EDIT: Please mind that this post dates back to November 2012. The school has changed in a good way. They still have a few points to work on, but nobody’s perfect. They invited me in order to change this post, so I went to this school once more in January 2014. Please read on to see the changes. Thank you.
Hmm I’m sorry for not posting the previous posts in English, I hope some translating tool can help to read them! It’s a bit too much text to translate so I’m kinda lazy to do so…
But now I wanted to write a bit in English. First I must say that for most of the time I’m having a good time in Korea and in 6 days I will move from Anyang to Seoul (somewhere in the Sinchon area I guess). But I’m having many problems with the school and I’m changing the plans once again! I won’t tell you everything yet, because I’ll first tell my family about the plans.
But there are a few things I can say. All problems are caused by my school, called BestFriend Korean Language and Culture Center. I want to mention the name of the school because there isn’t much information to be found about the school except for their website (which is of course written to be very appealing and it will obviously not mention any problems or negative things about the school). I’m writing this to warn people who will go or are thinking of going to this school.
1. The contact person changed without any notice
This change of contact might sound not so terrible, but in fact it is. The two people (so the previous and the present English coordinator) don’t seem to have notify or inform each other about the ongoing processes of entering students. This caused the new coordinator to not notify the wrong bookings on my account. Which caused me to be in the wrong homestay, to not have a cellphone here (not that I really miss this but still). So in short to me this has been a problem, but for others now entering this will not be a problem anymore. I must also say that this person’s English abilities aren’t what you would expect from someone who is responsible for all English communication done in this school. He studied in the USA for 6 years and his English really isn’t that good. This has cause some miscommunications too.
EDIT: The person in charge at the time I went last time was very kind and his English was a lot better. There weren’t really any miscommunications except for the fact that they started arranging my Japanese classes quite late. I was offered a certain hours of Japanese class, but by the time they were arranged, we kind of had to put as many hours as possible in one day.
2. The terrible homestay
So I booked a ‘special homestay’ which would immerse me in the Korean culture, which would give me many chances to use the language, which would teach me Korean manners and culture, which would give me a cultural excursion once a week, … with a Korean family with children but instead I ended up with a ‘general homestay’ -this due to the things I mentioned in point 1- which means nothing more than staying with a Korean person (she’s alone and her son comes home once in 14 days for less than 12 hours) that doens’t speak English (which definitely causes communication problems) and that you don’t have to make your own food. I don’t know about other homestays but this is one of the worst things I’ve ever experienced. I sleep and eat here -I even have to eat alone…- and I feel terribly lonely. Who likes to eat alone? Who likes to not speak to anyone for days sometimes? I know, once you go to school you’ll have friends to meet with but if you’re more than an hour away from where your friends live, I don’t think many people would like to go that distance every day to meet up with their friends… It is a rather big distance and, although I like travelling and public transport, it is tiring and sometimes stressing too. I try to be absent at the homestay as much as possible because I really don’t like it. A week after I arrived at the homestay I asked the school if I could possible leave here and move to my studio apartment (which I booked for November and December) earlier than planned, but he replied beside the point. Talking about culture shock and being homesick, which is absolutely not the case, and that the apartment was occupied by other students. Which turns out to be not true!
I can’t say much about homestays, but in the future I might post other people’s experiences on my blog.
3. Cancelling issue
After 3 weeks of classes I decided not to continue my studies at the institute and cancel part of my accommodation. I thought about this for a week, so make sure I wouldn’t regret this decision and I talked about it with my parents to make sure they agreed with my decision. They agreed and so I made the final decision of cancelling and sent an email to the school. I will first try to explain in short why I want to cancel and then I will show you the exact communication between myself and the school. So, you might have read on this blog that I first planned to go to Japan and that I was really excited about going. But then I started thinking about going to Korea, most of all because it’s cheaper. And so I went on with this and here I am… still thinking about Japan every day. Still watching Japanese drama and anime. Still listening to Japanese music. Still trying to learn kanji. Still exercising my kana writing. Still looking up words that I want to know when watching anime/drama. It’s clear that I love Japan more than anything (and I clearly said ‘thing’, so I’m not talking about people ;)). So after realizing this, it was clear that I better quit here and save my money for going to Japan. Also, I wanted to learn a new language out of my own interest and since it turns out I’m not that eager to learn Korean, it is better to quit. So, this is my reasoning in short.
EDIT: The whole email communication between the English coordinator and myself used to be in this space, but I think it’s useless now. That person was fired and the person in charge now didn’t cause any problems.
But I have to say: the lessons are great. I don’t have any problems with the lessons. Maybe we’re not learning what we really want to learn, but you don’t learn the cool things when you’re learning basics, right? So if you only go to the school for classes and arrange all other things yourself, I bet you’ll be fine! I haven’t heard of any problems from other people, so maybe I have really tough luck here…