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Should you take a Korean language class?

If you’re interested in studying Korean you’re not alone. One of the questions you might have though, is whether you should take a Korean language class or not.

Taking a Korean language class has a lot of advantages

The growing interest in the Korean language

Learning the Korean language has become more and more popular in recent years. These days, so many people listen to K-Pop and watch K-dramas. It’s no surprise that at least some of them decide they want to study it.

Understanding Korean can make song lyrics more meaningful. It’s also amazing to be able to watch a show or movie without relying on subtitles.

It is undoubtedly difficult to learn since it’s so different from English, and it may intimidate you. The alphabet doesn’t look recognizable. The sentence structure is opposite to what you know.

But at the same time the Korean language is beautiful. It’s very much worth the effort that it takes.

And I can tell you from personal experience that the more you learn, the more you will WANT to keep learning.

There are three main ways to study Korean:

  1. Take a Korean language class
  2. Hire a tutor
  3. Self-study

I’ll address tutoring and self-study in a later post. For now let’s take a look at why you may want to consider the first option.

Advantages to taking a Korean Language class:

  • Structured learning
  • Guidance
  • Interactive in nature
  • Accountability
  • Motivation
  • Cultural insight

Main advantages of taking a Korean language class

A classroom environment comes with built-in structure

Not everyone loves taking classes versus studying one on one with a tutor. However there are definite perks to the classroom – in-person or virtual – route. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons you should definitely consider taking a Korean language class!

Structured Learning

I’m a firm believer in following your interests. However, there’s definitely a lot to be said for a structured learning environment. This is especially true at a beginner level.

Taking a Korean language class either in person or online is a great way to make sure you don’t miss any steps in the learning process. Classes offer you a curriculum that you follow step by step to help you reach your fluency goals.

Often the curriculum builds on itself so that everything you are learning makes sense. After all it can be very difficult to grasp idioms or mimetic sounds if you still haven’t even learned how to conjugate in the past tense!

While there is no single, universal curriculum, you’ll find that many language classes progress in similar ways. This makes it easy if you need to change from one school to another.

These days you’ll also find a lot of classes that teach real-life, valuable vocabulary. Duolingo doesn’t have the best reputation for learning Korean. Part of that is that there isn’t much use in learning to say “the baby fox’s cucumber milk is cold.”

In my current intermediate level class, we just learned different ways to discuss being stressed. We learned vocabulary for the things that cause stress, how it makes us feel, and how to deal with it.

I don’t know about you, but being able to talk about stress feels very relevant to my life!

Time-saving Guidance

When you’re knee-deep in a new language it is easy to get overwhelmed. On the other hand, a qualified teacher can offer guidance when you’re not sure of a complicated grammar concept.

With the growing popularity of the Korean language, you can find a lot of great explanations of grammatical points online. However, a teacher can give you real-time explanations. They can also tailor examples to you.

If you take a Korean language class you can ask your teacher for help right away

For example, maybe you don’t understand how to express that you are doing two things at one time. If your teacher knows you love Korean dramas and coffee, they can give you a very specific sample sentence that makes sense for what you want to express.

저는 커피를 마시면서 한국 드라마를 봐요. – I watch Korean dramas while drinking coffee.

Not only is it using vocabulary that you would want to know, your teacher can help you understand how the 면서 grammar point works. Having a teacher guide you through this will often help you learn the concept faster than looking up multiple resources online.

Interactive in nature

Self-studying is a great tool. I definitely self-study as well. It’s honestly hard NOT to, because I’m always looking up how to express something or researching what a grammar point means after I hear it in use.

At the same time, self-studying Korean can be a very lonely venture. You miss out on asking questions. You have no one to practice with.

How will you know if you are saying something correctly without feedback?

A Korean language class is interactive. Not only do you have a teacher to interact with, you have a group of students just like you to practice with.

A Korean teacher will be able to ask you questions, making you work your learning muscles to form answers. I’ve had a variety of highly interactive activities in the classes I’ve taken.

For example, one teacher had us regularly prepare a one-minute speech on a specific topic (self-introduction, hobbies, favorites, etc). Then she would ask us follow-up questions about our speech.

You get a lot of interaction in a Korean language class

Another teacher would give us five minutes at the beginning of class to prepare a few sentences about a theme. We’d each take our turn and the teacher would extend the conversation.

This type of interaction is invaluable. You get real-time practice. You also get feedback and corrections.

Interaction is one of the main things missing from self-study.

One on one tutoring definitely gives you interaction and feedback as well. However a class includes the other students. Even hearing feedback for someone else can help you with your own learning.


You may be really good at holding yourself accountable. Many of us are not.

Having a class to attend on a weekly (or daily!) basis can push you to show up regularly to pursue your learning goals.

I might say to myself, “this evening I’m going to study Korean!” At the time I probably have the best of intentions. But then I get tempted into watching a show or movie and my learning is pushed aside.

On the other hand, I never miss a class. It keeps me accountable and I show up week after week. I would only ever miss it if I was really sick or had a power outage!

In some classes you might have homework as well. This is another great way to stay accountable because you have an assignment to submit. It will keep you moving forward and practicing what you’ve learned.


Accountability aside, a Korean language class can be very motivational. Sometimes it’s hard to measure your own progress. However, having a curriculum to follow can show you exactly how far you’ve come.

When I was in my final beginner level class, I had to submit an end-of-semester video project using at least ten grammar points that I learned. I actually listed all the grammar we had covered on a piece of paper first and it was amazing to see how many things I learned in just 15 weeks.

It can be very motivational to surround yourself with learners

Teachers themselves can motivate you by supporting you as you learn. And your classmates can help motivate you by cheering you on. In ever class I’ve taken, we’ve always applauded and encouraged each other as we work through tough grammar points.

And in each level I’ve made friends that stay with me after class is over. We continue to motivate each other long after the semester is finished. We never would have met without the class.

I definitely enjoy self-studying Korean, but my language class has always been a huge source of accountability and motivation for me.

Genuine Cultural insight

Language learning doesn’t happen in a vacuum. I truly believe you can’t learn Korean without learning the culture that goes with it. This is true in every language, in my opinion.

However, Korean in particular really needs you to know the cultural backgrounds to properly grasp the language. The Korean language uses honorifics and it’s so much more logical when you combine it with cultural knowledge.

You can certainly learn as you go by researching, but a teacher will give you personal and genuine cultural insight. I have learned so many things about South Korea just from listening to my teachers offer explanations or examples.

Learn Korean culture while in the classroom

In every Korean language class I’ve attended (and there have been many!) we don’t just learn vocabulary and grammar even though those are obviously important. We talk about Korean food, film, television, music, trends, fashion, skincare, and military service.

(Read more about whether it’s more important to learn Korean vocabulary or grammar here!)

Can you learn the basics of the language without cultural insight?

Well, I suppose.

But I promise you that your experience of learning the Korean language will be so much richer if you learn the culture too.

Where to find a Korean language class

There are several options for taking a Korean language class.

These days I take Korean classes through the Korean Cultural Center of Canada. Check to see if the KCC in your country offers courses. They’re very cost-friendly and the teachers are amazing.

I’ve really enjoyed learning there. It’s all done online so I don’t have to live in Ottawa and don’t even have to leave my house.

I’ve done online classes in a few different places. The ones I’ve taken through the KCC have honestly been my favorite! Because they are affiliated with the South Korean government you’re sure to get experienced teachers and great learning content.


I love virtual learning so I take a Korean language class online

You could also contact the Korean embassy in your country and inquire if they offer classes. Even if they don’t, they might be able to recommend a few good places.

If you have universities in your area that offer Asian Studies programs, you may be able to find Korean language classes there as well. Even if you aren’t enrolling in the full program, they may have an option for you to take specific classes. This will likely be an in-person experience.

Look around your area by Googling “Korean Language Class + your city” (or even your country), to find options that will work best for you.

The advantages are clear

Taking a Korean language class is a unique challenge with a lot of rewards. Even if you decide you prefer to self-study or take occasional one-on-one tutoring, you can definitely still benefit from a class environment.

In a later blog post I’ll go over some of the advantages of self-studying the Korean language, as well as going the one-on-one tutor route.

What do you think? Will you try a Korean language class soon?


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