My story is kinda odd. I wound up learning Korean due to my own laziness.
(Sorry if this is too long)
I spent several years in college studying Japanese and dreamed of going to Japan for a few years and becoming fluent and then perhaps moving back to the US. I took several classes on Japanese history and culture and read a lot of books about Japan. In my last semester of college I took a class about Korea basically because it fit one of my country study requirements and was at the right time of day. The teacher was a really old Korean man but he was really entertaining and became one of my most memorable proffesors. It was funny because he would always tell the class, "Now, when you go to Korea..blah blah balh etc." I would sit there thinking, "I'm never going to Korea. Why does he keep saying that?" However...I was really lazy and didn't get my JET application in on time. So after college I was sitting around for a few months with a serious travel itch. So eventually I decided to look for jobs in China and Korea and just wait it out there for a year until the next JET hiring season.
When I applied to a public school job in Korea, I got an immediate response saying they would hire me and that I would need to leave in 10 days. So I was pretty excited and spent the next few days running around getting documents faxed and other things like that. Threw some clothes in a bag, got rid of all my possesions and said see yah later ma and pa. I bought a Berlitz dictionary which would later turn out to be worthless because it was completely romanized, and a short book about learning Korean.
Needless to say, I was both excited and extremely nervous. I had little idea about what was on the other side of my plane ride. Just grabbing your bag and hopping a plane is quite a rush. Oddly, in Narita Airport I met a girl who had been teaching in Korea for 6 months and was coming back from vacation. Coincidentally we were both bumped up to 1st class! Never in my life had that happened, so I was under the odd assumption that we were bumped up because we were teaching in Korea.
But with good reason because there were so many empty first class seats. Anyway, we talked for the whole plane ride and alleviated a lot of my anxieties.
So I came to Korea September 1, 2006. I decided that I rather liked living here and immediately decided that I would stay atleast 2 years. My plan was that I would live abroad for 10 years and divide that time between Korean, Japan, China, and maybe Vietnam. But Then I decided that I'd live in Korea for 3 years, and then 4 and I started realizing that I'd have to be living abroad for 20 years. Nowadays I'm thinking that maybe I won't leave at all. Instead after saving more money while working in the public schools for 5 years, I'll become fluent in Korean and get my MA TESL or Linguistics and then become a self-employed private teacher and just travel around Asia whenever I feel like it while living in Korea.
My learning has been almost completely self-study. When I first got here I started looking at the language and saw the striking resemblence to Japanese, which has made learning and using it much less difficult. I never really had to think about the word order because it was already imbedded in my head. Learning Hangul was not intimidating because I had already learned 3 scripts with Japanese.
For the first few weeks I would say things like "나를 가정 에 가다," when I was leaving work. I always spoke with the infinitive form for whatever reason.
I use just about every learning method you can think of in combination.
The funny thing is, I'm not a Koreaphile at all. My opinion of the country is very mixed. The language and culture do not suit my personality at all because I'm so laid back and really hate formality and obligation. It's for this reason that I really like the gyeongsando dialect lessons. The style suites me. I'll probably move there eventually.
I have no idea what my level is. I have friends who don't speak english whom I can converse with all day while understanding most everything, yet sometimes I will go back and learn some small thing that would be considered elementary, and I'll wonder why I didn't learn it before. My vocabulary is quite large and includes words like; conspiracy, nuclear weapon, omnipotent, official document, but there are still a lot of easy words that I won't know, such as, basket. I don't know why. So i'm all over the place in terms of level.
But yeah, Koreanclass101 has become my number 1 resource as of late. It's really great. Sorry for making this so long.