List of Korean Language Programs & Reviews

Here at Asia Options, we have tried our best to answer a question often asked by Korean language students,

Where is the best place to learn Korean?

Making the decision to spend some time in Korea is without a doubt the best first step toward your goal of mastering this notoriously difficult language. However, the number of options available in Seoul and the lack of information about them can make choosing the right course for you quite daunting!
Since we all have different learning styles, standards for housing, reasons for learning Korean, and budgets, no one course will suit everybody.

Fortunately, the Asia Options team has done the hard work for you! We have curated a collection of Korean language program reviews with insight from our own experiences, past students, and readily available information, in order to represent each program as fairly as possible.

This page will give you a brief rundown of the Korean language programs on offer in Seoul and how each course stacks up based on several important factors that are likely to affect your decision.

If you want to read more about a specific program, just click on their link at the bottom of the page to read Asia Option’s in-depth review, as well as reviews left by other previous students.

Content and Focus

Many universities in Korea run a Korean language course for foreign students, typically structured as a certified prerequisite for prospective full-time students. These are very popular options for students from China, Japan, Mongolia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, and other countries in Asia. However, students of all backgrounds and educational aims can benefit from these programs, even if they do not intend to complete all the levels.

Due to differing textbooks, curriculum, and teaching methods, each course has somewhat established a reputation for its ‘areas of focus’ when it comes to learning Korean.  Whilst some courses really do have an academic focus, aimed at the future university student (grammar, writing, reading), others will more rapidly improve your practical command of Korean (speaking and listening). For example, Kyung Hee University is considered a top choice for those cramming for the TOPIK exam, and Sungkyunkwan University can fast-track your language learning via their 6-semester per year program.

 

Academic

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Practical

Affordability

For those studying long-term, studying at a university will usually be cheaper than studying at a private language program, whilst also making streamlining the visa application process. Tuition fees tend to be quite similar across the board, but prestigious universities will often charge a premium, meaning you can save quite a bit if you are willing to forfeit the allure of the ‘big’ names. This is true of other universities belonging to the ‘second-tier’ that we have not yet reviewed (but stay tuned!), for example; Hongik, Konkuk, HUFS, Dongguk, Sookmyung Women’s Universities.

Most universities have adopted the 6-level system from beginner to advanced which aligns with the most popular Korean proficiency test, TOPIK. Semesters at universities are usually divided into four 10-week blocks with 20 hours a week of class time, with the larger programs offering a choice between morning or afternoon classes.

Location should also figure in the equation since housing prices and living costs will need to enter your budget considerations.

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and other

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$$$

***On a per-week basis, private academies are the most expensive options, but provide a lot more flexibility in course duration and start times

 

Location and Atmosphere

(Click here for map)

Since engaging with culture is a crucial part of learning any language, location and the atmosphere on campus will influence your learning experience significantly.

Some universities are known for their proximity to Seoul’s youth hotspots (e.g. Yonsei, Ehwa, Sogang) and resulting festive atmosphere. Other universities are relatively secluded, so are usually quieter and comfortable to study (e.g. Seoul National University, Korea University). Generally speaking, being around so many distractions can hinder your actual Korean studying, although this will also be a matter of self-discipline for most.

Secluded

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Central:

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Prime

Opportunities

If you are a ‘two birds one stone’ kind of person, you may be hoping that your time studying will springboard into some networking or work opportunities in Korea. Whether this be a side-job, most commonly language tuition, or even a full-time job later down the track. Some universities will facilitate these opportunities more than others through foreigner-friendly faculty, boards, and events. In addition, having a prestigious Korean university on your CV, even if it is just the language academy, can play a part in impressing potential Korean employers.

 

In-depth Reviews: Universities

In-depth Reviews: Private Academies

Academies or private language schools in Seoul are still relatively new to the scene but are shaking up the established monopoly held by the universities. Catering primarily to the short-term study market and working professionals, private academies offer a greater level of flexibility for international students with weekend classes, tailored classes, and short-term programs (even as short as one-week).

Class sizes are typically smaller than university Korean language programs, and whereas university programs are designed as a pathway to degree study, private schools have a much larger emphasis on speaking and practical Korean. Some academies also provide more academic orientated and TOPIK preparation classes as well.

Academies are usually more intimate, well-organised, and able to offer helpful support for students. Some are very study-focused, with others offering many engaging extra-curriculum activities, to create a wholesome cultural experience for visitors in Korea.

Private schools in Korea usually cannot support a long-term study visa as universities can, although it is worth checking directly because this varies between academy and a student’s home country. Per week tuition fees are generally higher and you will not have the atmosphere of a university campus.

Academies are ideally suited to short-term students or full-time professionals looking to maximise their language and cultural immersion through a tailored and organised program. There are a number of conveniently located private Korean academies in Seoul. These include:

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