After having spent a little over a year in South Korea I have felt like I can understand more than I thought was possible in just a years time. However, I can attest how hard it is to study a language alone and how impressed I am with those who learn on their own with seeming ease.
Part of my problems come from being an English speaker (my personal opinion) and how English has a very different sentence structure from Korean as well as not having a “formal” language. I often make the mistake of speaking informally to those older than me or mixing my formal and informal tenses in a conversation. While most Koreans that I meet are nice enough to let it slide, I know that I am coming off as rude and it nags at me. I would say that 80% of what I know comes from conversation with peers my own age who use slang or those older than me who can speak informally to me. Thus I tend to get very confused at times when I try to have a conversation (specifically one that requires formal language).
Picture all your thoughts going through the tumble dry cycle during the laundry and that is my brain on a daily basis. Thankfully, I have made many friends here who are kind enough to answer my questions when I’m curious about grammar points or certain pronunciations.
Hopefully when the next year comes I will be able to detail more about how I study and the types of books that have been helpful to me! If you are learning Korean either here in Korea or abroad… Happy learning! You go this!