So you want to study Korean.
The only problem?
There aren’t exactly a lot of opportunities for you to enroll in an in-person course.
In fact, there aren’t any.
And it’s not like you have a ton of cash or vacation time to fly over to Korea for a full immersion course, either.
This is where the beautiful, beautiful internet comes into play.
A simple search, and you’ll find thousands of websites to learn Korean.
But which to choose? After all, one site might be perfect for a beginner and another site might better for someone more advanced. You’ll need to know exactly what’s best for your situation.
Well, in this list, I’m covering the top websites for learning Korean that you’ll need along your journey to mastering the language.
And I’m listing them from beginner to advanced, so you can choose where you want to start and which learning style you think is best for you.
But first, here are some study tips so that you get the most out of learning online. Online learning takes a different kind of discipline than an in-person course!
Study Tips for Making the Most of Learning Korean Online
- Make a schedule and stick to it. If you enrolled in (and paid good money for) a course that holds class every Tuesday and Thursday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., how often would you miss class? I’m betting you’d have next to perfect attendance. The same should go for online learning. I highly recommend setting aside about an hour of study each night to learn Korean. And yes, at a certain level, watching your favorite Korean movie, whether you’re renting or using Netflix, totally counts.
- Keep a notebook. Nothing helps you remember how to do something more than physically writing it down, especially if you need to learn Hangul, the Korean alphabet. Oftentimes, you may have the option of doing little exercises. Either print them out or use your notebook to write down your answers.
- Find somewhere you can talk. You need to be able to repeat after the virtual teachers at some point or sound out new vocabulary. Make sure you have a space where you can do this.
- Use something to warm up your screen. Huh? Okay, hear me out. Don’t your eyes get tired after staring at a screen for too long? Mine certainly do. Downloading software or using a plugin that “warms” up the blue screen will make studying and reading online much easier. I prefer f.lux, but there are quite a few free, safe options out there. This is going to especially help if you schedule your hour later in the evening.
Okay, now that you have some tips for online success, here are the sites to get you there!
10 Shockingly Good Websites for Learning Korean
While Memrise isn’t exclusively a Korean study site, it has a ton of Korean sections from which to choose. If you’re an absolute beginner who still needs to learn Hangul, head here to begin learning pronunciation.
Choose “Courses,” go to “Korean” and search for “A Lesson Hangul.” Start practicing and listening to the sounds. Using multiple-choice quizzes, you’ll learn the alphabet and even vocabulary words in no time.
While many of its resources require a paid plan, this site has a ton of free material to begin learning basic vocabulary and even phrases. One fun feature is its vocabulary lists, which are often updated for the holidays. The free material mainly uses audio to teach you. Lesson PDFs, reviews, dialogue audio and interactive learning features are available with a membership only. Either way, it’s excellent for listening practice.
What’s a FluentU post about awesome websites for learning Korean without a mention of FluentU Korean?
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons. It’s excellent for beginners through advanced learners. Simply pick a difficulty level and a topic. Then choose a video you like.
Here’s a quick look at the variety of choices available to you:
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.
Don’t stop there, though. You can use FluentU’s unique Learn Mode to learn the vocabulary and phrases from the video through fun questions.
FluentU even tracks your progress and remembers all the words you’ve learned, making for 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 15-day trial.
This site is best for beginners who want to learn with colorful illustrations. Dom is an ESL teacher in Korea and an active student. His wife, Hyo, is a native Korean who can double-check his work, so you know you’re getting accurate graphics. His comics are fun and easy. They’re great to save and have on hand for quick reference. He also has comics describing daily Korean life, which are in both English and Korean. You can practice your reading comprehension here as your level gets more advanced.
For those who crave a bit more of an academic setting, I’d recommend the Cyber University of Korea’s own free online course, “Quick Korean.” While I wouldn’t recommend it for an absolute beginner, if you’re at a stage where you want to move beyond basic vocabulary words, this is for you.
Easily one of the most popular online Korean resources, Talk to Me in Korean is an awesome program with native Korean speakers who really understand how to break down more difficult grammar points.
It’s mainly a podcast, but each lesson comes with a PDF of the lesson as well (or you can buy the workbooks in a bundle). While I love TTMIK and listen to the podcasts, I do warn it’s not for a beginner. It’s best to completely know Hangul and build up a vocabulary list before you dive in.
This site is an excellent resource for those who prefer more reading and writing versus listening. It’s thoroughly organized into units. With each lesson, they introduce you to new vocabulary before thoroughly explaining a grammar point. They then provide multiple sample sentences for every situation to help you practice it.
I noticed that when I was studying Korean and needed to search for clarification, this is the site that would pop up and be the most useful.
The Global Language Online Support System (GLOSS) is actually a product of the Defense Language Institute (DLI), part of the United States Department of Defense (DoD). One of its main objectives is training American personnel in foreign languages, and Korean is one of them.
GLOSS Korean is definitely for the more advanced learner as it bases its lessons off of realia material like newspapers or television shows to really ensure fluency. This is also great if you want more serious reading to test your comprehension.
Webtoons are an incredibly popular form of entertainment in Korea for all ages. If you prefer something more lighthearted, start scrolling through the hundreds of webtoons available on Korea’s two main search platforms, Naver and Daum. Important to note: Webtoons are designed more for mobile devices than your laptop.
Another resource to use is the multitude of blogs on these same platforms. Look for topics that interest you and change the search to 블로그 (blog). You’ll be able to find something that interests you and get an understanding of how Koreans might write or speak. This is great to pair with the more formal GLOSS, as you’ll come to understand the way a typical Korean speaks.
Well, there you have it! A collection of amazing websites for learning Korean to bring you from total beginner to fluent speaker.
These sites will give you a range of options for whichever part of language learning you want to focus on—listening, writing, speaking or reading.
화이팅 (good luck)!
Samantha is a freelancer and travel blogger. She majored in Spanish as an undergraduate and taught English in Korea for two years while studying the language. Check out her adventures over at There She Goes Again.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Korean with real-world videos.