22+ Best Ways to Learn Korean (Including Best Ways to Learn Korean for Free!)

22+ Best Ways to Learn Korean (Including Best Ways to Learn Korean for Free!) 1

Learning a new language is very hard. As someone who still struggles with Korean even after living here for years, I understand that very well. Not only does learning take a lot of time and effort, but you need the right methods and tools to succeed. 

These days, there are hundreds of ways to learn languages. There are the traditional forms of learning – practising with classes or simply by visiting the country in question, but there are also hundreds of other methods. With so many options available, what is the best way to learn Korean?

In this post, I want to cover what I found to be the best ways to learn Korean, from books to online tutors. I have used nearly all of these on my own journey to try and learn the Korean language and I will be talking from my experience. 

While I do believe that the best way to learn Korean is to practice speaking and take some Korean classes from a good mentor, I understand that these options aren’t available for everyone. Some people may not have access to teachers/tutors and they can often be very expensive. 

Even if you already have a teacher or take classes, some of the Korean language resources in this post can supplement your learning. This is my personal method and I will take a few classes every week before revising and practising different skills online. 

Most of the entries on this list will be paid websites or services. However, there are also a few free ways to learn Korean too. This list doesn’t contain every Korean learning method out there – it would be far too long! Rather, I tried to focus this list on platforms that I have personally used. 

Below is a quick list that you can refer to. I have covered every platform in more detail further down.

GlossikaWebsite$30 (monthly)
HilokalWebsite/AppFree/$2.99 (monthly)
Fleunt UWebsite/App$20 (monthly)
90DayKoreanWebsite/App$35 (monthly)
Rocket KoreanWebsite/App$99.95 (lifetime)
MondlyWebsite/App$9.99 (monthly)
Rosetta StoneWebsite/Program$9.99 (monthly), $239
How to Study KoreanWebsite/YoutubeFree
Korean Class 101Website/YoutubeFree/$25
Hello TalkAppFree
Amazing SpeakerWebsiteVaries
SaySpeakingWebsite$32.99 (lesson)
Integrated KoreanBook$30
University TextbooksBook$20+

With all of that being said, here is my list of the best ways to learn Korean. If you believe that something is missing from this list please leave a comment at the end of the post. I would love to be made aware of more ways to learn Korean!

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Best ways to learn Korean

Learning can always be hard. However, this is especially true when you are learning Korean online or by yourself. It’s easy to lose motivation or to feel overwhelmed. Luckily, there are ways to avoid burning out or the feeling of being overwhelmed!

Of course, everyone learns differently and the same advice won’t apply to everyone. However, the points below are those that I have found to be very helpful in my own self-study of Korean. I’ve attempted to self-study Korean many times but I often end up feeling burnt out. The tips below are what I have found to work best!

  • Don’t rely solely on memorisation platforms. Rather, use something with a strong curriculum and supplement this with a practice (memorisation) platform.
  • Make sure to take notes by hand. While I am someone that loves typing, there’s no better way to remember vocabulary than by handwriting it.
  • Make clear goals and a timetable. If you have something to work toward then it’s much easier to stick to your schedule and study regularly.
  • Find someone that can help you. Of course, this can be hard if you have no Korean friends or have limited money. However, many of the platforms on this list can give you personal help at an affordable price!
  • Practice a variety of skills! Make sure to not focus all of your efforts on one particular aspect such as reading or writing. It’s too easy to get stuck memorising vocabulary every day without learning how to apply it!
  • Diversify your learning. It’s easy to lose motivation when studying is the same every day. Rather, try to diversify the ways that you learn. One day, watch some Korean shows. Another day, study grammar or speaking!

With the fantastic resources that are now easily available due to the internet, Korean is easier than ever to learn by yourself. In many cases, the websites and apps that are accessible online are better than the textbooks of the past. Heck, they’re even better than some classes! If I was to be honest – even with access to physical classes, I would still recommend some of the methods on this list as the best ways to learn Korean.

While it is entirely possible to self-study Korean, there are a few caveats that I want to point out. Firstly, for many people, it’s easier to burn out when studying by yourself at home. There’s less interaction, less varied tasks, and also less motivation. For this reason, I highly recommend that everyone studying Korean by themselves diversifies their learning as much as possible.

Secondly, when studying Korean alone, it’s easy to make mistakes and not pick up on them. For example, if you mispronounce a word you may never find out as there is no native speaker to assist you. For this reason, I recommend hiring a tutor on Italki or another website – even if just for an hour per week! They can help with your pronunciation and help with any questions you may have.

Finally, make sure to have a schedule and goals. It’s really hard to consistently study if your schedule is always changing or if you have no goals. Rather, try to find an hour or two per day that you can put aside (if possible) and set weekly and monthly goals in advance.

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If you have just decided to learn Korean it can seem overwhelming – especially if you come from a country with a different root language. Luckily, Korean is a language that starts out very easy to learn. You may not believe me at first, but Korean is a language that starts out very easy to learn and gets harder later on.

To begin learning Korean, it’s important to understand the alphabet. The Korean alphabet is called Hangul, and it’s very logical. You may have seen people who claim to have learned the alphabet (and, in turn, how to read Korean) in a matter of hours. That’s the truth! It’s very easy to pick up.

Best websites to learn Hangul

Best Website to learn Hangul for free

If you prefer books I recommend checking out the Talk to me in Korean books. They cover Hangul in a lot of detail and make it very easy to learn! When it comes to the best ways to learn Korean physically, TTMIK has my vote – their books are detailed and engaging.

Once you’ve spent a few hours learning Hangul you are ready to get started with more advanced materials! It can take a few weeks to memorise all of the letters but once you get the basics down it’s just a matter of time and practice. With that being said, you are now ready to choose some of the best ways to learn Korean from the list below to get started.

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The methods to learn Korean in this section are those that require either a one-off payment or subscription to use. While many of the platforms mentioned in this section offer free tiers, I have chosen to include them here. That is due to the fact that I believe the paid plans offer significantly more or that payment is essential to use the platform.

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Learning Focus: Reading/listening/speaking

Learning Format: Quizzes

Cost: $30 per month, $25 per month on the annual plan

Language Level: Beginner – advanced

Glossika is a language learning platform that is built entirely around AI. While this may not sound as useful as having a teacher or person building the content, it works surprisingly well. 

When you first sign up for Glossika you will get a short comprehension test. This test will help identify which level you should be placed at, and what level of Korean you currently understand. Glossika covers all levels and beginners and more advanced speakers alike can find the platform useful. 

Glossika uses repetitions (reps) to help users memorise content. 5 sentences will be introduced each round and these will be repeated 5 times, making for a total of 25 sentences per rep. 

These are spoken by a native speaker and you will consistently be hearing native Korean being spoken. After each rep, you can also record yourself saying the sentence. You can later compare your sentence to the native sentence.

Glossika keeps track of your overall memorisation of each sentence and will allow you to review content whenever you need to. While the sentences can seem a bit random at times, I’ve found that I have picked up new vocabulary and understanding by using Glossika to learn Korean online.

When paired with a strong curriculum (or other learning methods), Glossika is a very powerful tool. For that reason, it makes my list for being one of the best ways to learn Korean online.

Check out Glossika

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Learning Focus: Speaking

Learning Format: Live Audio classes and language exchange

Cost: Free/$2.99 (monthly)

Language level: Beginner – Advanced

Hilokal is totally focused on speaking. There are thousands of live audio chatrooms every day, and they are open 24/7. Some of these audio rooms are hosted by professional Hilokal teachers running free classes, and others are hosted by students or native Koreans.

It’s very easy to use. You scroll through the list of audio chatrooms which are arranged by the target language, and level. When you find one you like, tap ‘listen’ and then you’re in the audio room and you can hear the speakers practising. You can remain a listener until you’re ready to start speaking. When you want to speak you can request the host, and they can invite you to connect your mic and join the conversation.

As a listener, there is a chatbox, and live reactions. The chatbox is tailored for language learners because there are unlimited, free text translations and save features.

Students learning Korean can get pretty addicted to the app. Some students spend hours and hours on the app every day, and they become almost fluent. But don’t be intimidated, there are 100s of lessons led by Korean teachers every day that cater to beginners.

Teachers on Hilokal create lessons focused on speaking that can be searched for and saved by students. They are like PowerPoint presentations of what teachers use in class. There are 1000s of free Korean lessons on Hilokal.

The owners created Hilokal because they found there are plenty of online tools for reading, writing, and listening, but not many for speaking. Getting speaking practice is expensive because you usually need a teacher or a tutor. Hilokal aims to provide free, effective speaking practice for everyone.

Check out Hilokal

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Learning Focus: Reading/Listening/Speaking

Learning Format: Videos & Quizzes

Cost: $20 per month

Language Level: Beginner – Advanced

FleuntU is another popular platform for language learning and one that you will see mentioned many times when you search for the best platforms to learn Korean online. This platform is a paid platform and provides the majority of its teaching through videos. 

The videos cover a range of different topics and skill levels. You will find videos that discuss a range of topics in Korean and each video will have a transcription and translation. If you are someone who prefers to learn in a video format then this may be the perfect platform for you.

In saying that, FluentU mainly relies on an arrangement of translated videos to help you learn. Rather than focusing on the core concepts and grammar, they provide translated content for you to hone your skills. Therefore, this platform isn’t ideal for total beginners.

Some of the translations also don’t use a native speaker and rather use text-to-speech which can be a bit off-putting. While I didn’t find the pronunciation bad, it wasn’t as good as listening to a native speaker.

Overall, I think that FluentU is a good platform for anyone looking to learn via videos. There is a range of interesting content that has been translated and transcribed and this is one of the best ways to learn Korean while also studying another topic (for example, watching a video on animals in Korean).

Check out FleuntU


Learning Focus: Reading/speaking

Learning Format: Written articles, quizzes, videos, and forums

Cost: $35 per month, $47 per month for included coaching

Language Level: Beginner – intermediate

90 Day Korean is a name that you will hear a lot when discussing the best ways to learn Korean online. I personally have used it before and I’ve written a full review of it already.

The platform’s goal is to try and allow the user to have a 3-minute conversion (in Korean, obviously!) within 90 days. They do this by using the 80/20 method which involves teaching the user the 20% of the words that they will use 80% of the time. 

90 Day Korean has a lot of content and it is best for absolute beginners to intermediate learners. Most of the course is provided in written posts, but there are also quizzes, videos, and sometimes even webinars. 

On top of this, the platform also provides a way for users to talk to each other and practice their Korean. If you choose to subscribe to the upper-tier plan (the coaching plan) you also have access to a personal coach who can help you via an email-like chat.

90 Day Korean is a good way to learn Korean – especially if you are a beginner. The lessons can be a bit slow as there is a lot of content and it’s best for people who prefer long explanations and lots of detail when it comes to learning. 

Check out 90 Day Korean

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Learning Focus: Reading/speaking/writing

Learning Format: Listening exercises, quizzes, and speaking practice

Cost: $99.95 for lifetime access. Monthly instalments available

Language Level: Beginner – intermediate

Rocket Korean is the Korean version of the famous Rocket Languages platform. This platform provides courses for a variety of different languages and the Korean platform excels in teaching users the most important vocabulary first. This means that you will quickly pick up the most common words. However, the platform isn’t as strong for more advanced learners.

A big bonus of Rocket Korean is that you can access the platform permanently with a one-time fee. While the fee may seem a bit high, there is no subscription and long-time users will save money. There is also a monthly instalment plan available (not a subscription).

Rocket Korean is largely audio-based, and you will find yourself listening to a lot of conversations. You can then partake in these conversations by recording your computer microphone. This allows you to practice what you’ve learnt.

At the end of a section, you can then do other activities such as quizzes and memorisation techniques. This is very helpful for making sure that you’ve actually understood and will retain the information. On top of this, all of the sections are split into an easy-to-manage format.

Rocket Korean is one of the best ways to learn Korean for beginners and low-intermediate learners who are looking to either begin learning Korean or strengthen their skills. The skills taught are very applicable to daily conversation and the on-off fee is a great feature.

Check out Rocket Korean

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Learning Focus: Reading/Writing/Listening/Speaking

Learning Format: Classes, PPT/PDF content, etc

Cost: Varies depending on the course

Language Level: Beginner – advanced

Pictured above is one of the most highly rated courses on Udemy for Korean, Korean for Absolute Beginners 1.

Udemy is an online education platform that has courses on hundreds, if not thousands of different topics. Among those different topics available are languages, and among those are, of course, Korean!

Most Udemy courses function similarly to a university lecture over Zoom. That is to say, the teacher will typically present some content using a PPT or other materials as visual assistance. These courses are pre-recorded so you can choose when you study and you can also refer to material that has already been covered.

On top of the classes themselves, most Udemy courses will also have extra content. This content may come in the form of vocabulary lists, pronunciation guides, or access to private Facebook groups for practice. Udemy courses are a great way to practice a range of different Korean skills.

I do not have experience with any Udemy courses for Korean, but I have used the platform for other subjects. It’s one of my favourite ways to learn! If you are looking for the best courses make sure to check the reviews to see what other learners have to say!

Overall, if you’re someone who prefers to learn in a classroom-style environment, Udemy (and especially the Korean for Absolute Beginners course) is one of the best ways to learn Korean.

Check out Udemy

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Learning Focus: Reading/Writing

Learning Format: Quizzes

Cost: $12.99 per month

Language Level: Beginner – advanced

Duolingo is a quiz-based website and app that allows you to create sentences and learn grammar through repetition. Duolingo is one of the most well-known language learning platforms out there, and this is for good reason.

Before going any further I do want to note that I don’t think you should solely rely on Duolingo. It’s a great platform to assist a core curriculum, but Duolingo doesn’t provide the core itself. That is to say, you are better off using a more solid platform for your core learning and then supplementing your learning with Duolingo.

Duolingo is a helpful website for learning Korean because it shows the user sentences and then asks them to translate the sentence. Once you have gained enough experience (XP) you can do a level test. If you pass, you can move on to the next difficulty. 

There are a lot of different courses, ranging from those with simple verbs to adjectives and all the way to much more advanced sentences. Each of these courses is fully voice-overed and feels professionally made. 

Duolingo also has leaderboards and this adds a level of gamification to the website. While not everyone will enjoy this, it always makes me want to try harder and to get more points so that I can gain a rank!

Duolingo does have a free tier but I chose to include it under the paid options as the free plan is very limiting. You only get 4 mistakes per day, and once you make 4 mistakes you can’t use the app for the rest of the day. While I don’t recommend the free version of the platform, it’s a good way to try it before deciding if it works for you.

If you want to reinforce your learning after studying on another platform, Duolingo is one of the best ways to learn Korean. Once you’ve learnt words, you can ensure that you’ll always remember them and their usage.

Check out Duolingo

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Learning Focus: Reading/Writing/Listening

Learning Format: Classes, PPT/PDF content, quizzes, etc

Cost: $13 per month

Language Level: Beginner – advanced

TTMIK (Talk To Me In Korean) is perhaps the most famous way to learn Korean online Not only do they offer a lot of free content in the form of Youtube videos, blog articles, and more, but they also have a premium subscription with access to online classes.

The paid subscription includes access to a larger range of videos, PDFs, quizzes, comprehension and pronunciation videos, and more. If you are wondering what kind of content and quality you can expect then make sure to check out the TTMIK Youtube channel.

On top of the premium subscription, TTMIK also offers a large range of books (they are my favourite Korean language books!). However, I will discuss the books in more detail in the ‘books’ section of this article!

The content is all sorted based on level, and you can take quizzes to discover when it’s time to move on to the next level. This means that the platform is well organised and everything is taught in a coherent order.

TTMIK has the biggest range of content out of everything on this list. They make videos, podcasts, and blog articles that are all accessible for free. On top of this, they have a premium platform which is both very affordable and includes tons more content!

Check out TTMIK

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Learning Focus: Reading/Writing/Listening

Learning Format: Quizzes

Cost: $9.99 per month (approximately half this price on the annual plan)

Language Level: Beginner – low-intermediate

Mondly is another quiz-based Korean learning website and it is a great way to complement a full curriculum. Although I personally believe that Duolingo and Memrise are better for word reinforcement, I know that some people prefer the format of Mondly.

Mondly offers a free plan, but it’s very limited. Therefore, I would not recommend using the free plan at all. Rather, view Mondly as a paid platform. With that being said, the free plan is great as it allows you to test the platform before committing anything. This is especially important as you’ll likely want the annual plan due to the far more competitive pricing.

Anyone that learns better visually will find Mondly fantastic. The whole platform is very visual (at least at the beginner levels) and this makes it fun to learn. With that being said, Mondly isn’t perfect.

Firstly, I would only recommend Mondly for beginners. The curriculum didn’t feel great at more advanced levels and I feel that there are better options out there. Secondly, similar to Duolingo and Glossika, Mondly should only be used to assist a more complete curriculum.

Overall, if you are a beginner and already learning from TTMIK, Howtostudykorean, or something similar, Mondly is one of the best ways to learn Korean. It complements these websites and curriculums very well.

Check out Mondly

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Learning Focus: Reading/Writing/Listening/Speaking

Learning Format: Quizzes, listening, pronunciation

Cost: $9.99 per month (3 months minimum) or $239 for lifetime access

Language Level: Beginner – advanced

Now, I want to make it clear that I have never used Rosetta stone. When I first looked at the platform, they didn’t offer a subscription service and the lifetime access was very pricey. Luckily, they’ve reduced the prices now. Even though I haven’t used the platform, I wanted to introduce it as it’s very famous for being one of the best language learning websites.

Both the biggest criticism and biggest advantage of Rosseta Stone is that you don’t get explanations or background. This comes as a disadvantage because it can be extremely confusing at times – especially for beginners. On the other hand, it does have the benefit of providing a more genuine or authentic learning experience.

I find that by learning through platforms such as Memrise, I am always translating everything to English in my head. Rosetta Stone can help you overcome that, and being able to speak in Korean without constantly translating in your head is a massive benefit further down the line.

Rosetta Stone also has a feature called TruAccent that can be used to analyse and give feedback on your pronunciation. While it’s not as good as a lesson on Italki, some people will find the feature useful.

What makes Rosetta Stone one of the best ways to learn Korean is the curriculum. From beginner to advanced, this website has topicalised content that allows you to learn exactly what you need to know.

Check out Rosetta Stone

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In this section, I have listed some of the best ways to learn Korean for free that I have used over my years of studying Korean. While some of these platforms have paid tiers, I have chosen to include them here as I believe they offer enough to be useful in their free forms.

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Learning Focus: Reading/vocab, writing

Learning Format: Vocabulary quizzes

Cost: Free, paid plan costs $8.99 per month or $139 for lifetime access

Language Level: Beginner – advanced

Memrise is one of the best tools out there for memorisation. This platform has a variety of fun ways to study vocabulary terms in a flashcard-like fashion. Even better, nearly everything is free and there really isn’t much of a need for the paid plans!

Now, I do want to say that Memrise should not be used alone. This website is a great tool for vocabulary, but it shouldn’t be your core studying tool. Rather, it’s a good way to supplement your other learning. 

Memrise works similarly to online flashcards. You can either choose to use a custom list or to make your own. You will then do quizzes and games to remember each word and these will be repeated every few days so that you remember them far into the future.

If you use the better Memrise courses (such as the How to Study Korean course) audio files will also be provided. This means that not only can you practice your reading and writing, but you can also practice your listening. 

Since the courses are user-generated make sure to be careful what course you pick. Some may have spelling mistakes or just be incorrect. For that reason, I highly recommend staying to only the most popular courses or courses created by someone that you trust. 

Memrise is a great tool for memorisation. I have personally used it for years and it’s still one of the ways to learn Korean when it comes to remembering new grammar. I also really appreciate how easy it is to create your own custom lists!

Check out Memrise

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Learning Focus: Reading/speaking/writing

Learning Format: Written articles, quizzes, videos, books

Cost: Free

Language Level: Beginner – advanced

How to Study Korean is by far the best free resource to learn Korean on the internet. This website is incredibly detailed and has had so much work put into it that it’s amazing that it’s still free. 

While there is a store containing PDFs of the lessons, workbooks, and more, the main course is free. Totally free. I have used this website many times and I have never felt the need to purchase anything for any reason other than to support the creator’s hard work. 

How to Study Korean is broken down into units and lessons. Currently, there are just over 150 lessons (but more are being added) and they each take between 30 minutes to 1 hour. Of course, you may come across a difficult lesson that you want to spend longer on!

I really appreciate the creator’s way of teaching. Rather than following the usual method that most textbooks provide, he breaks learning Korean down into his own method. This method can seem like it jumps around a bit at times, but it all comes together and begins to make sense in due time. 

Each lesson comes with accompanying sound files spoken by a native speaker and most lessons also come with 2-4 Youtube videos. These videos allow you to practice what you learnt in the lesson and to apply your newfound knowledge!

I truly think that How to Study Korean is one of the best ways to learn Korean. On top of everything, it’s totally free! With that being said, if you do enjoy the site I highly recommend purchasing something – if not because you want it, simply as appreciation for such a great resource. 

Check out How To Study Korean

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Learning Focus: Listening/speaking

Learning Format: Videos, podcasts and quizzes

Cost: Lots of free resources, plans cost $6.90 or $15 (with a personal teacher)

Language Level: Beginner – intermediate

Korean Class 101 is a Korean learning platform that is largely based on audio platforms. That is to say, a lot of the content is video/podcast based and you will largely be practising your listening skills. Of course, if you repeat after the lessons you can also improve your speaking too!

Korean Class 101 is definitely stronger at the earlier levels and I found that it dropped off a bit once the levels reached the advanced level. Some platforms such as TTMIK switch mostly to Korean at the higher levels (the podcasts switch to mostly Korean at level 6), but Korean Class 101 stays mostly in English.

This Korean learning platform focuses a lot on listening and if this is the primary skill that you are looking to improve on then it’s a good choice. It can also help with speaking somewhat. However, I would not recommend Korean Class 101 for writing practice.

In saying that, some people will definitely appreciate Korean Class 101 and it’s one of the best ways to learn Korean for beginners especially. If you are looking to get an idea of what to expect from the platform make sure to check out Korean Class 101’s Youtube channel.

Check out Korean Class 101

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Learning Focus: Writing/Reading/Listening

Learning Format: Online Classroom with supporting content such as PDFs

Cost: Free. However, some courses may cost.

Language Level: Beginner – advanced

Coursera is another online platform that specialises in online classrooms. On Coursera, you will find a range of different university courses taught by professors from universities in South Korea. These courses are all taught by qualified professionals.

The most popular course on the platform is First Step Korean, taught by a professor from Yonsei University. This course is aimed at beginners and is a great first step for anyone wanting to learn Korean. On top of this, the course is free!

Of course, there are also other courses ideal for intermediate-level learners and more advanced learners alike. Every course will vary slightly in contents and teaching style as the teachers will differ, but all of the top-rated courses have a strong curriculum and you are sure to learn something from them.

These courses are taught in a style similar to that of an online university lecture. This means that you will be able to see the teacher lecturing and they are also likely to have supporting materials such as PPTs and PDFs. Many courses on Coursera can be attended for free, but some may have a fee if you want to take tests and receive a certificate on course completion.

If you don’t want to spend money, Coursera is probably the best way to learn Korean for free. When combined with a memorisation platform such as Memrise, you can get a fantastic experience.

Check out Coursera

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Learning Focus: Writing, Reading, Speaking, Listening

Learning Format: Videos

Cost: Free

Language Level: Beginner – advanced

Image from Talk To Me In Korean Youtube channel.

Okay, I know you probably didn’t come to this page to hear about the obvious way to learn Korean for free, YouTube. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention YouTube because it really has some of the best Korean resources out there. Even better? They’re all free!

Since we are all familiar with YouTube, I will rather focus on some of the best YouTube channels to learn Korean from rather than the platform overall. If you’re looking for some fantastic Korean language YouTube channels, I recommend these.

Best Ways to Learn Korean on Youtube:

  • Talk To Me in Korean. The most overall solid YouTube channel to learn Korean from. Everything from the absolute basics such as Hangul to advanced Korean skills can be learnt here.
  • Learn Korean with KoreanClass101.com. Another very solid channel. KoreanClass101 puts out new videos very regularly and they are often very in-depth. They also have a range of other videos including 24hr Korean live streams, study-while-sleeping videos, and more.
  • TheKoreanTutor. Although there are videos on this channel and uploads are relatively infrequent, it’s still an amazing resource for anyone looking to learn the basics of Korean. This channel mostly focuses on sentence structures and verb forms.
  • Conversational Korean. I just recently came across this Youtube channel, however, I wish I came across it earlier! What makes this channel so unique is that the man running the channel runs regular live streams in which the audience can interact!
  • How to Study Korean. While not the best channel by itself, when combined with the free resources at Howtostudykorean.com this channel becomes an amazing resource. Even better, it’s all free!

While there are a ton of other Youtube channels out there that you can learn Korean from, these are the channels that I used most often when studying. If you often use Youtube to study Korean, what’s the best way to learn Korean that you’ve found? I’d love to know in the comments!

Check out Korean channels on YouTube

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Learning Focus: Writing, Reading, Speaking, Listening

Learning Format: Chats

Cost: Free

Language Level: Beginner – advanced

Okay, I’m not going to lie – I wasn’t going to add Hello Talk to this list. However, there’s no denying that it can be one of the best ways to learn Korean. Hello Talk is essentially a chat program where you match with people to talk to. While it’s a quasi-language exchange app, it’s treated as a dating app by many. This is something you’ll want to keep in mind when using Hello Talk.

With that being said, if you can match with a Korean person using the app for the same purpose, you can a LOT on Hello Talk. When I first moved to Korea, I met a couple of friends who helped expedite my Korean learning greatly. We chatted in Korean and English, and both parties benefitted greatly. Whenever I had questions about my study, they were more than happy to help!

When first using Hello Talk, you can select the language that you are interested in. This makes ‘matching’ with Koreans very easy. Due to the ‘dating’ side of the app, I would recommend only matching with individuals of the same gender.

Hello Talk is one of the best ways to learn Korean because it provides an authentic learning environment. You will be talking to Koreans around the same age as yourself, meaning that you’ll learn a lot of slang and colloquialisms that are hard to learn elsewhere.

Check out Hello Talk

22+ Best Ways to Learn Korean (Including Best Ways to Learn Korean for Free!) 20

If you are looking for one-on-one classes with a personal teacher/tutor then these are the platforms to check out. No matter how you prefer to study, I always recommend having at least one class with a teacher every week. This will allow you to ask questions, fix your pronunciation, and more!

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Learning Focus: Speaking

Learning Format: Speaking classes via online channels

Cost: Varies by teacher 

Language Level: Beginner – advanced

Italki is a very large online language platform that matches teachers with students. Italki offers an incredible range of languages and teachers, and it offers hundreds of different Korean teachers. 

These teachers will vary in experience, methods, and price. The classes are held online, typically over some kind of VOIP software (Skype, Zoom, etc) for a predetermined amount of time (usually one-hour per lesson). 

Since there is a large range of teachers you will find people who are fully qualified to teach Korean as well as others who are just wanting to help. Each teacher will have different lesson plans and some may excel in different areas. For this reason, Italki offers a discounted rate for trial lessons.

Once you find a teacher that understands your goals and learning needs you can organise a schedule with them. Further, you can choose nearly any time to take your lesson! While each teacher will have a different schedule, there are a lot of teachers so you can certainly find a teacher to fit your schedule.

There’s no better way to learn Korean online than to speak to a native speaker. Italki is one of the best online platforms for finding language partners who understand what they are teaching and are capable. Even better, the prices for most teachers are very reasonable!

Check out Italki

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Learning Focus: Speaking

Learning Format: Speaking classes via online channels

Cost: Varies by teacher 

Language Level: Beginner – advanced

Amazing Speaker is a similar platform to Italki in that it allows you to find tutors for almost any language imaginable. There are tons of Korean tutors, and these tutors range greatly in price, experience, and learning experience. The vast range of different teaching styles makes Amazing Speaker one of the best ways to learn Korean.

When you first search for tutors, Amazing Speaker will ask you a few questions. These questions include your age, Korean level, preferred learning time, and price. Once you’ve answered the questions, the website will find a range of Korean tutors who match your preferences.

Once you’ve found some tutors that you believe will be a good fit, you can book an affordable trial lesson. These short lessons act as a short introduction, and you and the tutor can decide if the matching is good. If it is, you can plan your next lesson and get started!

Although the prices on Amazing Speaker are very reasonable (starting at about $10 per hour and increasing based on teaching experience), I recommend using Amazing Speaker only once per week. Throughout the week, study from a website such as Howtostudykorean or TTMIK. Then, save your questions to ask your tutor during your weekly session!

Check out Amazing Speaker

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Learning Focus: Speaking

Learning Format: Speaking classes via online channels

Cost: Starts at $31.50 per lesson (55 minutes). Trial lessons start at $16.

Language Level: Beginner – advanced

Sayspeaking has more premium pricing compared to platforms such as Italki but there are many benefits that come with this higher price. Primarily, you know that you are getting an experienced teacher who has taught many students before you.

While you can find experienced teachers on Italki, they are often more expensive. On the other hand, the cheaper teachers tend to be those with less experience. This is important to consider, as Sayspeaking may seem significantly more expensive initially but when you compare teachers with similar experience on both platforms the prices are quite similar.

Sayspeaking classes are, as the name would imply, focused on speaking. You will be paired with a teacher who will teach you in 55-minute sessions and the times of your choosing (provided that it fits the teacher’s schedule also). Sayspeaking recommends that you take these lessons once per week.

If you are planning to take a KIIP test (Korean Immigration & Integration Program), Sayspeaking has a dedicated lesson plan including mock exams. This is one of the few specialised programs for KIIP and is a great choice if passing the test is your goal.

Sayspeaking is a great platform if you are looking to improve your speaking skills with the assistance of qualified teachers. It’s one of the best ways to learn Korean speaking online and the reviews reflect that.

Check out Sayspeaking

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If you prefer to learn with something physical then books may be ideal for you. These books are all books that I have personally used and those which I believe are the best ways to learn Korean. I would love to hear if there are other books that you would add to this list! Comment down below if you know of some!

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Learning Focus: Reading/Writing

Learning Format: Books

Cost: Varies depending on the book

Language Level: Beginner – advanced

Not only does TTMIK (Talk To Me In Korean) offer a great range of both free and paid online resources for learning Korean but they also publish some of the best Korean learning books out there. I only recently tried some of these books for myself but I was impressed.

TTMIK has a large range of books for different skills. The most popular books are their level books (levels 1-5 which are beginner to high-intermediate levels) and their accompanying workbooks. They also offer grammar textbooks, reading books, and more. 

I’ve studied Korean from a large range of different books and I honestly believe that the TTMIK books are some of the best out there. I was able to grasp their teachings far more quickly than I was from most university textbooks and they were also written in a much more understandable way.

Since these books are based on the TTMIK curriculum they are also great to study from if you already use the website. If you use the website you can also access other resources such as recordings and more. 

If you are someone who prefers to learn from books then I believe that the TTMIK books are the best way to learn Korean. If you are curious about what the books might cover before purchasing them make sure to check out the TTMIK website and youtube channel.

Check out TTMIK books

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Learning Focus: Reading/Writing

Learning Format: Books

Cost: Varies depending on the book ($20-$30 generally)

Language Level: Beginner – advanced

Integrated Korean is the first Korean textbook that I used. It’s a book with good reviews and I have heard many good things about the series over the years. There is a massive range of books from beginner, to intermediate, advanced, and beyond. 

On top of this, there are also accompanying workbooks for some of the textbooks. While the textbooks do have work in them, the workbooks have a much larger range of examples and practices. 

When I first started studying I used the beginner 1 book and I found it to be very useful. The biggest downfall that I found is that there are no answers. That is to say, the book will ask you to write sentences for practice but you can’t find the correct answer unless you have a teacher or use another resource.

I would have appreciated having some answers at the back of the book that I could have referred to after completing the work. Without these, I couldn’t tell if what I was doing was totally correct or if there were some mistakes. If I did make mistakes, I was likely to keep making them as the book never corrected me.

With that being said, these are some good textbooks and I was able to get a good basic understanding of Korean by using Integrated Korean and Memrise (they have a Memrise list!). If you’re looking for a strong curriculum, Integrated Korean is one of the best ways to learn Korean.

Check out Integrated Korean

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Learning Focus: Reading/Writing

Learning Format: Books

Cost: Varies depending on the book 

Language Level: Beginner – advanced

Now, this is a broad category and I apologise for that. However, there are so many Korean language textbooks that have been published by Korean universities that it’s almost impossible to list them all.

Personally, I’ve used Korean textbooks from Korea University and Ehwa University. However, I have heard that the books from universities such as Yonsei and Seoul National are very good and they have been recommended to me. 

These textbooks will vary in quality and contents. As mentioned, I have tried the Korea University textbooks as well as the Ehwa University textbooks. The Ehwa books tend to be a lot more reading-focused whereas the KU books are more example-based and have lots of practice.

It is worth mentioning that some of these books can be hard to find outside of Korea. While this is frustrating, some universities such as Seoul University (not Seoul National University) and Yonsei University offer their books on Amazon

Since university textbooks are designed by Korean universities to teach their students Korean, these books tend to be great ways to learn Korean. They will have lots of examples, are easy to follow, and are generally well-made.

Check out university textbooks on Amazon

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If you can’t afford to pay for some of the more costly services on this list, or if you simply don’t want to be spending money you are in luck. There are a lot of great resources to learn Korean from that are also free. In fact, it’s actually really easy to learn Korean for free.

The only aspect that I feel free learners will truly miss out on is having a tutor/teacher that can help with specific questions and pronunciation. If you can afford to spend a bit, I highly recommend getting a teacher for 1/2 hours per week. This will prove incredibly helpful and can help support your free Korean self-study. I cover this in more detail in the section below on how to cost-effectively learn Korean.

So, if you want to learn Korean for free, what resources do you have? Luckily, some VERY good resources. Here are the best ways to learn Korean for free:

  • How To Study Korean is a totally free resource on this list that is incredibly detailed. This website includes Youtube videos that will allow you to practice too! It’s a truly fantastic resource. While there are some paid additions, they are totally unessential and separate to the core course.
  • Youtube channels such as Talk To Me in Korean (the best in my opinion), KoreanClass101, Korean Unnie (not just about language, but she has a massive range of helpful videos), Conversational Korean, and Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean. Of course, there are many other channels out there too. However, these are my preferred Youtubers.
  • For memorisation, use a platform like Memrise. Memrise works perfectly with How To Study Korean as the creator has uploaded all of his lesson words there. This memorisation app is totally free.

Study in English in Korea

While the best learning will come from one-on-one classes, these are often more expensive and not everyone can afford teachers. While platforms like Italki do offer affordable prices, I wanted to put together a list of what I have found to be the best ways to learn Korean cost-effectively:

  • How To Study Korean is a totally free resource on this list that is incredibly detailed. It’s just a great resource – there’s not much else that I need to say about it.
  • Alternatively, check out TTMIK’s subscription. This plan is very affordable and gives you access to an enormous amount of material. Keep in mind that much of what TTMIK offers is free too. They have a ton of Youtube videos and podcasts.
  • Do one/two hours per week with a teacher. The teacher can either you pointers and help you with what you’ve learnt throughout the week or can teach you something entirely different. Either way, practicing speaking is invaluable.
  • Check out the courses on Coursera, especially courses such as Yonsei University’s First Step Korean. Coursera often offers classes for free, but for access to tests, you may need to pay.
  • Finally, make the most of Memrise. This platform allows you to memorise vocabulary easily and is free. Further, How To Study Korean even has a custom list there!

Studying at University in Korea

There is realistically no way to learn a language quickly (trust me, I know!). However, there are some ways that will help you improve at a faster rate. In this section I’ve assumed that money is less of an issue. If you want to study quickly and cheaply then check out the below resources and put in as much effort as you can spare. Here are the best ways to learn Korean quickly:

  • Having a teacher is the best way to improve quickly. If the speed of your learning really matters to you then I would recommend having at least three or four classes a week with a teacher from Italki. It may even be worth considering having a few different teachers and focusing on different language elements with each.
  • Follow a platform with a strong and easy-to-follow curriculum. For this, I would recommend 90 Day Korean (for beginner – intermediate) and TTMIK (beginner-advanced)
  • Finally, make the most of a memorisation platform such as Glossika for when you need to memorise grammar or learn sentence patterns. These platforms are also great for when you are on the Subway and want to get a quick lesson in!

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I’m going to say straight away that if you want to seriously learn Korean, it won’t be easy. Studying a language takes a LOT of time and effort. It’s very hard to learn a language to an advanced level without putting in many hundreds or thousands of hours. However, many people have asked me what the easiest ways to learn Korean are.

While these methods won’t let you learn advanced Korean and are far less efficient than other methods listed, they are more fun and definitely easier. A great way to learn is to combine some of these easier learning methods with the more time-consuming methods. This will give you a lot of variety in your study and make it more interesting.

With that being said, if you are looking for the best ways to learn Korean with minimal difficulty and time, here they are:

  • Listen to Korean music regularly. While all music can work, it’s best to listen to slower music where it’s possible to make out and become familiar with each word.
  • Watch Korean dramas. Watching Korean dramas or movies (especially with subtitles) will quickly allow you to pick up commonly-used words and phrases. I learnt much of my basic Korean from watching dramas!
  • Use a memorization platform like Memrise or physical flashcards to write down words that you pick up from the Korean media that you consume.
  • Read children’s books. While it can be hard to find very easy books, there are a lot of children’s books written in Korean out there. If you can read Hangul then this method can be a lot of fun!
  • Make a Korean friend. This might sound a bit silly, but hear me out. Even if you speak in English (or another language) you are sure to pick up some Korean words and phrases simply by hanging out with Korean people.

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I have struggled with Korean for years. It’s always been one of my biggest challenges and it continues to be today. When I was young I always thought subjects like math were the hardest, but now I am quite certain languages are! Of course, some people may feel the opposite.

Regardless, I am no expert at Korean and nor have I ever claimed to be. However, I am someone that has spent years studying the language through a variety of different formats. I’ve only recently found a way to study the language that truly works for me, but I wanted to share what I’ve learnt along the way. These are the best ways to learn Korean from my experience.

I hope that this article has proven useful and that you can either get started learning Korean or continue your journey. Not only does learning a language have tons of benefits for us as people, but it will also make living and travelling in Korea infinitely easier!

Have any questions regarding learning Korean? Please feel free to comment down below! If you’re wondering what it’s like to study in South Korea I also have an article covering that.

What Are the Best Free Websites to Learn Korean?

If you are looking to learn Korean for free then I highly recommend using How To Study Korean in conjunction with a platform such as Memrise. However, if you can afford it I also recommend getting a teacher from a platform like Italki for one or two classes per week.

What Are the Best Paid Websites to Learn Korean?

If you are looking to learn Korean using a paid website then I recommend checking out 90 Day Korean or TTMIK. Both are very solid platforms with an easy-to-follow curriculum.

What Are the Best Books to Learn Korean From?

I found the best books to study Korean were (hands down) the books from Talk To Me In Korean.

What Is the Best Platform to Find Korean Tutors On?

Italki has the largest range of Korean teachers. You will find a large variety of different teaching styles, prices, and more here.

What’s the Fastest Way to Learn Korean Online?

If you want to learn Korean as fast as possible then I would recommend using a premium platform such as 90 Day Korean or TTMIK along with a tutor from a platform such as Sayspeaking.

Can I Study Korean Online?

Yes! While some people prefer to study languages through physical forms, there is no reason why you can’t study Korean online. There are tons of great platforms to assist you in learning Korean!

What Is the Best Way to Learn Korean?

The best way to learn Korean is to combine different learning methods. First, look for a solid curriculum such as TTMIK and Howtostudykorean. Secondly, add a grammar platform such as Duolingo or Memrise. Finally, hire an online tutor for weekly or fortnightly sessions. This will allow you to cover all elements of learning Korean!

2 thoughts on “22+ Best Ways to Learn Korean (Including Best Ways to Learn Korean for Free!)”

  1. Is my first comment here and just want to say thank you very much for such great content ! I found your blog not so long ago and became a fan immediately! Greetings from Montreal 🙂

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