A high schooler in South Korea has taught himself Korean and has become the first person in the country to learn a new language on his own.
Ken Jeong, a 17-year-old in the western city of Busan, took his first steps into Korean at age five.
“I can’t speak Korean, so I decided to learn English,” he said.
“But I didn’t know how to read, write, or write correctly.
So I did it myself, with no lessons or tutors.”
Ken started studying at a private school in Busan in 2012, and the experience was a bit confusing.
“My teacher, who taught me everything, said that I was the smartest kid on the school.
I didn`t believe her, so the next day I was like, ‘Okay, I`m the smartest, right?'”
He had no idea how to write and could barely write a sentence.
So he started to study Korean on his laptop and found it very easy.
He was able to read and write in English and even learn a little about Korean culture.
“The first few weeks, I was really struggling with language.
I would be in class, and I would not be able to finish my homework,” Ken said.
It was a difficult experience, but the students at his school were really supportive.
“We got a lot of encouragement from them, and they also helped me out by teaching me English,” Ken told NBC News.
“One day I came home and there was a piece of paper in my backpack.
I had no clue what it was, but it was an application for the Korean National Language Program,” Ken recalled.
Ken is now the first student in the nation to learn Korean, and he said the experience has been extremely rewarding.
“It`s been very exciting,” Ken explained.
“When I first started, I didn t know what language I should learn, but now I understand it.”
Ken, who attends Seoul Central High School, hopes to continue to study at the private school and later earn a degree.
“In the future, I want to be a doctor, so hopefully I can do something like that,” he added.