with one quick move of the fist was my first challenge in this journey of exploration and discovery.
Already, without having left home, I am experiencing another great challenge – to learn a new language that has almost nothing in common with English or any of the other languages I speak! I have been working hard at understanding the sounds and symbols of Hangul – Korean. I have spent many hours practicing how to read and write and how to use the keyboard with Korean symbols on my computer and phone. I feel like my Kindergarten students making sense of written squiggles. I have to confess that, although I have made some strides and can read very s-l-o-w-l-y, I can speak very little. Yes, I can “decode” or read the symbols but I do not comprehend most of what I am reading. Just like so many of my English learners as they try to make sense of the sounds and symbols in the English language.
I can truly empathize now with all my Korean students and their families – I am a KSL or Korean as a Second Language Learner!
In a few weeks, I will be immersed in the world of so many of my students. I will be sharing my amazing experience with you and hope that you will stay in touch with me through this blog.
Korea, here I come!