I Don’t Speak Korean for Business



I have been doing (almost) planned posts for this blog. But, I also miss the days where I share you bits and pieces of my thoughts of my learning process.

Indonesians call it: “curhat (: pouring out/telling someone things that you have been keeping in your heart)”

So yes, I speak beginner-intermediate Korean. No I’m not THAT fluent. Yes, I can converse with my friends. I can read, write, speak, and understand Korean. I know a lot of expressions. I have been learning on my own *autodidact* so I imitate and pick up sentences here and there, but, I am super lacking in the grammar side of the language. That said, no, I can’t use it for business purposes. As you are reading this blog, you might figure that I am still learning.

OK, maybe not to this extent


Here are some background stories of this curhat: The nature of my work requires us (the employees, or at least those in my team) to be bilinguals/polyglots, we support clients from all over the world. However, we only support a number of the official languages.

I met this super kind and nice sunbae (ㅋㅋㅋㅋ 언니 읽고있죠)

Just imagine that my sunbae IS Jun Ji-Hyun ㅎㅎㅎㅎ

and started practicing my Korean with her everyday = people thought I speak fluent Korean. One day I was assigned to a special task to help in Korean *which wasn’t, and still is not, one of the officially supported languages*.  And for some reason, the whole team thought that we do support Korean and that every Korean related works/issues should ALL be directed to me. This has been the source of stress and 부담 at work.


Ummm… na ah. I did not (and have not) signed up for this.


OTL 금지


Here goes the frustration of a non-native Korean  who is expected to understand everything. Whenever my colleagues asked me to help them for Korean clients/related issues. It always feel like I am caught in the middle. They know I can speak Korean. But I also know my capacity/the limit of my ability. Like literally, everything. Imagine that you just know how to swim, and you are able to swim laps. But, people just throw you to join an open water swimming competition.




So I’m faced with two roads:

The road that allows me to feel embarrassed that apparently I am not THAT good vs. The road that will whip my ass off so I could level up.

I think, I decided the second option (but still feeling a bit defeated *my human ego being crushed*).

I came to an understanding that despite of being able to understand some percentage of the language, learning languages – or learning anything really – should all come to this:




Only if you have humility, you will accept the fact that you are not good enough yet. The uncomfortable feeling of discontentment of where you are now (in terms of level/skills/ability) will sip in. And with humility, you’ll find the courage to seek ways to be better.

Accepting that you are not able to place yourself on the higher level than you are right now is also a form of humility. Knowing where you are lacking, to be able to focus on working on it/fixing and adding whatever necessary.

Unless you know yourself – and your capacity, other people will not be able to understand and will only assume that you are THAT good.

dream big


Coming back to my curhat, I know that I’m still not capable to handle Korean language for business. It is way too different, in terms of grammar-terms/vocabs , with the everyday Korean with say my unnies/friends. It honestly hurt my pride a little bit.

I signed up for a Korean class in Langara College Continuing studies. Since it’s a formal class form, all the other classmates have that thing that I’m lacking: 문법/grammar. It honestly hurt my pride a little bit well.


I know I have other qualities that my classmates do not have and by learning together, it will be fine. I will just believe that I have the potential to master this language. Even to the Korean for business/politics/reading news, etc. One day.


If you Korean/Intermediate Korean speaker. Here’s how you could help your friends dying to learn the language *if you care enough to do this, of course*:

Never. Ever. Be silent about the mistakes they make. Let them know which parts/words that need to be fixed and how. Don’t assume that they are good enough. “Oh, you’re good enough for a foreigner” will never help them get anywhere far enough to where they would like to be.



Let’s keep on learning.


Here’s a song for all of you dream-chasers out there:


Until then,





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