▲This is a picture of me attending a graduation ceremony at Shanghai University of Foreign Studies.
(* This interview was conducted in Chinese, and I translated Chinese to English.)
1. Please introduce yourself briefly. Why did you decide to teach Chinese in Korea?
Hello, my name is Li Yuan-Huan, a Chinese teacher, and I am currently teaching at the Confucius Institute of Keimyung University. I am glad to have this interview. First, why did I decide to teach Chinese in Korea? The reasons are manifold. First, Korea is close to China and has close economic, cultural and educational exchanges. Secondly, Korea has a good environment for teaching Chinese. Students respect their teachers and learn with their full passion. As a Chinese teacher, I have always felt happy for them. Thirdly, I speak Korean. I believe I can use this advantage to teach Chinese well.
2. What has made you happy while living in Korea or teaching Chinese in Korea?
I am now teaching Chinese at C-CLIK HOUSE as well as Confucius Institute. Seeing students studying Chinese hard is the most enjoyable thing to do as a Chinese teacher. They are beautiful and cute, kind and hard-working, and the attitude of studying hard always makes me feel very moved. In addition, I often meet some of Koreans in my daily life, and after knowing that I am Chinese, they try to communicate with me in some simple Chinese and help me solve some small difficulties! They make my life very pleasant.
3. Have you ever had a hard time living in Korea or teaching Chinese in Korea?
Overall, I have a comfortable life in Korea because I have many Korean teachers, students, and other Koreans who meet me in my life.
4. Since Korean is difficult to learn, there are many foreigners who live in Korea but cannot speak Korean well. How did you become good at Korean? What are the advantages of foreigners who speak Korean well in Korea? Are there any tips to being good at Korean?
Korean is really hard to learn, and my Korean really improved in 2016. It was my first time in Korea to teach Chinese at two high schools. Although no one could really speak Chinese except for two partner teachers, many teachers and students were curious about China, which encouraged me to study Korean hard. Therefore, I could communicate with them directly and answer their questions without any translations. Through this process, my Korean became better and better. The improvement in Korean has made it easier to teach and communicate with Koreans. In addition, the difficulties I experienced in learning Korean make me sympathetic to the difficulties that students face when learning Chinese, which makes me understand students better. Besides, I think the most important thing to learn Korean is that you should have a heart that wants to learn Korean and communicate fluently with Koreans.
5. Are there any tips for foreigners living in Korea or teaching Chinese in Korea?
First, study Korean as much as you can. Language is not only an instrument of communication, but also an important factor that shows the country’s history and culture. In my opinion, the purpose of learning Korean is not only to facilitate communication, but also to better understand the philosophy and behavior of Koreans. Second, there are many practical apps in Korea that make life easier in Korea, such as Coupang, Kakao T, SSG, and Naver Map, so many times you can utilize those to solve many problems of clothing, food, and transportation by moving your fingers.