Long gone are the days when cellphones were only for talking and texting.
So are the days when Skype was only used to call family and friends that lived far away.
You just need to know how.
Allow us to direct you to some invaluable resources to find tutors and teachers over Skype and propel you forward in your Korean studies.
Why Take Korean Lessons over Skype?
In 2003, Skype burst onto the telecommunication scene and quickly disrupted the whole industry. It was largely because of its price (free!) and the fact that you could now virtually talk and see anyone in the world. At that price (free!), international communication became the new norm.
Now Skype offers language learners like you the opportunity to connect with native speakers and learn a new language outside the confines of a classroom or hopping on a plane to Seoul. You can now virtually get into Korea without the hassle of customs!
So before we get into ways you can find a native speaker or a tutor or a teacher, let’s discuss some things you can do before, during and after your Skype lessons to fully maximize your time with your teacher, tutor or exchange partner.
Tips to Maximize Your Korean Skype Lessons
Be open about your goals
You need to set things right from the very beginning. So before you get down to the nitty-gritty of the lessons, reserve the first discussion for managing expectations and getting on the same page. Tell him or her about what you hope to achieve in the interaction.
This is more than the schedule and duration of the Skype sessions. Level with the person. Tell the other person how you’ve come to love Korean and how it’s stirred something inside of you. If that first bite of kimchi changed your life, then say so. If Lee Min Ho made you believe in the goodness of man, then go ahead and (briefly) tell them about it.
Build a connection with them—it might just change how they go about teaching you their language and help make the lessons more effective.
Prepare before each lesson
The quantity and quality of your preparation will determine the quantity and quality of your lesson.
A successful Skype session has plenty of behind-the-scenes preparation. So hit the books before each session.
Ten to fifteen minutes before logging in, take out your notes. Go over what you’ve written. Say aloud the Korean words and phrases you see. Repeat them a couple of times. Are there questions that you need to ask or points you need to clarify? Be sure to let your teacher or tutor know.
Never come to Skype cold. Be sure you’re ready to proceed to the next topic and that you know the previous lesson like the back of your hand.
Create a cheat sheet for every lesson
Before every session, prepare a single piece of paper that will serve as your map for that lesson. Are there language questions from last time that you need to ask your teacher or partner? What topics would you like to talk about during the language exchange? Where do you want the conversation to go? Write these things down.
That single piece of paper will ensure every minute is maximized during your lesson. Seven minutes into the session and you run out of things to say? Awkward!
Preparing your questions beforehand ensures you get the most out of your sessions and you get the answers you need.
Just because you heard something once doesn’t mean you’ll remember it hours after you sign off Skype. Your ears may be sharp, but your memory isn’t perfect.
Write down important points and connections you made during the session or take a moment to summarize the day’s lesson.
Research has found that the act of writing itself helps you remember ideas. So take plenty of notes to really cement your learning.
When taking a one-on-one Skype class, there’s a real tendency for a paying student to simply sit back and let the teacher do all the talking. Or, in the case of a language exchange, to let your partner do all the explaining when it’s their turn to teach you Korean.
While you should definitely listen and let them teach you, you should be sure to actively participate throughout the whole session. This means that you should also take every opportunity to parrot the Korean words or phrases without waiting to be asked.
For example, if you’re discussing Korean telephone conversations that day:
Partner: When answering the phone, you say, “여보세요” (yeoboseyo).
Partner: That’s how you say “hello” on the phone.
You: Oh ok. Yeoboseyo. . .yeoboseyo. . .yeoboseyo.
Notice that in this short exchange, you’ve already practiced saying “yeoboseyo” four times, and your partner hasn’t even asked you to do so.
Just be mindful of audio delays because you might be talking over your partner and end up with some awkward situations. (So make sure you have an excellent internet connection.)
Verify your learning
Use this technique to clarify what you’ve learned during the session. Mirror back to your partner some of the important concepts you learned during the lesson.
So before the session ends, you might say:
You: So in Korean there are no grammatical genders.
Partner: Yes, correct.
You: And when forming Korean sentences, it’s usually in the “subject + object + verb” form.
Partner: Pretty much.
This is an opportunity to solidify the lesson in your head and give your teacher or partner an opportunity to clarify any misunderstandings.
Review the lesson while it’s still fresh
It doesn’t have to be immediately after the lesson, but it’s a good idea to return to your notes a few hours after Skyping. This keeps the lessons percolating in your head.
There’s something to be said for reviewing material the same day as the lesson. Or if you had the session right before sleeping, maybe as soon as you wake up.
This again highlights the importance of taking good notes during the session. The actual Skype session will pass quickly and it’s possible for information to get passed over quickly. And while you won’t get to relive the session again, your notes are the next best thing and can be reviewed again and again, ‘til kingdom come.
Knowing that you’re going to be reviewing what you’ll be writing should also help motivate you to take good notes.
Do something else that has nothing to do with Korean
This is very important. Downtime is just as vital to learning Korean. Many students burn themselves out and wonder why they’re beginning to hate learning the language.
Do something fun so that when you come back to studying, you’re recharged and good to go. Hike, bike, eat ice cream, watch “Game of Thrones” (that series will put your problems in perspective).
Do it! The thing that you think has nothing to do with Korean, has actually everything to do with it.
10 Places to Get Skype Korean Lessons and Bring Your Language Learning into the 21st Century
Lessons are given by either a “teacher” or a “tutor.” Be sure to take advantage of trial sessions and look over resumes or profiles whenever possible. If a particular teacher doesn’t work out, don’t worry too much about it. Many platforms make it easy to switch if you feel like you’re not clicking with the person you originally chose.
Here are some sites to find your perfect language teacher or tutor:
What if your language teacher can talk and tell you something about herself even before she meets you?
Well that’s what happens with Verbling. Their teachers, in addition to written introductions, often have accompanying videos that give you an idea of what they’re like. You can actually see them on the move, doing their thing. You can listen ahead of time to be sure their English is at a level you can understand. And although you’ll meet through their site, its similarity to Skype will make it an easy transition.
Verbling boasts vetted, highly-qualified Korean language teachers and offers them all up as choices. But the site understands that even the most seasoned of educators may not be perfectly suitable for you. Verbling gives you the option of trying out a tutor to see how it goes. When you open a teacher’s profile, you’ll see the “Book Trial” button, as well as the rate. Click on it and start the hunt for that perfect teacher (for you).
This site provides very detailed background information on their teachers, allowing you to see their rates, as well as their training and teaching experience.
The teachers also share their personal approach to teaching, which is probably one of the most important factors you should consider. They tell you the kind of activities you’ll be doing during the sessions and the materials you’ll be working with. You’ll know immediately if they incorporate language games or if they use a specific textbook.
Also, don’t forget to browse through the scores of reviews provided by previous students. As a tip for reading reviews, look for repeating themes. Does the word “fun,” “patient” or “kind” crop up again and again? There must be a reason for this. If you read a review from someone written in what seems like fluent Korean…well hire that teacher and never let go (they obviously did a great job)!
Book your lesson today. Click on “Find A Tutor” on the top menu and you’ll be brought to a page where you can specify Korean in the “I’m Learning” box and let them know if you want a native speaker. Lessons are 45 minutes and range from $20-$30. You can also use the “Trial” filter to find teachers who offer an initial trial session. (Trials are half of the teacher’s regular rate.)
So what are you waiting for? Sign up and be a step closer to fluency!
Think of Live Lingua as a language school, but online. Administrators and staff are ready to help you 24/7. Imagine that. A school that never closes.
This platform boasts that it’s the “World’s First Total Immersion Language School Online” and received a coveted A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. It also received a nod from the editors of Entrepreneur Magazine, who named Live Lingua one of the Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America for 2015.
But accolades aside, the site delivers. And it’s not just because of their risk-free trial lesson, which is an hour’s worth of free language training. This site is about commitment, focusing on quality over quantity. Their teachers are some of the most qualified educators online, often having multiple advanced degrees. They’re required to be fluent in Korean and English so that they can effectively help students progress.
Preply helps pair language students with the best language teachers. You can search tutors and use the various search filters to further clarify your needs. Search according to price, availability, popularity, ratings and specialty. (The last one refers to your focus of study, whether you’re interested in conversation Korean, business Korean, Korean literature, etc.)
Once you’ve zeroed in on one, get started by paying for your first lesson. If you’re not fully satisfied with the tutor after the first lesson, you’ll either receive a refund or your payment will be rolled over for another lesson with another language tutor.
With Preply, you can be sure of finding a tutor who meets your requirements and goals. And as a way of ensuring the quality of their tutor services, two weeks after your first lesson, you’ll receive an invitation to post a review on your tutor for the benefit of other students. So let your voice be heard!
Learning Korean for business, career, travel or a relationship? Language Trainers has an international network of highly-qualified language teachers to help you out.
In addition to face-to-face interactions, they also offer lessons over Skype. First, take their free Korean language level test to gauge your current language level. If you’re an absolute beginner, just answer the first 10 questions and press “Get My Test Results.” Your results will then be sent to the email address you specified. (The results are based on internationally-recognized benchmarks like the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.)
After finding out how you did on the test, send an inquiry to the Language Trainers team who will then actively look for appropriate language teachers for you. Be sure you let them know as much as you can about your goals and interests.
For $1.99, you can have a 30-minute trial session, meet your potential teacher and talk to them more about your expectations.
Language Exchange Partners
You don’t necessarily need a certified teacher to expand your understanding of Korean. A language exchange partner is someone who is just as excited about learning as you are and can give you a lot of valuable insight into their language. In return, you’ll help your partner strengthen their language skills in English (or whatever language you’re fluent in).
You basically trade your English for their Korean. So you might teach them English for the first half of the interaction, and then you’ll get lessons in Korean for the second half. And since you guys are helping each other out, no money is exchanged. Language exchange lessons are free—you trade information instead.
Here are some sites you can go to and find language partners:
My Language Exchange is a pretty straightforward site. The interface is simple and user-friendly. As an early player in the language exchange game, it’s changed the lives of countless users and has bridged many a language gap.
Set your preferences to search for the perfect partner. (So for the “Native language” box, choose “Korean,” and for the “Practicing” box choose “English.”)
An advanced search will give you more options so you can really zero in on your ideal partner. And in addition to Skype interactions, you can even specify if you want somebody to interact via text (for those wanting to practice Korean writing) or voice.
Register for free and get access to scores of Korean native speakers wanting to learn English.
Click “Search” and you’ll be taken to a form that lets you specify the language exchange parameters. It lets you choose between “Face to face conversation,” “Correspondence (pen-pal)” and “Using chat software.” (In this case, choose “Skype” from the options provided.)
Your search results will then flood you with different options. Some profiles even list their Skype username so you can directly message them.
Conversation Exchange even provides language exchange tips and tutorials so you and your friend can make the most out of the exchange. They even go as far as providing you with speaking topics, so you’ll never run out of things to say. Language exchange partners can say goodbye to those awkward moments that many learners have come to dread.
Italki is a big name in the language exchange business. Along with providing language partners, it can also help you find excellent language teachers.
They really try to foster an active community where language learners help one another. (That’s why they have an “Answer” section in the “Community” menu where you can answer some of the English questions posted by others.)
It’s more than a language exchange; it’s a friendship that leads to a successful partnership. So after searching for possible language partners, looking at their full profile and choosing “Add as Friend,” message the person and tell him or her how you can help and what you can offer. (But don’t forget to also write the kind of help you’ll be needing.)
With this let’s-help-one-another philosophy and the topnotch interface it provides, italki is really “changing how the world learns foreign languages.”
In Scrabbin lingo, a language exchange partner is a “tandem partner,” but the process of looking for a “tandem partner” is the same. You register for free on the site and search for folks who are Korean native speakers interested in improving their English. You then send them a message introducing yourself and see if you guys can proceed to Skype and really get the ball rolling.
Compared to the other language exchange platforms, Scrabbin is still a toddler. But that doesn’t mean you’ll have a shortage of Korean folks here. It only means that in a little community of language learners, you have a real opportunity to be heard. You can put your personal stamp on the discussions (they have a forum) and really help the community grow.
In a smaller pond, finding a serious language partner becomes decidedly easier.
You may know Craigslist for many other reasons, but it’s actually fertile ground for finding language exchange partners.
You can post your ad in the “Lessons” section of “Services” or the “Education,” “General Labor,” “Nonprofit Sector” and “Part-time” sections of “Jobs.”
Be sure to be upfront about your requirements for a language exchange partner. Also, specify that this isn’t a tutor or teacher gig, but a language exchange via Skype. And as always, mention to potential readers how you can help with their English.
Let your personality shine in your ad. If you’re funny, be funny. Let them know what they can expect when they (virtually) meet you.
Because of the nature of the medium (they’ll have to have a basic understanding of English in order to understand and appreciate your post), you’ll probably be getting replies from native speakers who are already at the intermediate English level. That only means your job as their partner is that much easier, and you guys can focus on getting in-depth with the language.
With these tools, you’re ready to make the most of this awesome platform and Skype your way to Korean fluency!
As always, I wish you the best of luck!
And One More Thing…
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Each word in the interactive captions comes with a definition, audio, image, example sentences and more.
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