One of the best parts of studying Korean lately has been doing language exchanges. Like I mentioned in my last entry, I went to my first Say Kimchi meeting a few weeks ago. It’s a Korean/English language exchange in Toronto that’s apparently been going on for years and I never knew about it (fail!!).
It’s organized really well, with the intention of having an equal number of Koreans and English speakers so that we can all partner up. We speak in Korean for 45 minutes and then switch to English for another 45 minutes. The organizers even bring textbook printouts for the Korean learners and fun lessons about idioms and slang for the English learners, so that the partners have things to go over and talk about. Then we go to a restaurant after to talk more! So fun!
I’ve met some really interesting people, including some Koreans who are actually planning to stay in Canada and not go back to Korea after a year, which is great. I’ve made great Korean friends before in Toronto but since they were all here as international students on exchanges, they had to go back to Korea for a year and we’ve lost touch. Even in this age of 카톡 and facebook it can be hard to stay connected when you can’t see a person in real life once and awhile. So I’m really glad to find some people who are planning to stick around here!
I’ve also been running the language exchange at my university, which meets once a week. We’ve had an uneven ratio of English speakers to Korean speakers lately, with most of the students attending being university students who are studying Korean, so I went on a promotion spree and sent flyers to ESL schools and English language programs at local colleges, and it totally worked! Last week we had equal numbers of Koreans and English speakers! Woohoo!!
I’m pretty nervous though because our Korean professor messaged me the other day to tell me that the local Toronto Korean TV channel wants to come this Friday to our exchange to do a TV spot on it… and they want to interview me… in Korean. Ahhhh!! Super nervous… I told my Korean-Canadian friend about it and said that I wasn’t too worried because since it’s a local cable channel there’ll probably be like 3 people watching, and she told me “Oh, no, I know a lot of people who watch that show!”. Hmm, great…