The 15 Best Online Korean Courses of 2021 for Any Budget, Skill Level or Learning Style

You may not be able to take off to Seoul to perfect (or start learning) your Korean language skills.

And you may wonder how long it will take for you to learn Korean if you’re not, well, in Korea.

Not to worry.

Learning Korean from scratch is totally doable even if you’re not on Korean soil.

In today’s high-tech era, recreating an authentic immersive experience using online tools is absolutely within reach—if you know where to look.

Depending on your language level and the type of experience that you’re looking for, online programs can make a real difference on your journey to learning the Korean language.

So, without further delay, here are the best online Korean courses to get you speaking like a native!

The 15 Best Online Korean Courses of 2021 for Any Budget, Skill Level or Learning Style

Who knew the internet had so much to offer for Korean language learners? Here are some fantastic online courses to help you get started, move you along through the middle stages or perfect your command of the Korean language.

Udemy

online korean course

Best for: Quick and easy learning

Price: Free to $199.99

Certificate available: Yes

Udemy offers several Korean courses that you can find by searching for “Korean,” and there’s one you should look at in particular. The Korean Foundations course (“Learn Korean! Start Speaking Korean Now!”), currently priced at $74.99, has one ambitious goal: to help you learn Korean without you actually studying it.

Ideal if you’re not one to study with a book and prefer (virtual) human interaction, this online course covers the basics of Korean communication to get you conversant without much effort and in no time. Entirely video-based, this clever series guides you through the Korean language step by step using mnemonic images and useful tips.

Comprised of 63 mini-lectures spread out over five hours of video content, this solid introduction to Korean for beginners explains the structure of a Korean sentence, goes over basic pronunciation, essential words and expressions as well as some cultural insights to build familiarity and comfort with the Korean language.

Don’t forget to check out Udemy’s other Korean learning options, too! Some are free while others can be purchased. Whatever you’re looking for in a course, you’re likely to find something that piques your interest!

Pros:

  • Learn at your own pace
  • Very beginner-friendly
  • Choose to learn what you want

Cons:

  • Courses tend to be brief
  • Limited scope of content

FluentU

online-korean-courses

Best for: Immersive, on-the-go-learning

Price: Free trial; various paid subscriptions available

Certificate available: No

Immersion is the key to learning Korean. By engaging with its many forms and modern-day usage, you gain a strong and up-to-date grasp of the language.

FluentU uses a variety of authentic multimedia content to make real-world language easy (and fun!) to learn. Whenever you feel the urge to get your language gears going, you can do so with FluentU at the tap of a finger.

FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

Here's a quick look at the variety of video choices available to you:

learn-korean-with-interactive-videos

Each word in the interactive captions comes with a definition, audio, image, example sentences and more.

learn-korean-with-video-clips

Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab, and easily review words and phrases from the video under Vocab.

practice-korean-with-adaptive-quizzes

Don't stop there, though. You can use FluentU’s unique quizzes to learn the vocabulary and phrases from the video through fun questions.

practice-korean-with-personalized-quizzes

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 access the full FluentU video library with a free trial!

Start using FluentU Korean on the website or download the app from the iTunes or Google Play store.

Pros:

  • Learn and practice whenever, wherever
  • Utilizes a variety of real Korean media
  • Strong, mainstream content, making learned material very applicable

Cons:

  • No formal certificate currently available

Hanyang University’s Online Korean Course

online korean classes

Best for: Intensive beginner lessons

Price: $240 for three weeks, $700 for 10 weeks

Certificate available: Yes

Provided by the Hanyang University of International Education, this online course targets beginner learners who want to get a comprehensive foundation of the Korean language. It’s hosted on the Go! Go! Hanguk website, a resource that promotes international Korean language learning.

The lessons (provided in VOD format) are based on the institution’s own elementary Korean textbook and, prior to sign-up, students are expected to at least be familiar with the Korean alphabet.

Besides vocabulary and expressions, the course puts a strong emphasis on grammar so that you can break down and utilize correct sentence structure in your speech. Along the way, you can ask questions to your instructor or interact with other students in the online community.

The full course lasts 10 weeks, with lessons split up into five units. You also have the option to sign up for just the first three weeks. After that, you can gauge if you’d like to continue your learning for the remaining seven weeks.

Hanyang University also offers additional courses on the FutureLearn website. Currently, they have two introductory Korean classes, plus a few others that focus on Korean society.

Pros:

  • Plenty of focus on grammar
  • Ability to choose a shorter term

Cons:

  • Currently only for beginners

Pimsleur

online korean classes

Best for: Audio-based learning

Price: $119.95 and up per course, monthly subscription also available

Certificate available: No

Pimsleur is a popular choice for language enthusiasts. It follows its own tested method of learning (crafted by Dr. Paul Pimsleur), which emphasizes spaced repetition and recall of information.

Each level of Pimsleur features 30 Korean lessons at 30 minutes each that focus largely on vocabulary, listening and speaking skills. You’ll learn the essentials of conversation and become confident in navigating through everyday scenarios in which speaking is expected. Pimsleur’s Korean edition also includes reading lessons (roughly an hour long) that introduce you to the Korean alphabet.

Because they’re all in audio format, you can easily pop in your headphones and start learning whenever and wherever. It won’t be easy to zone out when what you’re listening to is relentlessly repeated so that it’s drilled into your brain.

There are other little tricks Pimsleur uses to make sure you’re paying attention. These include the use of mental imagery and nudges for you to repeat what you hear. There are also instances where you’ll be asked to recall words on demand. Naturally, this can be quite challenging, but it does encourage your brain to be vigilant and responsive to your lessons.

As of now, there are three different levels of Pimsleur Korean courses you can purchase. Each builds on the last one, so it’s recommended that you go in order if you’re a beginner.

Pros:

  • Portable lessons
  • Focus on pronunciation, core vocabulary and common conversation
  • Use of an effective, consistent learning method

Cons:

  • No writing and few reading lessons
  • Somewhat pricey

King Sejong Institute

online korean classes

Best for: Accessible, global learning

Price: Free

Certificate available: Yes

The King Sejong Institute is a well-known and highly-respected establishment, providing resources for learning both the Korean language and culture to anyone interested. While it’s traditionally known for its live classes held at its many centers, recently its online classes have become a big hit among international learners.

You have a number of options for your online learning. You can sign up for an e-class hosted by the institute or affiliates, apply for a time-limited course (and wait for approval) or go the self-study route and take advantage of the institute’s many online resources.

The class levels range from beginner to advanced. Much of the content will be derived from King Sejong Institute’s own textbooks. The length of the different classes vary, but most will last a number of weeks.

In addition to language courses, the institute also provides Korean culture classes. Topics include everyone’s favorite K-pop music, the workings of Korean beauty products, the Korean martial arts of taekwondo and others. These will certainly be fun and flavorful additions to your language studies!

The institute has traditionally held in-person classes in different centers, but it’s taken off recently as an online learning resource. However, it’s worth noting that I couldn’t find many accounts (either from users or from the website itself) regarding course prices, schedules and so forth.

It’s possible that some free and some paid courses are available for learners—though you might need to reach out to the institute to get more specific information.

Pros:

  • Course variety
  • Platform provides supplemental learning materials

Cons:

  • Some courses are not always available
  • Website is somewhat hard to navigate
  • Not much information about online courses

Hills Learning

online korean classes

Best for: A classroom-like experience

Price: $335 to $379

Certificate available: No

Hills Learning is an accredited Asian language center that offers online lessons. Although it’s virtual, the system works quite like a real class. You’ll be taught by a dedicated Korean teacher and have fellow classmates join you in your learning. If you thrive best with a classroom experience, then this could be the course for you!

You can take Korean language classes at different levels, starting from beginner to advanced. Each class runs for eight weeks with 90 minutes of lessons per week. The school aims to utilize Korean for about 90% of every lesson, which will ensure that you’re being kept on your toes.

Knowing that you have fellow classmates and one dedicated teacher can make a big difference in your motivation to learn. Even though everything is virtual, Hills Learning’s system works to make the experience as much like an in-person classroom as possible.

Classes are provided on a “semester” basis per month, so you’ll have to sign up before spots run out.

Pros:

  • Provides a classroom-like experience
  • Dedicated instructor
  • Opportunities for getting feedback and assessments

Cons:

  • Limited spots
  • Class schedule may not work for you

Loecsen

online korean course

Best for: The traveler’s needs

Price: Free

Certificate available: No

Perfect if you’re preparing a trip or are just looking to cover the basics in no time, Loecsen offers a good introduction to the Korean language and helps you learn all the essential words and sentences right away.

What’s not to love about a free site that uses Korean multimedia tools to facilitate memorization? Using effective word association techniques, Loecsen helps you quickly learn new words (and how to pronounce them correctly!) by matching words with their Korean writing, drawings and audio.

There are 17 lesson themes ranging from everyday expressions, feelings, bar orders and directions for taxi drivers to things like medical terms and getting in trouble. The site conveniently lists and explains useful words and daily Korean expressions using English, Hangul and Romanization of Korean characters.

The site also lets you quiz yourself, so make sure to follow up your initial session by printing out the list of words, reviewing them in your free time and going back on the site to test yourself!

You can also use the app and download the files right onto your phone if you want access to new expressions without an internet connection.

Pros:

  • Great for learning essential travel words and phrases
  • Synonyms provided for vocabulary

Cons:

  • Content is somewhat rote
  • Korean language isn’t deeply analyzed

Talk to Me in Korean

online korean course

Best for: Best value

Price: Free basic plan, $12.99 monthly plan, $93 yearly plan

Certificate available: Yes

This site boasts a strong curriculum using a variety of multimedia content for purchase to facilitate your Korean learning experience.

Structured into nine levels of 30 lessons each, the site expertly covers all the essentials, from must-know words and idioms to simple grammar structures as well as essential phrases you’d hear (and use!) every day. Ranked by topic and using a step-by-step approach, each lesson consists of an mp3 file or downloadable podcasts with free supporting PDFs and practice exercises, if you want to purchase their textbooks.

Talk to Me in Korean also offers nine different video courses for purchase on Vimeo which you can buy one by one or purchase for $19.99 for each program if your goal is to achieve conversational fluency.

Pros:

  • Extra lessons beyond the standard curriculum
  • Supplemental study resources provided

Cons:

  • Basic plan lacks some of the more helpful content

TOPIK Guide

online korean course

Best for: TOPIC-specific Private Lessons

Price: $19 per session

Certificate available: No

The TOPIK test is essential for non-natives who wish to do any professional or licensed business in Korea. It’s administered at different fluency levels and is comprised of reading, writing and listening comprehension sections. To make things less intimidating for future test-takers, TOPIK Guide offers one-on-one, session-based lessons catered to your needs.

After detailing your fluency level and what you want to learn or review, an instructor will formulate a custom curriculum just for you. Your lessons, taught either in English or simple Korean, will be held via Skype or Google Hangouts at a schedule based on your availability. There’s a lot of customization with TOPIK Guide’s tutoring system, so it’s definitely worth a try if you’re set on taking the test!

TOPIK Guide also provides a bunch of TOPIK-related study material, including past iterations of the test and quick guidelines for specific sections. They even have a self-study digital package available for $29 or $78 which is a great supplemental study resource if you’re planning on taking the test in the near future.

Pros:

  • Private lessons at your convenience
  • Choose what to learn
  • Customized to individual learners

Cons:

  • Implies commitment to taking the TOPIK test (rather than just learning the language)

Lexis Korea

online korean course

Best for: Weekly, thematic learning

Price: Roughly $52 to $174 weekly

Certificate available: Yes

Lexis Korea, a school that’s previously won awards for educational achievement, now offers a virtual version of its on-campus Korean language course.

Called the Untact courses, these virtual classes aim to help overseas learners rapidly progress in the language.

There are currently three Untact courses: Untact Korean 25, Untact Korean 15 and Untact Weekend Korean.

Untact Korean 25 is a full-time course that expects learners to revise content between classes and complete homework.

Untact Korean 15 is a part-time but still intensive run-through of the language. It aims to improve your speaking, listening, reading and writing skills in a short period of time. While you’re required to commit to four weeks of learning, you can choose which weeks you participate in. Courses are split into themes each week, so you can choose which one you want to join based on the topic being covered.

Finally, Untact Weekend is a slower-paced, once-per-week version of the teachings for learners with a generally full schedule. Each month focuses on a different theme.

The school does show a lot of sympathy toward learners with differing time commitments, so if you’re schedule-conscious but eager to learn Korean, give these courses a try!

Pros:

  • Can join on any given week
  • Caters to different time commitments

Cons:

  • Somewhat pricey
  • Unenforced schedule

Yonsei University’s First Step Korean

online korean course

Best for: Beginner-level education

Price: Free or $49 with a certificate

Certificate available: Yes (paid)

Yonsei University, one of the most prestigious universities in South Korea, offers a beginner’s course on the Korean language held on the ever-growing Coursera platform. If you enjoy learning with an instructor and a simulation of a class, then this course could be for you!

The course consists of five lessons with four units, covering fundamental concepts in reading, writing, speaking and listening while offering additional exercises to supplement your learning. You’ll start with the very basics of the Korean alphabet before moving up and learning elementary Korean knowledge like talking about the date and time as well as everyday topics.

All in all, it’s estimated that full course completion takes about 18 hours, give or take your own work and study pace.

Another plus with the Coursera course is that a forum is available where you can interact with fellow learners and moderators, so you can feel free to ask questions or get clarification and practice certain concepts. For a $49 fee, you can also get a certificate of completion that’d be a great addition to your resume.

This course is very popular and has garnered thousands of students and tons of good reviews, so don’t wait too long to enroll if you’re interested!

Pros:

  • Highly structured lesson plans
  • Forum for questions and interaction

Cons:

  • Currently tailored to beginners only
  • Somewhat brief and lacking in grammar teaching

Quick Korean

online korean course

Best for: Listening practice

Price: Free

Certificate available: Yes

The Cyber University of Korea offers an informative course teaching the basics of Korean. There aren’t any strings attached to Quick Korean—just sign up with your email and you can access the whole course pro bono.

The content is split into four levels of difficulty. Level one teaches you the basics of communication. The higher levels build upon that foundation so that by level four, you should be able to freely speak on a multitude of topics.

The Cyber University of Korea offers lecture videos in Korean with optional subtitles, so you can get an extra learning edge by practicing without looking at the translations!

Because much of the content is based on communication and is provided in a lecture style, learners tend to get a lot of pronunciation and listening practice with Quick Korean. These are valuable aspects of language learning, and since it won’t cost a thing, it’s worth a try!

Pros:

  • Completely free, no strings attached
  • Multi-language support
  • Focuses on strengthening communication skills

Cons:

  • Supplemental self-study probably needed
  • Somewhat lacking in grammar and vocabulary content

How to Study Korean

online korean course

Best for: Learning to write and read in hangul

Price: Free with paid supplemental resources

Certificate available: No

How to Study Korean is heavily focused on grammar, which is essential for upping your reading and writing skills. It essentially takes learners from zero knowledge in reading Korean to upper advanced fluency.

The course begins at Unit 0, where novices are taught the basics of reading, and then ends at Unit 7, which focuses on upper advanced Korean grammar. Currently, there are only a couple of lessons available in the final unit and Unit 0, but Units 1 to 6 all have 25 lessons each and a unit test.

The lessons include auditory guides and videos from their YouTube channel so they’re more like dynamic textbook learning experiences.

These lessons can also be supplemented with their bonus references, including vocabulary lists, workbooks, themed lessons and short stories. These extras do have to be purchased, but the lessons themselves are completely free!

Pros:

  • Multilingual lessons
  • Lessons are available in PDF format
  • Option to learn Hanja

Cons:

  • PDF lessons, workbooks, vocab lists and other supplemental resources cost extra
  • Content is less engaging

90 Day Korean

online korean course

Best for: Structured, school-like learning

Price: Free content available; $35 standard monthly plan or $239 standard yearly plan; $47 VIP monthly plan or $327 VIP yearly plan

Certificate available: Yes

90 Day Korean is an online course that’s referred to as the Inner Circle, where native-speaking language coaches let you in on the secrets of learning and remembering Korean for the rest of your life.

This course is divided into four modules that each last for 90 days, with weekly lesson plans. All four modules can be completed within a year, but you can take as much or as little time as you like, depending on the pace you set for yourself.

90 Day Korean uses the 80/20 principle, which means that you’ll be taught the 20% of the language that gets you 80% of the results. This ensures that what you learn in the course will be applicable to the real world.

The Standard Plan gives you access to the Inner Circle community and all the courses. If you require more structure in scheduling and need someone to regularly check up on your progress, you might want to subscribe to the VIP plan, which includes personal coaching and homework grading. Either way, the Inner Circle is great for keeping your Korean language goals in check!

All members also gain access to live monthly virtual meetings, where you can watch and participate in additional language training.

90 Day Korean does have some free content as well, with articles on their homepage on culture and life in Korea, K-pop and K-dramas, Hangeul, Korean numbers, as well as other language basics.

Pros:

  • Regular check-ins from mentors to keep you accountable
  • Contextual lessons for better language retention
  • Weekly lessons with flexible options to learn at a faster pace

Cons:

  • Mainly for beginners

Conversational Korean

online korean course

Best for: Learning conversational Korean

Price: Free, with options to support through donations and merch

Certificate available: No

Conversational Korean is a YouTube channel run by 김선태 or Suntae Kim in English. It’s an excellent start for beginners, as well as anyone else looking to boost their confidence in speaking skills. Unlike many educational YouTube channels, Conversational Korean actually engages with subscribers with livestreams, allowing viewers to ask questions and receive immediate feedback.

Another thing that makes this channel a standout is its emphasis on pronunciation. With a dedicated playlist on Korean pronunciation, Suntae Kim truly breaks down the proper mouth and tongue movements to help learners improve their accent, diction and intonation.

Listening practice is also covered with the “Mooky the Parrot” series, where you’ll be asked to write down what Mooky says. You can also challenge yourself with Suntae’s range of Korean Listening Tests.

Of course, Conversational Korean offers more than just pronunciation guides. There are also grammar clips and full-length vocabulary lessons that can be supplemented with the extra resources from the website. If you love learning through videos, this is definitely the course for you!

Pros:

  • Strong focus on proper pronunciation
  • Wide variety of content with different video lengths
  • Option to join live streams

Cons:

  • Intermediate lessons available but mostly caters to beginners

 

We hope you have a lot of fun with these fantastic online resources.

This is a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips—so be sure to make good use of it!

If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Korean with real-world videos.

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