For the last few weeks, we had the pleasure to host a very interesting French guest called Vincent. Vincent has come to South Korea in order to immerse himself in the culture and learn the language, pursuing his childhood dream of becoming a polyglot. While some people’s approach to learning Korean consists in taking intensive daily Korean classes in university owned language centers, other like Vincent self-teach themselves and come to improve their language skills by engaging into work or volunteering in the country. When I asked Vincent why he chose to learn Korean and come to South Korea, Vincent told me it was because South Korea had a relatively central geographical location in North-East Asia, area in which he has a strong interest. Before coming to Seoul, Vincent had already learnt some Mandarin and Russian and spent some time there working and volunteering in order to improve his language skills. He also spent time working on his German and English skills, while keeping on practicing his Chinese pictograms daily.
Korea was also of interest to Vincent because of Buddhism, and the conflict with North Korea. This kind of political events are not something that everyone gets to experience and Vincent is really hoping to one day be able to witness the reunification of the two Koreas and talk with Koreans about it.
So when it comes to learning Korean on his own, Vincent opens his Korean learning method books daily for about an hour and a half after breakfast, and listen to lots of audio tracks. Internet research is also a big part of his routine, whichever language he is learning, consulting phonetic videos on Youtube and other platforms. Weekends are resting days though, as the brain needs to rest a bit in order to process all of the newly acquired vocabulary during the week. He then tries to apply what he learnt by communicating with Korean people in his daily life. I was pleased to hear that Vincent found Korean people to be very warm and welcoming, having several time been approached by Koreans who wished to help him find his way or introduce him to their culture.
In France, Vincent works at the airport with tourists, guiding them from terminal to terminal and helping them out. He also volunteers a lot, especially at the France-Tibet association. Before leaving for South Korea, he asked his association’s manager whether he had contacts in South Korea and that is how he heard about another association (http://www.rogpa.com/) here in Seoul. Since practicing Korean as much as possible is one of Vincent’s goals, he proceeded to go to that association and asked about volunteering opportunities. Vincent started last Wednesday but has already been learning a lot! He will be helping out in the coffee shop operated by the association, dealing with orders and clients, which ought to help him improve his listening and speaking skills quickly! Vincent also plans to go and do some volunteering with temple people and monks, where he might help prepare food for elderly people!
We wish him the best of success in his quest to master as many languages as possible!