You may be unable to take a trip to Seoul, Busan or Gyeongju yet, but don’t despair!
Modern technology obliging, it’s incredibly easy to learn Korean online today.
Reading Korean blogs on a regular basis can help you stay on track with support from a community of students who share and understand your struggles learning Korean.
Watching Korean movies is a fantastic strategy to immerse yourself in the Korean language and culture while having fun.
Likewise, listening to podcasts frequently can make a world of a difference if you’ve decided to teach yourself Korean.
How so, you may ask?
Podcasts do a great job keeping you stimulated with native content that Koreans actually listen to while also exposing you to Korean society.
Not to mention, you get to learn on the go, which is incredibly convenient for commuters, gym-goers and generally busy and active folks of all kinds.
Here are some of the most effective and enchanting Korean podcasts to help you achieve fluency in no time.
How to Best Use Korean Podcasts
- Find Korean podcasts that work for you. Pick podcasts that discuss topics that interest you most and that make you feel both engaged and stimulated. If you feel like listening to podcasts doesn’t support your studies, the specific podcast you’ve chosen to may be too easy or too complex for your fluency level. Likewise, it’s important to enjoy yourself when you listen to podcasts. If you really just can’t connect with the topic being discussed, it will be more difficult for you to consistently tune in to Korean podcasts for the long term.
- Complement Korean podcasts with a good Korean learning book. Listening to podcasts is a great first step, but, especially in the beginning, it’s important to complement them with content that promotes the assimilation of the foundations (read: books that help you learn Korean grammar and vocabulary in a more organized, formal way).
- Also follow up podcast listening with video learning on FluentU. Again, podcasts are great (as are books), but until you get in some testing and practice with the language, you won’t know how well you’re really absorbing all that knowledge. FluentU is a perfect resource to follow more straightforward learning.
- Do the work! Be sure to take notes of difficult structures and all new words used in the podcast of the day, to research them in the dictionary and to review your notes on a regular basis. Play that same podcast at a later time in the week when you feel confident that you’ve assimilated all content from the podcast. You’ll activate and reinforce your knowledge by listening to the podcast again. If you’re able to understand it with greater ease, you’ve done a great job!
- Listen to them frequently. As with everything you study, the key is to be regular! Play your favorite podcast whenever you have free time, such as when you’re riding the subway or grocery shopping. Aside from turning your leftover slivers of time into productive sessions, they do a great job keeping you entertained and, yes, studious, when you’re most receptive to it!
The 9 Most Riveting Korean Podcast Resources for Language Learners
This series of podcasts, available to download for free, will help you master the basics of the Korean language in record time.
Perfect for absolute beginners or if you’re preparing a trip to Korea and want to review the basics, each lesson goes over essential Korean sentences with ample repetitions in 5-minute segments, just enough to learn a new topic or two every day.
We particularly love the host’s illuminating and bubbly personality and her insightful explanations of the Korean expressions she details in each podcast. Take it a step further and download their accompanying PDFs by signing up for a free account on the SurvivalPhrases website. Transcripts make lessons easy to follow and help you identify difficult words and functions more quickly.
The KoreanClass101 website features an extensive selection of free audio and video podcasts to learn Korean while having fun.
The podcast announcers are fun, energetic and passionate about Korean, and they’ll discuss everything from must-know social media phrases to pronunciation faux pas, foolproof methods to keep you motivated to learn Korean and grammar learning tools.
If you’re looking to build confidence and familiarity with the Korean language but aren’t quite ready for the full jump into native-level materials yet, this is perfect for you. This bilingual series gradually eases you into the Korean language and offers podcasts for learners across multiple levels of fluency.
Sign up for a free account on the KoreanClass101 site to engage with their community of students, browse the podcast library and even download detailed PDF transcripts of each podcast so you can review them in your spare time.
Korean Listening Practice
If you’re interested in improving your command of the Korean language while also consolidating the foundations, don’t think twice before downloading these podcasts! This well-structured collection of podcasts brings you hours of Korean listening practice from genuine Korean native speakers.
Organized into over 50 lessons for beginner to advanced Korean speakers, Korean Listening Practice is a fantastic resource to gain quick exposure to the Korean language. With a focus on listening comprehension and correct pronunciation, these podcasts will help you learn useful Korean vocabulary and know exactly when and how to use each word.
Lessons are never dull and are packed with information, covering a wide range of Korean words, phrases, grammar and pronunciation in a realistic context. While there aren’t any transcripts available for download, the host does a great job detailing the nuances of the language and breaking down new sentences. Check it out!
This is yet another fantastic resource from the folks at TalkToMeInKorean. This large database of free video and audio podcasts will prove incredibly helpful keeping you motivated and engaged whether you’re a beginner or an advanced student.
Updated regularly, you’ll find some interesting content that will help you better understand the Korean language and culture, such as sessions focusing on Korea’s top sights and tourist attractions, discussions of popular Korean dishes and even tips to describe your allergies in Korean (if you happen to have any).
Bilingual and easy to follow, each podcast includes lots of annotations as well if you’re watching the video version. Podcasts are available on TTMIK’s SoundCloud channel and on YouTube.
Looking for fun Korean podcasts that will help you improve your conversational skills? Then tune in for the Korean Champ podcasts ASAP!
Entirely free to download, these podcasts will help you speak like a real Korean native and communicate in Korean with confidence. While other podcasts focus on teaching you the proper and formal way of speaking Korean, Korean Champ teaches you how natives really speak, including 반말 (informal talk), 속어 (slang) and even some quirky anecdotes about the Korean language.
Lessons are long enough to provide a wealth of content but short enough that they’re easy to tune in to. Head for the Korean Champ site to download all accompanying written materials and transcripts to help you follow the lessons more easily. The best part? No registration is necessary!
Let’s Learn Korean
What better way to learn Korean than by listening to authentic content?
Designed by Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) World, a South Korean TV Channel aimed towards a global audience, this vast selection of Korean audio podcasts will get you on track with your Korean studies with structured, well-designed courses.
Lessons are progressive and exactly what you’d expect from an old-fashioned Korean audio guide: each lesson includes an overview of essential sentences and vocabulary with accompanying transcripts and a dialogue to help you learn the words in context and identify them more easily.
If English isn’t your native language (or if you want to use these podcasts to practice another language you’re already learning), you’ll be in heaven. These podcasts are available in 10 different languages, including French, Indonesian, Russian and German.
After practicing with their podcasts, you can always hop over to the main KBS World site to listen to authentic radio programs in Korean.
Korean Famous Podcast
Who said you’d have to spend time researching what podcasts were most worth your time?
This podcast app does a great job curating popular Korean podcasts from Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), KBS and Korean podcast broadcasters. The app’s intuitive interface lists and details each podcast in Korean so you can conveniently see its content and editorial style before committing to anything. Korean Famous Podcast then lets you download and listen to any podcast of your choice without leaving the platform. How convenient!
In addition, the app lets you choose from a variety of topics, lengths and formats to keep it interesting and ensure that you’ll find what you want, perfect if you’re looking for fresh suggestions and authentic Korean content that suits your style!
We particularly enjoy “손에 잡히는 경제 이진우입니다” (Lee Jin-woo’s Economics at Your Fingertips), a Munwha Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) podcast that discusses topical macro and micro economy trends and provides interesting business cases based on essential economics concepts. The show is divided into three segments: today’s news, friendly/easy economy and an interview, perfect if you love economics and are looking to have a deeper understanding of the South Korean market.
If you’re looking for something more entertaining, “나는 꼽사리다” (I’m the third wheel / I’m not involved [in someone’s business] but I always voice my opinions) is guaranteed to get a good laugh. Each podcast is about two hours long, but the host panel’s enthusiastic conversations, punctuated with casual banter, jokes and audio effects, do a great job keeping you hooked for the entire duration of the show.
Podcasts are updated weekly and discuss everything from relationships and social issues to more serious issues like climate change, the labor market or Korean chaebols.
For self-proclaimed politics buffs and if you somehow always feel the urge to keep up with current events, the KBS News app will make your day.
Used by Korean natives and featuring content that Koreans actually listen to, this app features a vast selection of informative, fresh podcasts discussing Korean politics, diplomacy, world news, sports and art.
This is the way to go to fully immerse yourself in a world of Korean and world news when you’re on the go, 24/7. Tune in for their live shows or access podcast archives from the app, including audio and videos clips of fresh daily news as they appear.
Podcasts aren’t accompanied by transcripts, but may occasionally be supported by articles or brief descriptions. All in all, it’s a great way to stay on top of Korean events without an expensive trip to South Korea!
팟빵 – 모두의 팟캐스트, 라디오 다시듣기 (Podcast room – Listen again to every podcast and radio show)
If you’re ready for native Korean content and are interested in too many things to list, the 팟빵 (Podcast Room) app will do the trick. Download this authentic Korean app to access and find the latest podcasts that are all the rage in Korea today.
The app features a vast library of popular Korean podcasts, available for free and in one place. There are lots of topics to choose from, including art, culture, politics, sports and also K-pop, Korean movies and health topics. Beyond the quality content, you’ll love the diversity of formats, from news shows to talk radio shows, guest podcasts and more.
The app lets you browse by category, save and comment on the podcasts you like. More than podcasts, this is an experience and a fun opportunity to interact with Korean natives by discussing topics you’re passionate about! There aren’t that many 외국인 (foreigners, i.e. non-Korean natives) involved in the Korean community discussions, but don’t be bashful to jump in. Koreans are very helpful and supportive of those interested in learning their language, so you’ll get lots of support!
With so many fantastic podcasts to choose from, you’ll never be bored with your Korean studies.
And One More Thing...
If you enjoyed this post, you're already halfway to having the time of your life learning Korean with FluentU!
FluentU makes it possible to learn with K-pop videos, funny commercials, entertaining web series and more. Just a quick look will give you an idea of the variety of FluentU videos on offer:
FluentU really takes the grunt work out of learning languages, leaving you with nothing but engaging, effective and efficient learning. It's already hand-picked the best videos for you (which are organized by level and topic), so all you have to do is simply choose any video that strikes your fancy to get started.
Each word in the interactive captions comes with a definition, audio, image, example sentences and more.
Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab, and easily review words and phrases from the video under Vocab.
You can use FluentU’s unique Quiz Mode to learn the vocabulary and phrases from the video through fun questions.
FluentU keeps track of what you're learning, and tells you exactly when it's time for review, giving you a 100% personalized experience.
Review sessions use video context to help embed the words in your memory.
The best part? You can try FluentU for free with a trial.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Korean with real-world videos.