Best Friend Korean Language School Review

Detailed Information

Has your hunt for the best Korean language school in Seoul led you to this page? Well good news, you are on the right track. While we cannot definitively say that the following language school is number one in the competitive business of ‘private Korean language academies’, it does come very highly recommended.

This review of Best Friend Korean Language School is part of an ongoing Asia Options series to review popular (and not so popular) Korean language schools in and around Korea. The aim is to provide you, our loyal readers, with inside knowledge and share our own two cents, so you can then go off and create your own unique study experience. If you’ve already studied at Best Friend please also feel free to let everyone know what you think by leaving an honest and genuine comment in the student review section below.

 

Introduction

When we first came across Best Friend Korean Language School we had to double check it wasn’t an early childcare center. But after checking the address we knew we were looking at a proper language school for foreign students 18-or-over. Why did we know that? Because the school’s campus is located bang-smack in the middle of the trendy college suburb of Sinchon. Sinchon is home to Yonsei University and is a hotspot for college life, centered around inexpensive chicken & beer, Korean BBQ, small drinking spots, karaoke bars, and coffee shops open until late to squeeze in last minute cramming before exam day.

The Best Friend Korean Language School is only small in size but that’s also one of its advantages as you will soon see as you read on. The school is also a great example of the new generation of small Korean language academies popping up in Seoul offering a highly customised experience and flexible program for language learners.

 

Program Schedule

From 1-week programs, flexible starting dates, and tailored one-on-one classes, Best Friend goes well beyond the established university-affiliated language programs in regards to study options. Unlike most larger study programs, which only have 2-4 intakes per year, Best Friend accepts new students at the beginning of each new month. Modules go for one month and it is then up to your own discretion whether you wish to study half the module (2 weeks), a full module (4 weeks) or multiple modules (8+ weeks). Tuition fees are calculated per week of study and naturally come down in price the longer you study.

Screen Shot 2016-02-27 at 3.26.10 PM

 

Affordability

If only enrolling for the regular 1-month language program, Best Friend will start from 480USD per month depending on special promotions, although the per month cost will be discounted with your chosen length of time at the school. This price includes 48 hours of language tuition in classes of 4-10 students. In comparison to a university language program, Best Friend’s course comes at a higher cost but you should also factor in smaller class sizes. For those looking to study Korean long term, a university program most likely offers better value. However, for those studying short-term (less than 10 weeks), Best Friend allows you to enrol in shorter courses that aren’t offered at universities. This option is also cheaper than winter and summer language programs offered at the likes of Yonsei.

 

Location

As mentioned, Best Friend is located bang smack in the middle of Sinchon in Eastern Seoul. Sinchon is famous for its lively night life and array of interesting coffee shops, bars, restaurants, and shopping. The main road from Sinchon Metro Station to the Main Gate of Yonsei University has also now been closed off to traffic and makes a great spot for young people to stroll down and admire the regular street performers and occasional skate boarders. The school is located half way up this road, which makes for great window viewing from the classrooms on the 6th floor of the building or the quiet study area on the 5th floor.

Nearby campus is a wide selection of places to eat, shop, study, and hangout. There is a top-notch gym just around the corner from the school, which even has shoes and workout clothing that you can borrow without extra charge. Latin dancing, English-Korean exchange meetups, and football games are other activities available nearby. The best way to keep up with what’s going on is to check out Meetup.com. We should also mention that while there are plenty of bars nearby, Sinchon is not a ‘clubbing’ district in the same light of Hongdae, Gangnam, or Itaewon. Instead, think wooden Korean taverns filled with college friends chatting and giggling over beer, somaek, makkgeoli, and snacks, rather than fist bumping to the DJ in a large-scale night club. But serious clubbing is also readily available one metro stop away in Hongdae, and which is an even bigger epicentre for college life! Hongdae boasts great night markets, street performances, nightclubs, and general good fun – without the glitz and expensive price tag of Gangnam.

The school is a 2-minute walk from the subway station and from there only one stop away from Hongjik Station (which connects with the Airport Express line to Incheon Airport). This makes navigating from the airport to the school relatively straightforward.

Screen Shot 2016-02-27 at 3.28.27 PM

Housing

Living in the area is on the more expensive side, especially for a single studio. Expect to get a lot less for more with average one room prices around 500,000 KRW/Month beginning at 5,000,000 KRW key money. Hasukjips and dormitories will cost less but provide fairly small rooms with communal services. Best Friend offers various arrangement services for short-term accommodation including home stay, shared apartments, and a studio apartment or goshiwon. The goshiwon option is definitely the cheaper option. Host stay is a great way to really integrate into Korean culture and practice your Korean after class but ultimately your experience is going to depend on the family you are paired with. If you’re unsure, there’s always the safe option of single accommodation at a goshiwon.

 

Reputation

‘Best Friend’ definitely doesn’t have the same prestige as the major universities in Seoul. However, students are attracted to the school not for resume building but for its rock solid Korean language program and its location. In particular, the school is well regarded by former students for its attentive admin staff, dedicated teachers, and small class sizes.

 

Atmosphere

Best Friend offer a small tight-knit community of avid Korean learners. As many students at Best Friend are studying at the center short-term and are new to Seoul, classmates often hang out after class to grab lunch or to go out on weekends together. This is also made easy by the smorgasbord of places nearby to eat and drink.

The school also provides an array of cultural activities and excursions which allow students to mingle, but there is always the opportunity to study together too. There is a nice area to study on level five overlooking the main pedestrian street in Sinchon and offers a great view of the buzz of people below.

The demographic of students at the center is a mix of all nationalities, with a high proportion of Asian students, including Chinese, Japanese, Thai, as well as strong representation from Europe and North America. You will also find plenty of local Korean students at the center studying English or revising their notes on the fifth-floor study area, providign an easy opportunity to find a Korean language partner. In addition, the program offers a buddy system for international and local students, but you will need to enrol in at least one’s month of classes to be eligible for this free benefit.

 

Opportunities

Best Friend runs an internship program for students, alongside an array of cultural activities and a buddy system as mentioned. The internship program is offered exclusively in hospitality and Asia Options is unable to directly comment on the benefits of this internship program, but if you know someone who has completed the internship program we’d love to hear what you think!

Given the central location of the school, it does offer the possibility of working nearby or in central Seoul (four stations on the subway to City Hall) and studying on weekends, night-time, or mornings. As mentioned, the location of the school also renders itself to numerous social and extra-curriculum opportunities as a major Meetup destination.

 

Asia Options Verdict

Best Friend ticks a lot of boxes and from our personal experience and research, it’s our top pick among private academies in the Sinchon area.

The school lives up to its name with its friendly staff and community but the school’s location is as good as it gets. You have everything you need on your doorstep, including Meetups, hangout spots, and easy access to Sinchon Station, Hongdae, and Incheon Airport. The school’s excellent bespoke service desk will help you in many facets of life in Korea – from finding you a language partner, arranging accommodation, cultural activities, and even an internship.

We also think that if you are not looking for academic credit, then a private school like this offers a better return on investment for short-term study. Private academies offer a lot more flexibility to suit your schedule than large universities, and Best Friend is no exception.

Although pretty readily available,  accommodation nearby can err on the expensive side. If you’re thinking of staying long-term (more than 6 months) then we’d suggest you look into organizing your own accommodation on a website like Goshipages to save yourself some money.

 

What Students Say... 5 Leave your rating
You pay what you get
I studied there for two months during Summer 2017. They followed the book called GaNaDa; the book is a bit weird, poorly explained. As an English and Chinese Speaker, both versions were not explained very clearly or accurately compared to other books I've seen. That is fine because they will go through it in class so hopefully, you will understand it, so they have powerpoints and scanned exercise sheet to do in class. Also, you get a homework book too. By the way, the textbook and homework book = NOT included in the tuition fee.

I spoke to the people working there, it seems like because of the popularity with Chinese students, a lot of the staff/teachers can talk in Chinese, so if you're a Chinese speaker, then you will be fine. I remember trying to converse with the teacher in English during a lesson and another staff when I tried to buy the textbook, but it seems like they cannot interact very well in English, so they will reply to you in Korean which can be a good and bad thing.

The diversity of the class is quite mixed, perhaps 20-30% are Chinese/Japanese students. I also met people from India, Switzerland, Japan, Chinese and Canada.

Location wise is fantastic, just come out of the building, Taco is in front of you, Burger King on your right-hand side, many convenience shops, cosmetic and clothing shops etc. Best friend is situated in the centre of Sinchon, so you have everything.

The tuition fee is much cheaper. Duration is much more flexible, I think they offer less than one month course (2 weeks), but I don't see what is the point of studying there if you are going to do it for less than a month.

Overall, if you want to learn some Korean, very basic Korean in a less intense environment compared to University, to ensure it is affordable, i.e. cheap and flexible, i.e. short duration then this is for you. So perhaps, you can see this as a taster before enrolling a long-term Korean language at Korea universities.
December 4, 2018, 4:41 pm
Affordability8
Location10
Reputation7
Opportunites5
Atmosphere7.5
1
5
Two Thumbs Up
I studied at BF in August and September of 2018. Like any other program, you're going to get out of it what you put into it. I can safely say my Korean has improved from where it was when I joined.

I did the Regular Course which consisted of four 3-hour classes every week (we had no class on Wednesdays). Everyday we learned 1-3 new grammar points and a fair amount of vocabulary. Study, study, study the vocabulary. They'll throw a ton at you but it's worth it to download a flashcard app and put in the work.

The classrooms were a bit cramped and getting in and out of your chair during breaks was a little annoying.

They have two floors: one where the admin desk is as well as study rooms and an open table to study at, and one with all the classrooms. You had to rent a study room for a small price which we never did. We didn't understand why we had to pay to rent a study room after already paying tuition.

Each month you progress to the next level and have a new teacher. I liked both of my teachers even though they had different approaches. You'll have a presentation towards the end of the month. In August we had to talk about where we were from and famous things from there. In September we had the same subject so I just reused my previous presentation but updated it with new grammar we had used that month.

Their website advertises pairing you with a language buddy but when I asked about this they said they had nobody to pair students with :/

My classmates were cool and I hung out with them fairly often outside of class.

ABSOLUTELY DO NOT BOOK LODGING THROUGH BF. I did just to have one less thing to worry about but after asking around I was grossly overpaying what others were for a very tiny living space. Look around for some housing and save some money.

Sinchon has pretty much anything you could need and it's also one stop away/15 minute walk from Hongdae so you're all set for whatever you need.
October 10, 2018, 11:27 am
Affordability9
Location10
Reputation9
Opportunites2
Atmosphere8
0
4
Location kicks add
I just finished up studying Korean at Best Friend. From my own research I can say that Best Friend is probably no different to other private academies in Seoul in terms of program options, fees and curriculum. But the reason to enrol here and not other programs is the location. As mentioned in the review, you have everything at your door step. I also wanted to give a special mention to Dok Dabang Coffee Shop. Now that I've left Seoul I don't mind giving the secret away - but this hidden spot is seriously the coolest coffee shop to study hangeul. I spent almost every night here after my second week of study when my Korean language buddy took me here (make sure you get a Korean buddy). It's located on level 8 of a non-descript building nearby. Someone else has written a good blog entry about it (see below). Miss that place so bad now that I'm back in London.

http://pheurontay.com/dok-dabang-nostalgic-study-cafe-at-sinchon/
December 20, 2016, 4:41 am
Affordability7
Location10
Reputation7
Opportunites7.5
Atmosphere8.5
0
4
Student Review
I studied at Best Friend for two weeks in early 2013 during my winter holiday while studying a degree in China. After conducting a lot of research on different language programs in Seoul I picked Best Friend because of location and flexible study dates. After narrowing down my search to Yonsei University and Best Friend - both located in the trendy and BBQ-heavy district of Sinchon - I opted for Best Friend. The Yonsei Winter Program and Best Friend offered a similar program with classes complimented by cultural activities, but I couldn't quite fit in the three week Yonsei semester into my winter break. Best Friend also proved cheaper and had smaller class sizes. So in the end it was a pretty easy decision.

I also leaned on Best Friend again in 2014 while I was interning in Seoul. I booked a homestay program for accommodation-only through Best Friend as it would have been tricky to find accommodation for just 12 weeks otherwise. I ended up swapping to a goshiwan after a week though as my homestay turned out to be way too far from work. Best Friend were really good in letting me switch accommodation types without it costing me lost money in rent.

Although I haven't studied at the school long-term, the only criticism I have was that the beginner level was quite challenging as the teacher didn't speak English during class time. I understand why - as we had a range of nationalities in the class and I know its good to get immersed in the language from the start - but I just would have preferred a little bit more English to get started with! Not sure if this is representative of all beginner classes though. I would recommend this program to friends.
December 6, 2016, 12:38 pm
Affordability8
Location9
Reputation7.5
Opportunites7
Atmosphere9
0
4
October 20, 2020, 6:56 pm
Affordability0
Location0
Reputation0
Opportunites0
Atmosphere0
-
-
Show more
Leave your rating