08 May Learner Spotlight: Amanda Chehade
Meet Amanda Chehade, a Korean language and culture fanatic who has learned Korean from scratch and is on her way to reaching fluency. We talked about what drove her to choose a language that is so different from her own and how she is successfully learning it.
Hello Amanda! Can you tell us a little about yourself?
안녕하세요 (Hello!) I’m from Hamburg, Germany and came to work in the UAE back in 2011. I’m currently working as an Administration and Office Manager for a multinational company in Dubai. If I am not meeting up with friends or family, I love to spend my free time with my four cats.
How many languages do you speak?
I speak five languages: German, English, Norwegian, some Arabic, and now I’m learning the Korean language. I have also learned a few other languages in high school and university (French, Spanish, Icelandic and Turkish), but since I never got to use the languages, I forgot most of them.
Five languages! That’s awesome! What inspired you to learn Korean?
It all started because I really like to watch Korean dramas and movies and I felt like I wanted to be able to watch them without having to depend on subtitles. I also think that my love for K-Pop and Korean food played a big part in finally deciding to learn another language.
“..my love for K-Pop and Korean food played a big part in finally deciding to learn another language.”
Tell us about your experience taking Korean at Eton Institute.
I first tried to learn Korean by myself and bought several books to try and learn it on my own. But frankly speaking, I never really made the time for it. At that time, one of my friends was learning German at Eton Institute and I was very impressed by his language skills since we managed to have proper conversations in German! So, he recommended I take Korean at Eton Institute. Later, I signed up for the starter class in Ramadan last year and since then, I must say that I have been enjoying this route a lot.
What part of the course did you enjoy the most?
From the learning perspective, I was really surprised and pleased that it literally took one session only to learn to read and write the Korean alphabet. It immediately gave me a sense of accomplishment. From a social perspective, it was really nice to meet people who are interested in the same things that I am.
What did you find challenging and how did you overcome it?
To be honest, the most challenging part for me in learning any new language is to find the time to memorize new vocabulary. I’m still working on overcoming this challenge.
Are there any techniques or tips for learning Korean more quickly?
The best way to learn a new language is to expose yourself to that language as much as you can. Watching Korean TV shows, movies and listening to Korean music definitely helped me get a feeling for how the language sounds, which in turn helped me learn the language quicker. It’s also good to try and interact with native speakers on social media and online in general and put your skills to the test.
“Watching Korean TV shows, movies and listening to Korean music definitely helped me get a feeling for how the language sounds, which in turn helped me learn the language quicker.”
What could be a practical benefit of learning Korean for you?
I’ve realized that learning a new language after being away from school and university for quite some time is really challenging me intellectually, which is a great feeling and a good balance to the day to day work challenges one can face here in the UAE. I am convinced that learning a new language helps you understand a different culture much better. So, I am really looking forward to mastering the Korean language and learning more about the Korean culture.
Where do you think you’ll have the opportunity to use your Korean language skills?
I am planning to travel to South Korea by the end of this year with one of my classmates from a previous Korean class at Eton Institute. This will be the perfect opportunity to test my Korean skills.
Are you planning on learning any other languages?
Once I have completed my Korean language course, I’m considering learning Japanese since I have always been very interested in the Japanese culture. I might also sign up for a TESOL or CELTA program.
“I am really looking forward to mastering the Korean language and learning more about the Korean culture.”
Fantastic! What advice do you have for other language learners?
Don’t give up. It may sometimes get hard to balance your work schedule, personal life and study schedule, but it’s an amazing feeling when you start to see your own progress. It gives you a lot of self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment. 파이팅! (Go!)
Enrich your understanding of the Korean language and culture. Start your language learning journey today.