I had a mild argument with my Korean language teacher a couple of weeks ago. She asked for my opinion on something, and I replied with my opinion, which was apparently the wrong answer. My opinion on why I choose not to do certain things differed from hers and that got her really mad.
It all began when one of my classmates said she was going to take the TOPIK Korean language test. My teacher asked if I was going to take the test and I said no. She asked why and I said I have no need for a certification. I might take it in the future when I get much better just to gauge what level I’m at. She went on to ask why I have no interest in getting certified since it would be good when I decide to switch jobs. At the same time, she had thought the JLPT certificate expires and asked if I was going to retake it. I frankly told her, if I can speak the language, I don’t need a certificate to prove it. She got upset at what I said.
She gave up teaching the class altogether and went on a tirade for the next 30 minutes or so on how I am just over-blessed to have no need for interviews since I get a lot of recommendations from people. She knows many of the jobs I had had had been had (←fun with English) through recommendations by people who have worked with me before but I have no idea why she thinks I never had had to have (←fun with English II) interviews.
My reasoning is this: If I can speak Japanese fluently, I will just write it in the resume that I can speak it fluently; there is no need for certification. Besides, I’ve lived in Japan for over 7 years now, that is one very good backing of my language skills. The next step would be to prove myself at the interviews. But she wouldn’t take it. She said things are very different in Korea and Japan in that they wouldn’t give interviews to people without certifications unlike in Singapore (no idea where she got ideas about how things work in Singapore). The other classmates took her side in this argument. They insisted that even if you say you are fluent, some companies require you to show proof in the form of certification.
I didn’t understand how a certification of a written test such as JLPT and TOPIK can prove fluency. It doesn’t mean a person with full marks in JLPT N1 can speak Japanese fluently. Likewise, my client with 400 points in TOEIC can speak better English than his subordinate with over 700 points. To be frank, I think language certificates are for people who can’t speak a language well. It’s an insurance to tell the interviewer, “I can’t speak it well but I can read and write it and this certificate proves it.” That was the reason I took the JLPT when I was still studying the language. I knew I couldn’t speak it well then and I needed the certificate to show that I have a certain level of competency. But all these reasoning doesn’t matter to me because if you have a different opinion, that’s fine with me. We don’t have to share the same opinion in everything. Seeing how her face was exploding with anger, I decided to just listen to her speak. The rest of the lesson went on with her pushing her argument through in complete Japanese, which was simply a waste of time. I didn’t pay for Korean class just so I can listen to her speak Japanese.
But she is really pretty and that gives me reason to continue. Men are stupid.