Are you looking for a killer Korean language course?
Need help sifting through all the available resources out there, so you know what’s worth your time?
Well, you’ve come to the right place.
You already know that the Korean language is one of the most exciting and fascinating to learn.
You also know that learning Korean can give you an edge in the workplace.
And you can’t wait to reward yourself with a trip to Korea to embrace its unique culture.
These are all terrific goals, but you’re still working on making it happen.
You need a solid course to take you to the next level.
We have assembled a collection of highly effective Korean language courses to help you propel your Korean studies and speak Korean like a native.
The Elements of a Great Korean Language Course
- Teaches all levels of the politeness system: The Korean language is incredibly rich and nuanced. That’s why it’s important that you choose a language course that’ll go beyond 높임말, the most formal, polite level speech there is. Rather, Korean needs to be learned for all situations you’ll encounter in real life. Aim for a solution that’ll showcase language in its diversity, even 반말 (informal speech). Nothing more awkward than using 존댓말 (polite speech) to speak with Korean friends of the same age!
- Targets all four skills: Ideally, your Korean language course helps you improve the multiple facets of the Korean language. However, a program teaching conversational skills, or showing native speakers having conversations, can be good for teaching speaking skills as well. That’s because it familiarizes the ear with the sounds of the Korean language and the non-verbal elements that are specific to the Korean culture, especially with respect to politeness and deference, including half-bows, head bows and facial expressions.
- Personalized: That’s right, the best Korean language course is tailored to your unique preferences, interests and fluency level. The reason to shy away from standardized, impersonal courses is that they fail to captivate your interest and to keep you motivated in the long term.
- Balances grammar and vocabulary studies: Focusing solely on grammar makes it difficult to express your thoughts and makes language stiff; focusing solely on vocabulary may result in difficulty in conveying the nuances of the language and make you make many mistakes. Both are important and should be learned simultaneously: your language course should find that fine line to help you move forward with confidence.
- Results-oriented: It’s not enough to spend the time, you need to make sure that your time is well spent and will generate results. A great Korean language course should incorporate plenty of fun exercises and quizzes based on the topics studied to help you identify improvement areas.
- Develops cultural sensitivity: Learning Korean doesn’t end at the language. What makes Korean so unique is that the Korean social etiquette dictates a lot of the language. Understanding the Korean culture should help you identify where you fit in the hierarchy and formulate your thoughts accordingly. That’s why you want to make sure that your course lets you learn lots of cultural elements along the way.
- Convenient: It’s critical to remove any potential obstacles to your studies from the start. Consistency is key when learning Korean, so if your language course can make it easy on you, it’s a match. Opt for solutions that are available on mobile and desktop and include mini-lessons that can fit into your schedule. Better yet, use a course that’ll save time researching difficult words and expressions: these incremental changes will make a difference in your learning experience!
- Fun and enjoyable: That’s right, your course should make learning Korean exciting! That’s to guarantee that you’ll stay committed to your studies and not give up should you encounter any hurdle. It’s a myth to think that you have to suffer to learn Korean. What matters above all is the results. Studies show the opposite. Learning a foreign language is best achieved through fun activities and games. So, if there’s still an ounce of doubt in your mind, some good news: It’s perfectly okay to have fun!
5 Korean Language Courses You Can Take Anytime, Anywhere
Korean Wiki Project
As you’ve probably guessed from its name, the Korean Wiki project offers Wiki-style Korean lessons. More than 1,800 courses are currently available for free, without registration and are developed by a community of volunteer contributors.
Information is generally presented in a simple way that’s easy to understand. It can be a great solution if you’re struggling with Korean grammar! They’re also well structured, typically using charts and boards to help you retain information easier.
Courses aren’t fixed. Instead, you’re free to navigate the site to pick a topic that piques your interest in the header, including Grammar, Vocabulary, Proverbs or Media. You’ll then be directed to a directory of articles, just like you would in Wikipedia.
If you prefer, you can also head to the Featured Pages section of the homepage to find course suggestions or even type in a keyword in the search bar if you already have a course in mind.
However, courses are based on real-life situations and will be incredibly helpful if you’re already in Korea or are preparing a trip to the Land of the Morning Calm. You’ll particularly enjoy Subway Announcements, which goes over standard broadcasts and advertisements you can hear while taking the Korean subway, or Text Messaging, which covers essential text messaging shortcuts using a Korean phone.
FluentU Korean courses are available as part of a cutting edge language learning program based on giving you full immersion in language and culture—through authentic videos.
Each video features interactive bilingual subtitles so you can truly focus on the language and verify the meaning of difficult words and structures while moving at a productive pace.
The best part about FluentU is the ability to create your own courses. Start by browsing the content library and selecting videos based on personal preferences, such as topics of interest, duration and difficulty level, and save them to your own playlist.
Once you start playing the videos, you’ll use interactive Korean and English subtitles which you can toggle on and off at will. Hover over any word to instantly see a definition on-screen, complete with audio pronunciation, relevant image and in-context usage example. Then click Quiz and watch these videos transform into mini-lessons that cover grammar, vocabulary and verbs, and teach you with dynamic exercises and games.
To get started, simply sign up for a free 15-day account and start enjoying the basic features of FluentU—unlimited watching and listening. If you’re looking for more features, you can always switch to the Plus version and access unlimited courses, flashcards decks, multimedia learning games and more!
Start using FluentU Korean on the website or download the app from the iTunes or Google Play store.
Sogang Korean Program
If you’ve been searching the Web for a comprehensive solution to learn Korean, you’re going to love this site. Developed by Sogang University, one of Korea’s most renowned universities for foreigners looking to learn the Korean language, it gives you access to a variety of high-quality courses for free and without registration.
Courses are organized by fluency levels, from novice to high intermediate. For absolute beginners, the site also includes culture courses and an introduction to the Korean language, including alphabet, basic pronunciation and a general grammar overview.
You’ll appreciate the diversity of formats, including video animations, short audio podcasts, reading extracts and more.
You may find yourself a bit challenged with these courses, so be sure to take plenty of notes and be focused while studying. It’ll pay off!
Your favorite MOOC has partnered with Yonsei University, which has developed another acclaimed Korean language program, to help you acquire the basics of the Korean language. Created by Seung Hae Kang, Associate Professor at Yonsei, the First Step course is a popular, elementary-level Korean language course consisting of 5 lessons with 4 units balancing videos with reading and quizzes.
It covers 4 skills through dialogue, role plays, vocabulary and grammar. It’s a great, formal way to learn Korean expressions used in everyday life, including Greetings, Introducing Yourself, or talking about your Family. Lessons are well explained and fun, making it easy to understand how Korean works and to acquire a solid foundation to move forward.
To get started, sign up for a free account on Coursera and register for the course. You’ll be notified when the course starts and when new lessons are added every week.
This Korean language online course at Berkeley University features 27 lessons that’ll take you through the intermediate level. With a strong focus on the Korean culture and a great mix between grammar and vocabulary, articles and dialogue, it’s a superb resource.
Lessons have a strong written component but reading materials are all supported by audio tools. This is particularly important to practice listening skills and familiarize yourself with the Korean pronunciation. You’ll appreciate the structure within sections and the simple explanations that make it easy to grasp difficult concepts of the Korean grammar.
No registration is needed, but it’s important to respect the order of the lessons. You can easily become lost otherwise. Elements are introduced based on complexity. Lessons are incredibly exciting and bring you closer to Korea, especially 과학 도시 대전 (Daejon, Tech City), where you’ll discover the tech city of Daejon, a city located South of Seoul, or 미국에서 온 소식 (News From America), which discusses the reasons behind American immigration to Mexico.
How terrific are these Korean language courses?
We have no doubt that they’ll help you fast-track your Korean studies and bring you a step closer to the Korean culture.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Korean with real-world videos.