The old saying goes, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
Luckily, there aren’t any adages that say there’s no such thing as free Korean learning.
When it comes to learning Korean, you can get something for nothing. And while it might not be accompanied by a delightful side of kimchi, it does offer all you need to build your appetite for learning more Korean.
There’s a wellspring of free Korean resources right at the tip of your fingers if you know where to look.
Whether you’re just starting to learn Korean or already have advanced skills, there’s probably a free resource that will meet your needs.
If you want to improve your Korean without spending a single won, look no further than these 16 resources to learn Korean for free.
Why Focus on Free Korean Learning Resources?
One great reason to try learning Korean for free is to see if you even like learning Korean. Before you fork over you hard-earned cash to teach yourself Korean, you may as well make sure you actually enjoy it first. Learning Korean for free is a great way to test the waters to see if you want to continue.
Plus, learning Korean for free gives you a chance to develop some skills before you put in any money. If you’re just starting out, you can build up your skills to a high enough level that you can skip over paying for any introductory materials. Why not save up that money for a trip to South Korea to further improve your Korean skills?
Finally, learning Korean for free can allow you to build on what you’re learning from courses or other resources. Free resources pair beautifully with any other Korean resources you’re using! Whether you’re learning through paid Korean apps or Korean courses, using some free resources along with your other learning materials can build on what you’re learning and provide a nice variation from your normal studies.
How to Get the Most out of Learning Korean for Free
Take advantage of free trials.
A lot of paid apps and websites offer free trials, which are an unbeatable opportunity. Not only can you use these trials to learn some Korean for free, but you can also use them to investigate whether you like the app or website enough to consider purchasing it down the road.
Plus, let’s be real: If you subscribe at the right time, you can jam pack an awful lot of free Korean learning into even the briefest trial period.
Use multiple resources.
Mixing and matching multiple free Korean learning resources can fill your days with Korean learning. For instance, there’s no shame in combining Korean learning websites and Korean YouTube channels. With Korean learning, the more resources, the merrier!
Each set of materials provides a different perspective, so using several resources can make your education more well-rounded. And because some free options offer limited materials, pairing multiple free resources can fill in any gaps.
Craft your own materials based on your free resources.
You’re not limited to using free Korean resources in their original form, which opens up a lot of opportunities to craft your own additional resources based on free resources.
You can write stuff down, make posters, put together your own flashcards or use your imagination to come up with another way to reformat the material for better studying. The very act of putting together your own resources can serve as a valuable study technique.
Plus, getting creative allows you to make the most of any limited Korean learning resources you get your hands on.
Don’t Spend a Single Won: 16 Resources to Learn Korean for Free
Available: iOS | Android
If you want to learn Korean but are just too busy binge watching entertaining videos to find the time, FluentU is the perfect solution.
FluentU offers a free trial that gives you access to tons of great authentic materials.
Each video is captioned, and the captions are annotated, giving you easy access to each word’s definition, example sentences and an associated image. When you want to change things up, hop on over to FluentU’s “Quiz Mode,” which combines video, images and example sentences into engaging, interactive activities.
Plus, FluentU is appropriate for any skill level or availability. You choose what you watch. You choose how often you watch. You even choose how quickly you watch.
Meanwhile, FluentU’s algorithm tracks your learning to present you with level-appropriate questions that build on what you’ve learned. This gives you the flexibility of forging your own path toward fluency with the added support of a program that carefully tracks what you need to work on next.
To try FluentU, start using it online, download the iOS app or check out the Android app.
Available: iOS | Android
Drops is a simple, minimalist app that gamifies learning the Korean language.
This visual-based learning system helps you memorize vocabulary by seeing each word, hearing each word and connecting an associated image with each word. Because each session is just five minutes long, it isn’t too daunting to study a little Korean whenever you have a few minutes.
If you just can’t get enough Drops, a subscription option is available. However, the free version gets you five free minutes of game time each day, which is definitely enough to help build your vocabulary.
Available: iOS | Android
Whenever the topic of learning a language for free comes up, you’ll probably hear Duolingo mentioned in the conversation. It’s just that popular.
And there are certainly good reasons for its popularity. Like Drops, Duolingo breaks your down your Korean learning into as little as five minutes per day through gamified activities that make learning fun. Activities combine grammar, vocabulary, speaking, reading, writing and listening for well-rounded Korean education.
You can access most of Duolingo’s materials for free without a subscription. However, a subscription removes ads and allows you to download lessons so you can use them when you’re offline.
Available: iOS | Android
Memrise isn’t known as a free app, but it certainly offers enough material for free that it’s worth checking out.
A free account gives you access to Memrise’s lessons and reviews, which include materials produced by both Memrise and other users that can teach you the alphabet, plenty of vocabulary and some tricky grammar rules. However, Memrise mostly shines in the vocabulary category, so it’s a great tool to use if you are looking to pick up some new Korean words.
If you like what you see, a subscription can unlock even more options, including a grammarbot, listening skills mode, video mode and so much more.
Daily Dose of Language
Available: iOS | Android
Daily Dose of Language is a convenient app from Innovative Language Learning.
With Daily Dose of Language, you get a Korean “mini-lesson” on your phone, making it easy to study a little each day. Plus, you can receive alerts so you never forget.
These lessons cover a range of topics, including vocabulary, slang, grammar, culture and more.
While these mini-lessons are free, a paid subscription can give you access to additional audio lessons, video lessons and archived mini-lessons.
With Loecsen, you can learn Korean for free from the comfort of your favorite web-enabled device.
This website offers a delightful array of resources to teach plenty of important Korean vocabulary for beginning students. The interactive web-based learning allows you to view the word in Korean, the romanization of the word and/or the English meaning.
Each word or phrase is also accompanied by a drawing to show you the meaning and audio to help you nail down the pronunciation. The website also allows you to record your own pronunciation for easy comparison. Once you think you’ve mastered a set of words, you can test your learning with a quick quiz.
Online learning is great, but if you prefer to take your learning offline, Loecsen also has a convenient option for that: The site offers printable worksheets of the vocabulary for easy practice.
How to Study Korean
Want to learn Korean but unsure where to start? How to Study Korean can help!
How to Study Korean offers leveled units broken down into easy-to-follow lessons, making it easy to use the site to learn Korean from scratch or to jump in at your current proficiency level. Lessons include written instructions, videos, workbooks and printable PDFs. There are over 100 total lessons, so there’s plenty of material to work with. It’s a lot like a conventional Korean course condensed into a free website.
If you prefer a viewing binge for your Korean learning, you can also check out How to Study Korean’s YouTube channel.
Foreign Service Institute
Live Lingua offers a collection of of Korean course materials from the Foreign Service Institute (FSI).
These course materials are appropriate for beginning Korean students and feature a whopping 40+ hours of content, including audio and ebooks with dialogues, reading exercises, drills, vocabulary and grammar notes.
While it’s a bit dated, it’s hard to beat the structure and sheer volume of material. If you wish you could take a traditional Korean course for free, this is your chance!
The good people at King Sejong Institute Foundation have been tremendously generous. If you’re looking for beginning or intermediate Korean learning materials, you can access them for free through Sejong Korean.
These lessons focus on speaking, listening, reading and writing. The materials include videos and ebooks you can access for free.
One particularly unique feature of this website is that you can choose your language of instruction. You can select between learning in Korean, Chinese, English, Spanish and Indonesian. To change your language settings, just go to the options bar on the left side of the screen.
The Cyber University of Korea
Welcome to The Cyber University of Korea, where resources are plentiful and learning Korean is free!
The Cyber University of Korea offers a “Quick Korean” program that helps interested learners nail down the basics of the Korean language. You’ll have to create a free account to access the material, but then you’ll be ready to roll.
The site offers cultural lectures, three-minute vocabulary lessons and more in-depth leveled lessons. The leveled lessons come in four levels and cover both vocabulary and grammar. Lessons come with printable PDFs and downloadable MP3s for easy studying.
Want to see what you’ve learned? Online tests allow you to check your progress.
KoreanClass101 offers powerful podcasts to upgrade your language skills.
While full access to all the material requires a subscription, new free Korean lessons are added weekly, so once you sign up, you’ll have frequent new material to study.
But if that’s not enough free material for you, you can also access more of what KoreanClass101 has to offer through the site’s YouTube channel, which features hundreds of great videos to teach Korean students about culture, grammar, vocabulary, learning methods and more.
Talk To Me In Korean
Wouldn’t it be nice if you had tons of free Korean learning content that you could access the next time you’re without Wi-Fi? Well, with Talk To Me In Korean on iTunes, you can have 300 free video lessons downloaded on your phone and ready whenever the mood strikes.
The videos cover vocabulary, listening practice, dictation and more to give you a wide range of skills.
However, if you don’t want to download the lessons or you want an even wider selection of videos, don’t worry! You can also check out Talk To Me In Korean’s YouTube channel for hundreds of educational videos.
Culture or language—which is more important? With Easy Korean, you don’t have to choose.
Brought to you by Easy Languages, the Easy Korean playlist offers 22 terrific videos that combine culture and language in an engaging way. Videos are shot on the street to expose you to common scenarios in everyday life, such as riding the bus and using chopsticks. Because the videos are shot on location in South Korea, they also give you insight into what South Korea is really like.
Each video is in Korean, and people speak slowly and clearly. Plus, the videos are subtitled with both Korean and English to make it easy for students from any skill level to follow along.
Seemile makes some amazing Korean learning apps, but if you’re looking for a terrific free learning option, Seemile’s YouTube channel is hard to beat.
Seemile Korean features structured lessons to guide you through essential skills. For instance, it provides a playlist dedicated to teaching you to read Korean. In addition to these structured lessons, Seemile Korean also has tons of other videos that cover topics like pronunciation, listening and more.
If you prefer your Korean lessons be delivered in Chinese, Japanese or Vietnamese, Seemile Korean still has your back, offering lessons in all these languages.
Do you love reading the latest Korean news? Can’t stop reading gossip about your favorite K-pop stars? What if we told you that you can read all the Korean-language content you want even if your skills aren’t quite there yet… while improving your Korean skills for the future? No, it isn’t a fantasy—Readlang can help you do just that!
Readlang is a web reader that you can download to turn any Korean-language website into a learning tool. Once you have Readlang installed, you can simply click on any word for an instant translation. Plus, Readlang saves the words you’ve translated and allows you to turn them into flashcards for easy studying.
A free subscription gives you unlimited word translations, unlimited flashcards and 10 phrase translations per day. If you want to translate more phrases, a subscription option is also available.
Resources from your local library
If you haven’t checked out your local library in a while, you could be missing out.
Some libraries have added Korean education resources to their catalogs, giving you access to pricey learning materials for free.
In fact, certain libraries even have relationships with software programs, such as Mango Languages, that give library card holders free access.
And if your library doesn’t have any Korean learning resources for you, don’t fret just yet! Talk to a friendly librarian. They might be able to help you acquire Korean resources through a loan from an affiliated library. Otherwise, expressing your interest in Korean resources may convince your library that there’s enough demand in the area to make it worth adding some resources to the collection.
You can receive something for nothing! With these 16 resources, you can get the Korean learning you crave without spending your hard-earned cash.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Korean with real-world videos.