Motivation when learning Korean

You know you want to learn Korean—you’ve gotten all your sources together, you’ve been wanting to learn for a while, but somehow you just can’t make yourself do anything! Where did your motivation go?? What can you do??

Find what makes you tick

Motivation is a very personal thing. You need to find what makes you want to learn Korean, what your own reason is. In my case, I started learning it because I thought the language sounded nice. Okay, that’s great and all, but that doesn’t lead to years of study on its own. My motivation changed a lot, or new reasons to keep on learning added to my list. Things like “I want to keep studying with the friends I’ve made in this class, I want to understand this song without looking up the lyrics online, I want to learn more about Korea, I want to go to Korea and talk to people there.”

Setting goals

Try to set little goals that match your motivation. If you want to be able to understand music without looking up the lyrics, make it a goal to do listening practice X number of times per week, for example. Having goals goes hand in hand with motivation because sometimes, we just don’t feel motivated and we need something to reach for to keep from stagnating.

I have a calendar on my wall where I mark down things like “Study Korean for 30min today,” simple daily goals that I can latch on to on days when I feel less than enthusiastic about studying. Maybe that could help you, too!

I’m not making enough progess!

Feeling like you aren’t as far along as you should be… that’s too real. When I first got to Korea, my speaking was not that great, even though I could understand the large majority of what people were saying to me. “But I studied Korean for three years before I even came here! How am I just this bad??” It was a little brutal, but I took that as a reason to work harder. It’s easy to want to give up, but if you slack off on your studying, then you’ll either regress or just stay on the same plateau forever. Again, set easily attainable goals- nothing too wild that would be hard to accomplish in a short amount of time; the point is to get those little hits of achievement so you stop feeling bad about where you are and can feel good about the progress you are making.

Happy studying~