The Seoul Korean Language Academy (KLA) opened in 1999 and boasts a long history as a reputable private Korean language academy in Seoul. KLA has two campuses, Jongnam and Gangnam. This review assesses the pros and cons of the Gangnam campus. The Gangnam campus has approximately 300 students and an extensive number of class levels from which to choose from.
KLA’s tuition fees are moderately more expensive than university courses, in part due to their smaller class sizes. They are similarly priced to other private Korean language schools in Seoul.
Regular Conversation class
|Mon, Wed, Fri
|Tue & Thur
|Saturday Intensive Class
1 Days (3 hours)
hours / month
Regular Topik class (Elementary, Intermediate, Advanced)
|Day||Mon, Wed & Thu||Saturday|
|Study hours / month||16hours/month||12hours/month|
Regular Business Korean class
|Day||Wednesday 1 Day|
|Study hours / month||8 hours/month|
Gangnam (you may have heard of it…) has earned its reputation as one of the most exciting and upscale pockets of Seoul. There is a plethora of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, and is constantly jam packed with a mix of office workers, students, and tourists. There are also plenty of shopping opportunities with CoEx mall only a stone’s throw away The famous food street Garosugil is also nearby, as are many other attractions located in the most expensive district of Seoul.
The building itself is only a short walk from Exit 11 of the huge Gangnam Station, the academy being located on the 4th and 5th floors.
Located in the heart of Gangnam, the well-known entertainment district of Seoul, living costs come at a premium. Student living in the direct area is hard to come by and is also very costly. For example, studio apartments near Gangnam station will usually demand 10,000,000 KRW key money and around 700,000 KRW monthly rent (or more). If Gangnam is too pricey to live in then there are plenty of housing options further along metro line 2. Subway stations such as Bongchon and SNU station are a short 15-20 minute subway ride and offer much more affordable prices – check another review to find out more about the area.
KLA can provide assistance for students with housing options through third party services (or you can read up a bit on accommodation in Seoul in general here). However, most students are already working in Seoul and have existing accommodation arrangements.
KLA is known for its well-trained teachers who are very focused on sticking to the school’s curriculum, which is geared towards conversation and pragmatic results. KLA is typically not as well known as other private language academies despite its long history and is perhaps being outcompeted online by other private academies spending more money on online advertising. However, the school often attracts students through word of mouth, which is a good sign.
Many students at KLA work and reside in Korea; working for big Korean, American, European, Chinese, and Japanese companies in the area. European and American students represent approximately 40% of the student cohort, with 35% or so from Japan, 15% from China, and a smaller number from South East Asia, Mongolia, and other parts of the world. Class sizes are small with 3-9 students to a class. The atmosphere is almost the polar opposite to non-stop party of Yonsei Univesity in Sinchon, as the KLA is primarily aimed at serious learners who simply want to knuckle down and learn Korean.
KLA offers kimchi making and other cultural activities but has less extra-curriculum activities than other language programs. Unlike other private academies, KLA caters only to the foreign student market and does not co-manage an English language curriculum. There are therefore fewer opportunities for students to mingle with local Korean students or to access Korean buddy programs.
As KLA is certified with the Education Department of the Korean Government, the academy can sponsor a C3 visa (90 days) for international students but this do not allow the visa to be extended in Korea. Students can re-apply after leaving temporarily to another country.
Due to the more senior student cohort found at the school there are opportunities to network with the odd Google or Samsung employee. The school does not have a jobs board or any formal recruitment services but some companies do occasionally refer to KLA when looking for Korean speaking foreigners.
Asia Options Verdict
The KLA program is suitable to professionals and short-term visitors in Korea who want to a focused environment and a targeted and personalised approach that will rapidly improve their Korean.
KLA thus attracts a very diverse cohort of students and the choices of registration periods and class times provide some flexibility to students with other commitments.
Incidentally, there may not be the fun and games of cultural activities, buddy programs, and excursions offered by other private academies – which accordingly usually attract a younger and more transient breed of student.
Although the location by Gangnam station is superb, the area is arguably the most expensive place to live in Seoul.