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  • Hello, everyone. Welcome to the English Talk Podcast.

  • I'm your host, Robin Shaw.

  • In my podcasts I like to give good information about learning English.

  • And I hope my guest today helps you to know more about studying English.

  • And my guest today is a student of mine.

  • and I've known him and I've been teaching him for a few years

  • and he is Hyungwoo Jo and Hyungwoo Jo welcome.

  • Thank you.. nice to meet... nice to have a good opportunity here.

  • Okay and we're gonna... with Hyungwoo I'm gonna talk about

  • how he studied English because he

  • improved his English in a very fast time

  • In just a couple of years, he went from alow level to quite advanced level.

  • So we're gonna find out from him how he did that.

  • So we first met a few years ago.

  • and your level was not so good.

  • I... if I remember. You speak better now and they will hear you soon,

  • but what I want you to do is tell us your story.

  • so how did you learn English?

  • Go back to when you first started studying English until now.

  • and tell us the story.

  • Okay. Until high school I was not interested in learning English at all.

  • I went to college and there was a professor who was from Australia

  • and I first got to know her...

  • Her?!

  • Her. She was...

  • Okay.

  • Yep just an as an FA... FYI

  • She was beautiful and she was really authentic.

  • She was like an angel at the time.

  • Okay it's good motivation to study English.

  • As a guy student and...

  • One day I wanted to talk to her but I couldn't

  • because she was a English speaker

  • and I was not able to speak English at the time.

  • And one day, I was always staring at her -

  • far away from her.

  • And one day she approached me - asked me

  • "Hello, Hyungwoo, How are you?"

  • And I said, "I am fine... I'm fine."

  • with the strong Korean accent and

  • I wanted to get to know her more

  • but I couldn't because of my English ability.

  • and then I... there was a great motivation that I

  • oh I have to study English harder

  • harder to get know her.

  • I want to get close to her - not just as a female,

  • someone who attract me, and just because someone that I want to get to know her.

  • So there was the motivation that I

  • determined that I had to study much harder

  • to talk to the beautiful female teacher. yeah.

  • And then after... so did she help you with English or...

  • yes and I asked her

  • that I want to talk to her after the class and we had some small talk

  • and by listening to her, and by asking her some questions to solve my curiosities,

  • I prepared some questions that I want to ask her

  • and because I don't want to be looked like a fool student,

  • I prepared looking at some dictionary

  • and with grammar

  • and looked at some sentence

  • and I just copied them

  • utilized that sentence as my question to ask her so ...

  • In other words I just prepared a question what to ask in advance.

  • Okay.

  • Yep and then I asked her. She answered me back.

  • and I tried to focus...

  • Well he's speaking very fast now.

  • Okay. Umm...

  • I don't think you spoke that fast when I first met you.

  • Certainly you didn't speak that fast.

  • I take that as a compliment. Thank you.

  • That was motivation and...

  • and so once I see myself's improvement in English ability,

  • I started searching out something that I can further improve my English.

  • And I found out an app called Meetup

  • and I found out something that I can practice or improve my English

  • All right. The Meetup app yeah.. did you... I know that app.

  • and maybe some of my audience doesn't know that app, so what is the Meetup app exactly?

  • That's a... that is an app that we can find out someone who is interested in

  • a same area that I want to join.

  • Join.. interested in what? What kinda areas?

  • For example any hobbies.

  • Okay.

  • well my interest... interested.. my interest

  • was about English so I checked an English section

  • and I found a club - which is speech club that I can practice my English

  • which is called Toastmasters.

  • Toastmasters.

  • Yep, have you heard about it?

  • Yes.

  • It's International app, so I'm pretty sure...

  • What is the Toastmasters?

  • It's a speech club that we can practice. We can

  • give our speech and we can listen to other the speakers speech

  • and that process is really crucial.

  • How long were you in Toastmasters?

  • Approximately six months.

  • Six months. And how did Toastmasters help you to improve?

  • As I just said, it's a speech club so

  • basically in order to prepare for my speech, I need to write down my script

  • which is improving my writing ability

  • and I need to speak.. therefore I need to practice by myself.

  • which is improving my speaking ability

  • and by listening to others speech, I'm naturally improving my listening ability.

  • Listening to vocabularies that I haven't heard before.

  • So those three core things: writing, speaking, and listening

  • were significant in improving my English.

  • Through the Toastmasters?

  • Through the Toastmasters.

  • Okay, that's great to hear.

  • Yeah I know.. I recommend them to you, too.

  • They're very helpful.

  • If there's... there's Toastmasters every city in the world almost.

  • and seek... seek them out.

  • It's not an English class - as you said. It's a speech class.

  • Join them. This this will certainly help.

  • This group will certainly help you improve your English speaking.

  • and as he said, listening ability.

  • Alright, so...

  • After that, you're planning to go to America to study.

  • So how did you prepare to go to America?

  • Oh there is a certain test that is required as a criteria

  • criterion to gain - obtain that admission from that university which is called

  • TOEFL.

  • Yep, TOEFL test.

  • and I had to prepare for that TOEFL test in order to submit my application.

  • Yeah that was a requirement yep.

  • How did you prepare for the TOEFL test?

  • I actually did not prepare for that TOEFL test.

  • But I prepared... prepared for general English.

  • I write is something in general not preparing for just for the TOEFL test.

  • For example,

  • I used to work for a professor and as an assistant and I

  • asked him that I want to just talk for a minute about one topic.

  • ...for a second... just to prepare for the TOEFL test.

  • I haven't got any ...separate school that's preparing - training students to prepare for the TOEFL test

  • I just asked my professor that I want to practice for one minute because that's part of the

  • task that's required to TOEFL.

  • So you didn't directly study questions or...

  • No. No.

  • You just studied general English?

  • Yes. Correct.

  • Okay and obviously you were successful with the TOEFL test because you're studying in America now.

  • Yes.

  • How long have you been studying in America?

  • It's been 11 months.

  • 11 months and again what are you studying in America?

  • I'm studying... I'm majoring in commercial aviation which is to become a pilot.

  • Okay. So, I remember you before you went to America

  • and I am talking to you now and there is a really big difference in your English ability... so...

  • 11 months in America has been amazing to help you improve your English, so

  • What happened in America? How did you improve so fast?

  • uh... first of all my exposure to English.

  • Including people, culture, food, everything.

  • But... you know I have a lot of other students that go to Canada or America for one year...

  • sometimes two years and their English doesn't improve so much so...

  • What makes you different than them?

  • Umm...

  • I actually don't know any of international students in America.

  • What does that mean?

  • Because some international students go to study abroad in order to study English,

  • but I... because I prepared for that admission of the university

  • to enter as a regular undergraduate student,

  • I jump-started in a regular class with other native English speakers.

  • Okay.

  • So you don't talk to many international students?

  • I do not know any other international issues.

  • You just try to focus or talk to or befriend native speakers?

  • Correct. Not intentionally, but naturally.

  • What about other Korean students? Come on...

  • I saw some, but I didn't get to have any opportunity to talk to them. I couldn't...

  • I know Koreans like to stick together abroad.

  • They... you didn't... you didn't hang out with Koreans?

  • Because there was... there was not necessary.

  • Because I was busy enough to focus on my stuff.

  • Okay. Okay.

  • The time didn't permit to get to know more people.

  • All right, so, yeah

  • America was amazing to help you so much.

  • That experience there has improved your English a lot.

  • Do you have any advice to other people who are struggling to improve their English?

  • What would you tell them?

  • My biggest advice if I can offer...

  • so I believe that first, motivation is the most critical in starting and improving my English ability.

  • Well your motivation was a pretty professor.

  • What my point is...

  • I didn't start studying English in order to prepare for a test.

  • Okay.

  • But so many friends around me are just studying English to pass a test or to gain a high score.

  • Okay so ...

  • To get a job, to transfer university, or you get an admission.

  • That's a good point .

  • Your motivation was not just a test but it was to actually communicate.

  • Correct. With someone that I'm interested in.

  • so not just because someone that I'm interested in,

  • But I have a lot of students around the world and some of them, you know, never met a native speaker.

  • They.. there's no native speakers around them in their... in their town or village.

  • So how can they get motivated?

  • Oh something else that I also tried was using an internet or a phone app.

  • so I can approach and I can get to have a chance to talk to native English speakers...

  • through the app or the pen pal website that I can use.

  • Okay. I guess the last question here is

  • do you... do you look at any English grammar books or do you study English now?

  • No I do not study or I do not... I have never opened any English grammar books at all.

  • Okay so everything you've done is acquiring English?

  • Correct. I just read something - I naturally copy that structure and

  • I naturally acquire. "oh that is the thing do."

  • Do you think everyone can do it like you?

  • Yes I believe so.

  • Okay I believe so, too. Okay.

  • Alright, thank you man. Your English is amazing.

  • I'm very surprised to listen to you today.

  • Thank you.

  • You've done a really good job and I'm very proud of you

  • as... as your teacher.

  • And I hope you continue to improve your English.

  • It's not perfect yet. But I'm not perfect yet, either.

  • But it's a lifetime process so keep going man.

  • Thank you very much and thanks for the opportunity to share my story.

  • Okay thank you.

  • Alight thank you for watching us and listening.

  • I hope you guys learned something today and I'll see you in the next podcast.

Hello, everyone. Welcome to the English Talk Podcast.

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