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French vs. Korean Proficiency

French vs. Korean Proficiency

Learning a new language is definitely not a walk in the park for most people. They say things get better with time and practice makes perfect... So why is my French leaps and bounds better than my Korean when I've lived in Korea more than double the time?

Long story short: the practice FAR outweighs the time for me. During my five months in Senegal I was practicing and improving my French on a daily basis. Whether I was talking to my students, friends, coworkers, or people in the city, I was ALWAYS working on my French. Even if others could speak English I wanted to solely speak French. Practice. Practice. Practice.

In Korea I had the time. Plenty of time. Nothing, but time. And yet here we are. Outside of things related to ordering food my Korean is pretty much nonexistent. I learned the alphabet to be able to read and enough phrases to get by. I was missing the practice aspect. On a regular day, almost all of the people I interacted with spoke English with me whether it's their native language or not. It's hard to practice by yourself 😂

The different levels of immersion are clear. In Senegal, finding someone that spoke English was rare. It was easier for me to struggle through my French than the other way around. In Korea it was the opposite. My coworkers were all native English speakers, my students have to speak English, and I can struggle through the rest. Living in a foreign country is full immersion, but, as you can see, there's levels to this shit.

Now, I know I said time and practice were the keys, but I left out another thing. Motivation. Imma keep it real with y'all. I was not motivated to learn Korean like I was with French. From the new alphabet to spelling to the backwards (compared to English) grammar. After a few months I decided it was above me. There weren't any natural settings for me to use it (because of the Panera) and, quite frankly, I didn't NEED it in a year. That wasn't the case for French in Senegal 🤷🏾‍♀️

Now that I'm in Haiti I'm going to do better. Truth be told, I already have a head start 💁🏾‍♀️

Have you ever studied another language? How'd it go?

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