My Experience in a Korean Language School | Manila, Philippines


I recently concluded my 80-Hour Korean Language Class, and thought that I'd share a bit of my experience being a student again and learning a new and totally different language. 


First of all, I've always wanted to enrol in a Korean language school here in Metro Manila for the loooongest time (I think for 2 years ko na siya plan!), but I always end up traveling on the day of enrolment. I realized that if I really want to go to school, I need to take a break from all my travels and focus / stay put here in Metro Manila--or else I'll just watch my tuition fee fly. 

After my India trip last June, I have no plans of flying out of the country (unless for work) till October when weather is already suitable for traveling again (autumn!). Since I have a lot of free time now to rest and get back on track with my blog, my fitness life, and cleaning up my room, one afternoon I decided to Google "Korean language schools in Metro Manila". Asphodel Korean Language Center came out first on the list.

After reading up good reviews and finding out that their address is fairly commutable, I opened their website and watched this video. The school seemed to be more focused on those who want to find work in Korea. They also seem less intimidating and actually very welcoming! I browsed more of their website till I saw a message box / online application form section and inquired about their rates and schedule. I think it was in a day or two when I received a text message from Asphodel for their last day of promo before their new batch starts!

On the same day that I received the text, I made sure to drop by the language center after lunch so I can enrol for their upcoming batch. The school is walkable from Greenbelt, and easy to navigate via Google Maps (just type in 178 Salcedo Street). 

That night, I received a text message again that school's officially starting early the next day!!! It was a total life changer in my habits coz I always sleep late. But since classes start at 8:30am, and I have to get up at 6, I also tried my best to sleep early even just for the weekends.

Photos of our classroom / language center:


Free water, biscuits, coffee:


I just get lunch in Family Mart during our first days, but became more experimental and tried foods around Salcedo during our 1 hour lunch breaks.

Yuuum! Tried Pastarifico, Mama Lou's, Green Bar, Garuda, and Antipodean Cafe:




FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Name of School: Asphodel Korean Language Center

Address: Unit 71, Legaspi Suites, Salcedo Street, 1229 Makati

Contact Information: Send a message via their website at https://asphodelkoreanlanguage.com, or call (02)659-4416 / (02)517-0980.

How to Enrol? You can message them via their website, call the contact information above, or visit them during office hours to inquire for upcoming classes.

How much is the tuition fee? Php 8,000 for the 80-hour Basic Korean Language Class.

Schedule? This changes depending on the amount of enrolee. Their minimum number of students is at least 5 before they start the class. I think they used to have weekday classes, but now they only have weekends since most of their students have work or school. For my batch, our classes are Saturdays and Sundays, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm for 5 weekends.

Deserted Makati during weekends:

Coffee for early mornings, umbrellas during the habagat season, and studying even when at the bus:


WHAT I LIKE ABOUT ASPHODEL

1) I think the tuition fee is fair and more affordable compared to other Korean language centers.

2) I like that once you are enrolled in their class, you have UNLIMITED FREE SIT-IN PRIVILEGES even when you're done with your 80 hours! I can actually go back for refresher or to fully understand some of the lessons that I find difficult to understand. 

This is to my favor since may isang absent ako during one Saturday na super bagyo, and had 2 half days coz of fan meetings (Dylan Wang and Lee Sung Kyung).

3) They also provide water, instant coffee, and biscuits for our 2 coffee breaks (or recess). It saves me money coz I always drink a lot of water in a day! Hehe! Lakas maka tita!

4) Location is easy for me since Makati siya and ok ang walk nya from my P2P bus stop in Greenbelt. But I have a classmate who comes from Bulacan pa, so may days na hindi na siya nakaka pasok (inabutan pa kami ng bagyo season!).

5) Our teacher is Filipino, which is A+ for me it's easier to ask questions when I don't understand some things. He worked in a blue collar job in Korea for 13 years, so our classes were also filled with his interesting life stories. In a way, I can say that it's more than just a Korean language class but also about Korean lifestyle!

6) Module and review materials are all provided. Again, the school's target is for those who are planning to work in Korea so they also have services for those planning to take TOPIK exam.

7) Since we're only 2-4 in class, sobrang tutok na tutok per student. 

8) Last but not the least, I really like Sir Allan's methodology in teaching. It has been more than 10 years since I graduated college, so medyo marupok na yung utak ko haha when it comes to absorbing new information.

First day palang namin when Sir Allan emphasized that we are not going to memorize inside the classroom. Studying the Korean language is all about FAMILIARIZATION. Aside from teaching us the basic sentence structures thought in Korean language schools, he also gave us tips on practical ways to say things when you're in Korea.  

 I've consumed around 2 thin notebooks for notes and to practice some of our lessons:



QUESTIONS FROM MY IG STORY

Is it easy to learn the Korean language?

Mahirap sya coz it's like going back to nursery-- starting with vowels and consonants again!

But I think it could have been harder to study the Korean language on my own, if I just watched Youtube videos. When I started going to an actual class, akala ko sobrang mahihirapan ako coz I've been out of school for the longest time, but I think it depends on the METHODOLOGY of the teacher. With Sir Allan, I was able to familiarize myself with Korean character, words, and numbers WITHOUT forcing vocabularies in one seating. 

How much?

Php 8000 for 80 hours (8 hours for 10 days), unlimited sit-in even after you're done with your 80 hours.

How is it? Currently learning Japanese coz of work, medyo mahirap. Feeling old na.

I can relate to this! I am the oldest in class at 33 years old, but I was told that there's no age limit in their school. I guess it was harder because of my short attention span, and with lots of things going on in my head nowadays (aside from learning the language, there's work and family life!). But when you dedicate your 8 hours every weekend just to be there in the classroom, marami nadin akong napulot from this short stint. I just need to follow through even though classes have officially ended.

What made you really want to learn hanguko?

I am really into learning new things, and we know that learning does not end after college! Even before my Korean craze, I also went to crafting classes, writing classes, calligraphy classes, you name it!! This time, since I've been going to Korea a lot, and because I am really into Kdrama and Kpop, I can't help but get enticed to learning their language. There really is no deeper reason for doing this other than for added skills and personal enjoyment.

Is it your first time studying the language?

Yes! I came to our first class with ZERO knowledge in Korean language. (Except for Annyeong, Oppa and Unnie, Daebak, and Ottoke, haha)

What's the hardest topic you encountered?

A LOT! Haha! But I guess it's more of the grammar / very tricky sentence construction (since I don't have vocabulary padin), and also linking of final consonant (proper pronunciation). 

Do they teach you how to "sound" like a Korean as in like diction?

YES! When we read children's story books in 3 of our sessions, our teacher will correct some of our mispronunciations.

Are you planning to take the TOPIK one day, if not soon?

Haven't thought of this pa, but I have one classmate who enrolled to take this exam this or next year. Maybe no muna for me, did this for fun lang and for added knowledge.

Are you planning to take follow-up Korea courses, or self study nalang muna for now?

If time will permit, I'd like to join my classmates when they sit-in with the new batch! If not, I hope to stay consistent in learning kahit through Youtube na lang muna. But then, I realized na mas classroom type of learner talaga ako. Pag Youtube, ang dali ko madistract!

How's Kdrama watching / Kpop listening after starting to study Korean?

Super nakakaaliw! When I went to Lee Sung Kyung fan meeting I tried to comprehend her interviews, and nakaka tuwa when I picked up a few basic words that I encountered in class hehehe. Same when I watched BTS Bring The Soul, minamatch ko yung words nila with the subtitle. 

Nakaka aliw din now na I can read ASTRO's song titles, which are mostly in Hangul! I also try to read Hangul tweets and IG captions of Kpop and Kdrama actors that I follow although minsan hindi ko padin maintindihan unless they are KongLish words.

Love the teaching style of our 선생님 (teacher).

 My classmates Jona, Jay, and Nette! 

We also received a certificate during our last day! Huhu! Parang graduation talaga!


MOVING FORWARD

After 80 hours of Korean Language Classes, I will be honest that I still cannot fluently talk or understand Korean. BUT I learned the basics like reading and writing the Korean characters, a few basic words that I can use everyday, and basic sentence formation (that verbs end a sentence, and that the Korean language is all about the "endings").

What to do next? I think I need to start a daily habit of at least dedicating 15-30 minutes of my day to reviewing our past lessons. I can also build my vocabulary by maybe keeping a notebook where I can write Korean words for the day, or even write a simple journal in Hangul! 

I downloaded the DuoLingo app, and although it's a fun language game app, a classmate told me na hindi daw okay yun so I stopped na muna. There are also a multitude of Youtube tutorials that I should watch daily.

My dream is to one day apply my learnings when I travel back to Korea, and engage myself in actual conversations. I hope that I can travel and stay in Seoul for a month or 2. As they say, trial by fire is the ultimate teacher! But if this chapter of my life does not progress, I will still be thankful that I did this and enjoyed myself while in the process. Will I recommend learning the Korean language? Of course! For self development, I will always encourage you to get a little brain massage and to challenge yourself from time to time. :) 

Best of luck, chingu!

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