Mannam Korean classes are simply put, the best Korean language classes around! The classes are free, the teachers are kind and highly skilled, the schedule is very accommodating, and the text books are some of the best available for promoting conversational proficiency. In addition, each semester offers additional opportunities to practice and build upon what you have learned through class field trips, dinners, movie nights, or other special events such as intensive camps, picnics, volunteer opportunities, Christmas parties, etc. Furthermore, students play an active part in the planning of these activities and the teacher’s rely heavily on the opinions and feedback of the students with regards to the structure and focus of the classes. One would be hard pressed to find a better opportunity for studying the Korean language than what these classes offer.
For me, these classes are a big reason that I am still living in Korea. I spent my first two years living in a small city in the southwestern part of the country where there were few foreigners, few English speakers, and virtually no opportunities for properly learning the Korean language in a formal setting. At that time, everyday life was difficult due to the language and cultural barriers that existed. Then, I found the Mannam Korean classes which were new at the time. Despite the fact that the classes were two and a half hours away, I decided to give them a chance and I am glad that I did. On my very first day, from the moment that I walked in the door of the Isu Cultural Center, I felt welcome. All of the teachers have been extremely generous in giving of their free time to help me and other foreigners not only learn the Korean language but also develop a deeper understanding of Korean culture. Anytime that I have ever had a question about the language or the culture the teachers have been more than willing to answer my questions. Most of the teachers have lived abroad and fully understand the difficulties of living in a foreign country, learning a foreign language, and navigating through the cultural barriers that pop up in everyday life. It is this experience coupled with a passion for sharing their culture, a sincere interest in other cultures, and a genuine desire to help others that motivates each of these teachers to freely give of their time every Saturday.
For nearly a year, I travelled to Seoul every Saturday for classes and ended up making friendships, both with my classmates and with the teachers, which I will maintain for the rest of my life. It was these friendships along with my improved understanding of the culture, and new found ability to speak the language that prompted me to not only stay a bit longer in Korea but to also move closer to my new friends and a city that I have come to love. Now, I live in Seoul and I am able to communicate in Korean on a daily basis at a fairly decent level. I am far from being fluent but I am capable of carrying on a conversation on a variety of topics with my Korean friends and teachers. I am only able to do this because of the Mannam Korean classes which I have attended since I began my formal study of the Korean language a year and a half ago. I know that without these classes, I probably would have returned to my home country a year ago and my time in Korea would not have been as easy and enjoyable.
I would like to say thank you to Sue, Kate, Jung Hyun, and Ji-yeong for teaching me and thank you to all of the Korean teachers for practicing with me, sharing their culture, and for just being good friends.
Mannam Korean Class Guro center / Jeff W. Rosser(USA)
2 Mar, 2013