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30-Day Challenge

30-Day Challenge: Day #0 – Guidelines and Getting Properly Equipped

Introduction & Overview


Welcome to the Introduction and Overview of the Speaking Korean 30-Day Challenge (한국말 30일도전). In order to start off on the right foot, some guidelines for the Challenge need to be established.

The Rules

  1. There are none.

Guidelines, really…

The purpose of this Challenge is not to erase English from your brain and force you to stumble over clumsy pronunciations of Korean phrases for the next month. Rather,

  • This Challenge is intended to break you out of your comfort zone and get you speaking Korean more often, with more people, and in more situations (especially those in which you normally wouldn’t).
  • The Challenge is also intended to be very personal – based on your current Korean level. So hard-and-fast “rules” will do no good if your personal circumstances prevent you from following one or more.
  • The Challenge is intended to make you mindful of Korean and intentional about using it.
  • The Challenge will include daily “mini” challenges to get you out and using Korean in real-world settings.

That being said, here are some basic guidelines to keep in mind as you go:

  1. Equip yourself properly for this Challenge (see below).
  2. Try to speak and think only in Korean as often as possible.
  3. Don’t do so to the detriment of your job.
  4. Don’t alienate your friends by refusing to speak English with them.
  5. Rather, make some new Korean friends to speak Korean with.
  6. Get out. Don’t leave both feet immersed in the expat English culture.
  7. Do something in Korean every day.
  8. Record your progress and share it!

Doing it together

Over the course of the next month, we want to watch your progress. Therefore, we’ll encourage you to daily document your completion of the daily “mini” challenges (either with photos, videos, a blog post, an audio recording, or anything else).

We’ll provide daily #hashtags with which to share your progress via social networks (Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, etc). That way, when we do a #hashtag search, we’ll be able to see everyone’s progress for that day or challenge. (You’re also free to post links to your challenge videos and blogs in our Comments section below.)

Why do it together?

  1. Motivation
  2. Accountability
  3. A record of your personal progress

The more people you see completing the daily challenges, the more motivated you’ll be to do them too. And at the end of the 30 days, regardless of whether you’ve completed 3 challenges or 30 challenges, you’ll be able to look back and be encouraged by your own progress.

So, let’s get ready!

Prepare Yourself

There are 6 basic things you’ll need for this Challenge (recommended by Maneesh Sethi at Zen Habits):

  1. A basic phrase book
  2. A good grammar book
  3. A good dictionary or translator service (online or smartphone app)
  4. A memorization app
  5. A private tutor
  6. A language exchange partner (or 8)

I also recommend carrying around a notebook or note-taking app with which to record new things you learn along the way (all the best Korean students of English do this to record idioms and new vocab they encounter when speaking with expats).

1. The phrase book

If you don’t currently have access to a good phrase book, here’s a FREE beginner one that’s available as a PDF online. This phrasebook is also freely available in Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, French, and Russian!

Otherwise, the following 3 are also good. I’ll be using #1 and #3 and posting a few daily phrases that I’ll be working on:

1. Berlitz
Lonely Planet
2. Lonely Planet
3. Making Out Series
3. Making Out Series

(Looks like someone has even made the Making Out in Korean book available online.)

2. The grammar book

I just finished working through Korean Grammar in Use: Beginner, so I’ll be using that for my grammar book. I want to review and put to use all the grammar I studied.

Additionally, here are all the class resources we currently have available for that book.

And here’s an amazing Grammar Dictionary that one of my friends just recommended. He says it even includes stuff that Naver doesn’t have.

Korean Grammar in Use: Beginner
Basic grammar

3. The dictionary

I currently use the 6,000 Korean Essential Vocabulary dictionary and Google Translate (online and as an app).

Also, be sure to check out our list of free Internet browser plugins with instant mouse-over translation.

6,000 essential words
6,000 essential words

4. The memorization app

I don’t currently have one that I use but I’ve heard good things about Genius (Mac), Genius+ (smartphone beta), Anki (all platforms), and Memrise (online & smartphones).

Looks to me like Memrise is going to be the first one I try out. 

TOPIK vocab list
TOPIK vocab list (& others)

5. The tutor

Get a good tutor
Get a good tutor

While my wife is a tutor (and you’re free to contact her about classes), the purpose of this post isn’t to gain more students for her. Rather, it’s to show the value of a paid tutor as opposed to a free language exchange partner (step 6). Here’s what one of her current students said about the value of a tutor:

Her answers are awesome and much better than my co-teachers or a language exchange partner who often don’t know the answers or why things are the way they are. (Peter)

The most important thing to look for in a tutor is teaching experience. That’s the real reason language exchange partners fall short. They just don’t know why some grammar points are the way they are.

6. The language exchange partner(s)

Winning Story Interior
Winning Story Cafe

We are hoping to begin a weekly Korean Kafe free speaking club at Winning Story cafe near Chonbuk University that would be a place to meet Koreans and other expats for language practice and exchange.

Keep your eye on this page for more details.

Otherwise, you can always check one of the many local Facebook groups online or check out The Mixxer which offers FREE language exchange via Skype.

The Challenge

Your first Challenge is simply to get prepared. Why don’t you gather all your resources together and snap a picture of them? Then share the photo on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr.
Today’s hashtags are:

#k2korean #k2k30

Do you have any other resources you’d like to share? Also fee free to share your photos and Daily Challenge links in the Comments below!

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