Emi.E Tutor Interview
- Q. Hello Emi! First, could you give us a brief self-introduction?
A. Hi! I am Emi. I teach Japanese and Korean in Cafetalk. Although I had some Japanese teaching experience in Korea, teaching Korean to Japanese speakers was something totally new when I signed up Cafetalk to become a tutor. So, I would say that I still have much to learn to grow into a better Korean tutor!
- Q. Could you tell us about your hometowm?
A. I grew up in a “shitamachi” area in Tokyo. There, I would say, are not many things to look at in my hometown. I can see the Sky Tree from the window of my parents’ house. And, that house locates relatively near to the Tokyo Station, and...I do not really miss my hometown, so I do not think of anything else to say about my hometown for now.
- Q. As you currently live in Korea, how is your life there? What is your favorite part of living in Korea?
A. When I first moved here, I did not speak much Korean, so life was a little hard for me. I lived with my husband's parents and did not have any friends. My husband often left for the business trip, which meant his parents and me had to stay alone at home, which made things even harder. Life got better after my husband and I moved into an new place and made some frineds. My favorite part of my life is...I would say, spending time with my own beloved family. Spending time with my son and husband restores my energy!
- Q. How do you spend your time outside of your teaching? What is your hobbies and favorite things to do?
A. I like spending my free time at home. But, I enjoy practicing soccer with my son and my husband. My husband is so into this, and he teaches, or almost trains both our son and me every weekend! My biggest hobby is gardening. Especially the succulent plants are my favorites, and I enjoy going on a shop to buy new plants. Succulent plants are popular in Korea as well as in japan! So, if you are also fond of them, I would be more than happy to talk with you about succulent plants. :)
- Q. When did you started learning Korean? How long did it take you to become fluent?
A. I started studying Korean in 2006. I started to feel like I became fluent about three years ago, around the time when my son started going to his kindergarten. Before then, I tended to stay close with my Japanese friends, but I started to think such of my attitude could affect my son in not a positive way, so I changed my mindset and started to be active in local Korean speaking community. That really improved my Korean.
- Q. What study methods do you often recommend to your students?
A. To my students who are struggling with words and characters, I recommend to write down a phrase, that contains a word which you want to remember, multiple times and say that phrase over and over again. Writing and speaking aloud did work for me. I also recommend to my students to look up names of anything that you see in your surrondings and to write those down in Hangul. For students studying Korean, it is crucial to get used to Hangul. There are many useful smartphone apps and online videos which can help you study Korean, so I think using those is a smart way of learning.
To students who want to improve their conversaton skills.... speak to yourself. For example, you can self-talk what happened today in Korean. You could also intentionally say “well...” and “what was it called...?” in Korean too when you speak to yourself. This practice would help you brain to think in Korean. While doing this practice, you might come up with questions like, “How do you say this in Korean?” Then, feel free to ask me! :)
- Q. For Cafetalk students who are interested in taking your lessons, could you tell us about your teaching style?
A. I offer many lessons, which varies from the one using textbooks, picture descriptions, and to a Q&A session. Each of my student and I decide on which lesson would be the most effective in his/her study in our counceling lesson. In order to keep my teaching enojoyable to my students, I always adds small new things in my teaching materials. Also, I talk with my students about life and sharing some pictures...it is always fun to talk about each other in the lesson! I am happy to ask any questions that my students have.
- Q. Do you teach your Korean lessons only in Korean?
A. Only when my student prefers it, I do so. Oherwise, I use Japanese to help my students understand. However, I try to keep saying phrases and words, which my student and I studied in a lesson, in Korean. I always adjust my lesson content to each student's levels and needs, so do not worry! I am here to help you.
- Q. Before we close this interview, do you have a message to your current and future students?
A. Speaking of my Korean language skill, I do noy recoginze it as a near-native. I am still learning Korean every day through using my newly learned words and phrases. I started studying Korean from zero and reached to the level where even Korean natives sometimes do not notice me being a non-native when they hear me. In my lessons, I hope to teach my students common Korean phrases that would actually work when you communicate with Korean natives. For my prospective students, I would say, I hope to have fun learning Korean with you!
For my current students, I thank all of you every day! I am so grateful to have you in my life, and I always think that every single one of you are the ones who help me to grow. I am looking forward to see what the future has in store for us. :D