The department here at Sheffield is astounding
Why did you choose to study Korean?
Whilst I cannot deny that K-pop was the first thing that introduced me to the Korea peninsula, it certainly provided me with a gateway into Korean culture and the language which ultimately lead me to fall in love with everything Korean.
Originally, I was going to go into drama after my A-levels however, during year 12 I got the opportunity to do the EPQ where I focused on Korean education compared to British which provided me with so much information about Korean customs and traditions that made me feel drawn to the country.
After learning more about the culture and language I decided that Korean Studies was the best degree for me due to my love and passion for the language.
What attracted you to the University of Sheffield?
Sheffield has so much to offer not just as a university but as a place also. The department here at Sheffield is astounding. Every lecturer and ever staff member is both friendly and approachable which makes it easier to ask for help when struggling.
The course structure and the way the lecturers expressed their passion for teaching was ultimately the determining factor for me. Sheffield itself is such a lovely place to live with lots of entertainment and places to go with your friends. It is both small and cosy and yet still has everything a student could ask for.
What do you enjoy most about your course?
For me, even though there are times where I really struggle, I know that there are so many people to help me. Not just my fellow class mates but also my lecturers and my Korean friends that I have met while being here. I get to study a language and culture that I love in a relaxed and enjoyable way.
After I graduate with this degree, I am certain that I want to live and work in South Korea or if the opportunity arises, I'd love to further my studies within this beautiful country.
Korean Studies BA
What has been your most memorable moment of your first year in Sheffield?
There are so many amazing memories to only pick one! By far one of my most memorable moments is when my course mates and I once took all of our Korean friends to laser quest (as none of them had ever heard or played it before) and whilst we were there, we were all comfortably speaking in Korean and English, making new friends whilst having fun and using what we had been taught in class.
How have you found learning a new language?
I admit, I have found learning Korean quite difficult at certain points within the year. However, after you revise, work hard, put your head down and truly put your all into your studying, the feeling of accomplishment and achievement is amazing. When I struggle with grammar points I can easily go and ask advice from my lecturers as well as my tandem partner so that I can work on my mistakes.
Since coming to Sheffield, the hard work I have been putting into the course is always noticeable. The key thing to remember is that it is okay to make mistakes. Once you make mistakes you learn from them and build on them. So, whilst it can be difficult to learn the language from scratch, I never regret picking it. The difficulty isn’t too bad, and the lessons are structured in a way that naturally flows making it slightly easier to understand and pick up on techniques with Korean language.
What is Sheffield like to live in? Do you like the city?
As biased as it sounds, I love Sheffield. There are so many places that you can go to that are just a bus or tram away. The peak district is breath-taking and is great to go to when everything is a little too much. There are so many restaurants in Sheffield that have the best food and with Meadowhall, bowling and laser quest 20 minutes away on the tram, you never get bored.
Living in Endcliffe is lovely, there’s so much grass area and in summer it’s lovely to sit outside and do work or play football or just relax. No one is ever too far away from you and so it’s always possible to have fun with all your friends. There are so many activities you can do through the give it a go programme like sports or drawing or even skateboarding which makes the place feel more enjoyable.
What are your ambitions for the future?
My main ambition is to reach the level of fluency where I can speak confidently and comfortably to natives without being nervous. Whilst this goal will take some time, I’m sure I will be able to accomplish it. In terms of a career, due to my ties with drama, I’d love to follow a career that allows me to still experience the performing arts without being directly involved for example: marketing or management.
Whilst I still need to research into these career paths and what is on offer for me after I graduate with this degree, I am certain that I want to live and work in South Korea or if the opportunity arises, I'd love to further my studies within this beautiful country. But as it is so early on for me I am still open to discovering more career paths that I can follow that I will hopefully find when I visit the country.
Do you have any advice for students thinking about doing Korean Studies at Sheffield?
Try to discover as much as you can about Korea. Either through kdrama or K-pop just so that you have a basis to work on when you arrive in Sheffield. As well as this, try to do some studying of Korean before coming. It doesn’t necessarily have to be much, but I’d suggest learning a few simple grammar points and also learning hangeul so that you are confident in reading Korean.
Whilst this degree is so fun and interesting, you have to put a lot of hard work into your studies. So, make sure you work hard not just in speaking but in listening, reading and writing too as they are all interlinked.
Also, try and get as close as you can to your tandem partners. They will be scared or homesick whilst they are here, and it would be good for them to have a close friend so that they can learn from you. This also goes both ways as it will give you a chance to speak Korean more freely without fear and giving you someone to talk to when you are struggling with the language, whilst also gaining a friend for your year abroad.
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