My interviewee is a girl named Aktorgyn Balbekova from Kazakhstan. I met her through language exchange program, meaning we teach each other our mother language. Though she's from a country far away from Korea, she doesn't appear to look much different, She has long, shiny black hair with ruddy complexion. She is quite young, only 19 years old, and looks so with her innocent looking eyes. She came to Korea to study Korean, which is intriguing.
"So, what is it about korea that has got your attention, Aktorgyn ? " I asked.
Her eyes moved upwards, thinking. Then she answered, "Everything. Korean dramas are very popular in Kazakhstan, and I like korean faces and their culture. And the language sounds so sophisticated."
" I'm flattered to hear that. And how's Korean food suiting you?'
" Good, only I am muslim , I can't eat pork so the choice is somewhat limited."
I was a bit surprised, not only because she was the first muslim I ever met, but also because without pork, which is the essential ingredient in Korean food, thing were going to be a bit tricky for her. I moved on to next question.
"Is learning Korean difficult?"
"Yes, but I think I have learned a lot ever since coming here. I think I can handle daily conversation quite easily now. What I really want to learn is to make my speech as smoothly and naturally as possible. I want to learn phrases and vocabularies Koreans actually use like 'Daebak". I guess textbooks wouldn't help much in this, " I laughed a bit at the thought of a foreigner using such expression.
" Yes, I will teach you that kind of expression everytime I can think of it. But I think your korean is very good already. I want to speak russian well just like you do with korean. Any advice? "
" Watch dramas like I did. That is the most easiest and funniest way to learn. Watch "grandma" for instance. It's quite easy to understand and you'll love it"
"Thanks for the perfect advice. I was wondering, Doesn't koreans find your name a bit difficult? I mean, it is quite long actually."
"Yes they do and my korean roommate call me "Ari", which I think it's quite cute. Now that we are on this matter, would you like to have a russian name too?
"Oh yes ,that sounds fun and what would that be?
I thought it was lovely, and a bit reminded me of ballet. I expressed my enthusiasm and than moved on.
"What do you do in your spare time?"
"Other than attending my classes and doing my homework, there is quite a lot of spare time. I don't know what to do with them actually."
"I think it's important to socialize with Koreans as much as you can during your visit. Like you are doing right now."
"Yes I agree..."
we went on talking for sometime, and after having a meal together we parted, promising to meet again. There is still much to know about her, but that was a basic outline of Aktorgyn.
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