About Learning Korean
Korean Language Training
A variety of universities, private language institutes and volunteer service organizations as well as private tutors offer foreign residents and visitors the opportunity to learn the Korean language. The Korean Proficiency Test (KPT) is the most common test used to determine the language skills of foreign speakers of Korean. Some organizations also offer free Korean classes. You can also participate in group or individual language exchange programmes. Scroll down to link with free Korean language classes and language exchange opportunities.
Private Lessons are also available either through a language institute or from private tutors.Some companies with famous brand names may not provide a program that is equal in quality to what you may be used to in your home country. It is always a good idea to visit the school that is providing the private lessons and see how a class is taught by their instructors. While you’re there look at their teaching materials and see if you can find out what the attrition rate is in various classes. Some expat recommended programmes appear in K4E's Directory of Expat Recommended Services/ Businesses.
Korean teachers have a tendency to teach a lot of structure and grammar and to rely on students to memorize a lot of material (similarly to how they are taught English). If you are looking for ‘Survival Korean’ that will help you get around, communicate basic instructions, go shopping and have a pizza delivered to your house, make that clear up front and ask about their ‘curriculum’.
Learning on your own is also possible – how effective it will be depends on your learning-style – and there are my books and learning aids available in bookstores all over the city. Some have been written by native English-speakers who have become fluent speakers of Korea. It’s worth checking these out since the authors know, at least theoretically, what you’re going through. You'll also find that there are numerous blogs and websites dedicated to helping you learn Korean. Scroll to link with the K4E list of books and websites/blogs that you may find useful.
Here are some language-learning tips that may help you whether you're taking a class or learning Korean on your own:
- Practice speaking every chance you get - make the chances if necessary. Practice is especially necessary for learning Korean if you don't have a similar language base because nothing is familiar. If you're English speaking and learning French, there are words/sounds you can hook on to in order to remember - but not Korean. Practice (and repetition) really does make perfect in language learning so wherever you are create opportunities or take advantage of them to speak Korean: at the supermarket, in restaurant, with colleagues/staff, with taxi drivers, etc.
- To hone your listening and comprehension skills listen to Korean dramas (not those with subtitles though because you're more likely to read the text rather than listen) in partnership with a friend. If your friend is not with you, write up some of what you understand and then share it. Listening to the news in Korean is an excellent way of practicing listening as well. TV shows you've seen in English that are dubbed in Korean are another option.
- TV and radio shows that teach English to Koreans are another useful way of improving your listening skills and improving your Korean vocabulary.
- If you're a beginner, you can practice reading wherever you are. Billboards, store or traffic signs, flyers, store receipts, labels can all be turned into learning tools. As your skills improve, read the advertisements that are delivered to your mailbox or stuck on your door; pick up the free newspapers you find next to or in the subway stations. Even if you don't understand everything (or even anything) your reading skills will improve and at the same time, you will be acquiring more vocabulary.
- Carrying a notebook where you can jot down words you've seen and want to look or remember is helpful. There are also electronic dictionaries that allow you to save words. Always having something small on your like a notebook or electronic dictionary means you can practice/memorize anyplace, anytime - on the bus/subway, waiting in a restaurant, while you eat, etc.
K4E Editor: Korea4Expats.com tries to ensure that the information we provide is accurate and complete, so should you notice any errors or omissions in the content above please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Updated on 2015-06-08
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