Sara is my only friend who knows Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean besides her mother tongue Swedish. She must have CC brain (crazy and clever). But by listening to how she became good at languages, I found some tips for everyone. Simply, she played games in Japanese, made friends who also studied the language, and then, she lived in Japan, China and Korea, made a Korean boyfriend, and now works in Korea by using all the languages she has acquired. Learning by doing especially in ways you think fun and not stressful is the key:)
日本語を勉強し始めたのは 15歳のとき。ゲームKingdom Heartsの曲をダウンロードしたら日本語で、そのときはじめて、そのゲームが日本のものだと知った。新しいゲームが出たらすぐに遊びたかったから、日本語を勉強した。ゲームの新作が出た時は輸入して、プレステを改造してもらって、そこまでして、遊んだよ。
I was 15 years old when I started studying Japanese. Why? Because I wanted to play the newest Kingdom Hearts as soon as possible after it’s release. I loved playing that game when I was younger. My first “meeting” with Japanese language was when I downloaded Kingdom Hearts’ song. I loved playing the game then. I imported the newest version from Japan and remodeled my PS. I was such a gamer then, haha!
I began going to language Café* in Gothenburg when I was 22 years old. I met Johan and Nils there, who mastered Japanese quicker than me. I was motivated by them and began studying harder, especially Kanji (Chinese characters). I entered in Gothenburg University’s Japanese course so that I could study in Japan as an exchange student, but I didn’t have much to learn in the course. I already had N1 (**Japanese proficiency test, N1 is the highest level) then. So I began studying Chinese in my free time.
At my second year, I came to Japan, ICU, as an exchange student. I was interested in simultaneous translating and ICU had courses for that. But the lectures were so hard! They were in Japanese, and furthermore, it was difficult to think and speak simultaneously.
Few months after I went back to Sweden from Japan, I went to Shanghi for 5months by the Chinese course’s exchange program. There, I met some Koreans and studied Korean.
Now Ilive in Seoul with my boyfriend and a cat. I teach English and Swedish afterwork and weekends.
Tips for studying new language? Hmm, to find ways which you think fun. It’s hard to force yourself into studying especially when it’s boring.
*At Språkcaféet in Gothenburg, people comes and talk in various languages over a cup of coffee and a piece of cake on Mon-Thu from 17:30-21. There you can learn new language or teach your mother tongue and make some new friends!