One Year of Learning Korean Online with KCC Indonesia

I knew that the Korean Cultural Center Indonesia (KCCI) in Jakarta was running Korean language course with the King Sejong Institute system, but I wasn’t aware that the course can be taken online until a friend informed me in January 2021.

Prior to the pandemic, my brother was enrolled in King Sejong Institute and took the course onsite. It was a wonderful experience for him, a big fan of Korean variety show “Running Man”, and he encouraged me to also learn the language because he knows how I enjoy watching K-dramas and movies.

I live 60 km away from Jakarta, so online Korean language course is more convenient for me. Together with my friend, I tried to enroll. For the reason of learning Korean language, I wrote:

In order to be able to communicate well with the teacher (sabeomnim) and seniors (seonbae) in the Korean-owned taekwondo academy in my town.

Since 2016 I am enrolled in a taekwondo academy and I’ve been learning bits of pieces of the language from my teacher and seniors without any proper and structured learning system.

The Cheon Ji In Taekwondo Academy in my town.

That changed after I was accepted in King Sejong Institute run by KCC Indonesia. I was equipped with the “King Sejong” and practices book (활동 and 익힘책). The learning is covered from four important aspects: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. I felt like I was back in university, all focused and ready to learn solely the Korean language.

Suddenly I have so many books to learn Korean.

Learning online is convenient and challenging in a way. Online course doesn’t negate the importance of student’s presence and participation during class. We must always turn our camera on and speak when being asked to. We mustn’t come late, more than 15 minutes of tardiness is regarded as absence and 80% attendance is a prerequisite for graduation.

The issue is with electricity and internet connection. If it’s stable, then everything’s good. If there is bad connection or power cut, then… good luck. I had experienced this and was upset for missing out one whole chapter.

My first Korean language teacher in Sejong 1A level was Jung Soo Ah 선생님. She was very kind, patient, and took her time to ensure that we understood the basics, be it Hangeul (the Korean alphabet system), the vocabularies (어휘), and the grammars (문법).

She gave us many homeworks every week and also introduced us to the Padlet app, where all students were required to write in accordance with the chapter topic. Jung 선생님 would correct our writing on the app and we could see the works of fellow classmates.

Writing forced us to employ the vocabularies and grammars we had learned so far in the classroom. We were also encouraged to find and use new words, new vocabularies in our writing to convey our intentions. Overall, it’s a very effective way for us to learn Korean language faster. I’m grateful for that.

One of our homeworks using the Padlet app. My work was of username: Rijo Tobing.

Learning Korean with Jung 선생님 on the most basic level was very rewarding. The homeworks and long hours of studying in class and by myself really paid off. Passing Sejong 1A level, my overage score for reading, listening, writing, and speaking tests was 96.75. I felt cofident to continue to the next levels in King Sejong Institute.

My teacher for the Sejong 1B level was Kim Seok Ju 선생님. Having been the class chief (banjang, 반장) on Sejong 1A level, I volunteered to be banjang again on Sejong 1B. Becoming banjang has helped me to improve my social and coordination skill when I hardly knew any of my classmates.

Our first class with Kim 선생님. She is a very neat and methodical teacher, who strives for equal abilities to read, write, listen, and speak in Korean. We practiced speaking as much as we practiced our grammar and there’s ALWAYS homework after class.

She also tried to get to know us personally. She would ask about our background, such as age, occupation, and family, and asked us to write and speak about it. She would correct every single mistake we made in our writing and speaking. My Korean has improved immensely because of her.

Just a few hundres of few thousand words I have written in the past semester. My dream of soon writing an article in Korean for doesn’t seem too far away now.

Last week was the last class we had with Kim 선생님 as we took our final tests. We of course got teary to say goodbye to the teacher who had pushed us beyond our limits, who had dedicated her time to us, in and out of classroom, so that we could master the language better.

Last day of Sejong 2. We were sad. Kim 선생님 even bid farewell to my youngest child who always ran around and distracted me during the 16-week sessions on this level, hahaha.
The card we made for Kim 선생님 to celebrate Chuseok this year while she was being in Korea.
The impromptu thank-you cards we made for her after the final speaking test. And… there was Gong Yoo.

It’s not farewell, we hope we’ll have Kim 선생님 again as our teacher in the future. As a personal gratitude I also wrote and sent her a thank-you letter.

선생님께, Dear Teacher. My favorite phrase while being the banjang is the greeting I led my classmates with when the class ended: 수업이 끝났습니다. 선생님께 인사하세요 (The class is over, let’s greet our teacher). I’m surely going to miss saying it.

In February I could barely write anything more than my name and a few words in Hangeul, but now I am confident to pour out my thoughts and feelings in a page-long letter written in Korean. It’s all because of the great, wonderful teachers in King Sejong Institute of Korean Cultural Center Indonesia.

I hope the online course will still be available even if the pandemic situation has got better. Online learning accomodates distant learner like me. It opens up possibility to master new skill, in this case mastering Korean language. I’m looking forward to attending more classes with King Sejong Institute of KCCI in the future.

Thank you. 감사합니다.


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