In Korea, people have to study English in order to get into university or get a job. No matter what kind of subjects they want to study, schools require students to take an English proficiency examination such as TOEIC or TOEFL. Especially the job market is very compatible, people study English desperately. And I was one of these people.
Study English in Korea
Shortly after graduating from my college, I signed in a very famous English institution to prepare TOEIC examination. There were more than two hundred students in a classroom, and people said that some students came to class three hours earlier to take the front seats.
The teacher taught us about what kinds of questions are usually on the TOEIC exam, and how to guess the answer. He asked us to memorize at least a hundred vocabularies a day. Now I think that is very ridiculous, but it worked. I could get a high TOEIC grade even though I did not even know how to introduce myself in English.
English in USA
Because of the high TOEIC grade I got, I thought my English was very good. I didn’t have any change to meet native English speaker in Korea, and most of my friends’ TOEIC grades were not higher than mine. But I realized that I was totally wrong when I came to U.S first time.
Last March 11, 2011 I went to Ohio in USA to visit my uncle. I was very excited to experience different culture and practice English with native speakers, but I couldn’t understand their speaking. For example, I knew that people say ‘Hi’ and ‘Hello’ when they meet other people but people said ‘How’s it going’ and ‘What’s going on’. I had never learned those sentences when I leaned English and I decided to stay longer in USA and study English for communicative purpose.
Study English in USA
I went to ESL class in Wright State University in Ohio. I studied Basic English grammar, reading, speaking and listening with many classmates from different countries. I was not happy because I wanted practice English with native speakers, but my teacher was only native English speaker.
I was the worst student in my class, but my English proficiency had improved faster than other classmates because I spent most of my time outside to practice English instead of doing homework in the library. I went to fast food restaurants to listen how American order foods and what expressions they used, I asked strangers for directions even though I knew how to get there, and I audited university lectures to listen to the real classroom English. Whenever I went and whomever I met, I always recorded people’s speaking and repeated their expression and pronunciation several times.
I love to learn English for communicative purpose. I love to meet people and listen to them and talk to them. Every day and every moment, I am learning from everything.
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I studied English from middle school to the first year of my college, so I can say that I had studied English more than seven years. But under the pressure of English education in my country, learning English was an unpleasant experience to me. In Korea, people have to study English in order to g