How to Study Korean

When I made the decision to go to a Korean Language Institute after graduating high school, I knew that I had to stop my on/off Korean studies and make an enormous progress. I wanted to get into, at least, level 2 (out of 6 levels) of the Korean language course.

Self-studying isn’t that hard

There’s a huge difference between learning something at school and studying completely on your own. At school, you’re practically forced to study because there’s always someone supervising you. But when you’re self-studying, you are your own supervisor, which might make it more difficult. Nevertheless, if you keep your goals in mind and keep focused on what you’re aiming at, there’s nothing to be afraid of.

If you still think that you can’t go through the whole self-studying process alone, get yourself a Penpal. Since you’re reading this, I assume you have access to the wonderful world of the Internet. You should use this tool and, as I said, make friends on websites like Interpals or Penpalworld to practice Korean (or any other language) with.

Where to start?

Making foreign friends online is one of the first steps of learning Korean. Yet, I would recommend you learn Hangeul, the Korean alphabet, before anything else (relying on romanization will make it even harder for you to study, trust me). It will be the foundation of your Korean studies. Hangeul is actually pretty easy to learn and you’ll find instructions on various websites like LearnKoreanLanguage or HowtoStudyKorean. I even bought a book called “Korean Made Easy – Starter”.


This book contains all the information you need to learn Hangeul and even includes loads of exercises to practice your newly learned skills.”Korean Made Easy – Starter” is part of the “Korean Made Easy” series which I absolutely recommend (I will talk about the other books later on)!

I know Hangeul, what should I do now?

After learning the alphabet, it’s time to get to the real deal. Learning a language is all about balancing out your writing, speaking, listening and comprehension skills. It’s important to not just focus on one thing, but to equally study everything. Even if this might sound like a lot of hard work, it actually isn’t. All you have to do is think about it as fun.

Let’s start off with grammar. As Korean is getting more popular, more Korean grammar websites appear on the Internet. All that glitters is not gold, but here are some websites I would recommend: TalktomeinKorean , HowtoStudyKorean and KoreanClass101 . On these web pages, you’ll find almost every relevant grammar point.

If you’re like me though and you want to get a textbook, I recommend you use the “Korean Made Easy” series (as mentioned earlier). They contain lots of instructions, vocabulary, exercises and even CDs, so you can also practice your listening skills.



There’s another useful website, mainly for studying vocabulary. Quizlet provides you with lots of different games, like memory, to stimulate your self-studying process. So, if you’re sick of banging tons of grammar points into your head, why not take a break and play a game!

What else can I do to progress?

If you don’t own a Korean textbook CD, don’t worry, there are other ways to practice your listening skills! TalktoMeinKorean , for example, provides audio files and KoreanClass101 even has a whole “Korean Listening Comprehension” series on their Youtube Channel.

There’s another thing which I mentioned at the very beginning: Making Korean friends could definitely come in handy while self-studying. You can write them e-mails and even talk to them on Skype, for example. If you don’t live in Korea and you don’t know any Koreans in your area, the Internet is your friend.

If you simply have a quick grammatical question, head on over to Italki or Lang-8 , where a huge global community is willing to help you for free. They even correct whole texts! Not to mention that you can make some friends there, too.

Another quick tip

Since I’ll be attending the Korean language institute of Ewha Woman’s University as of March 2015, I adapted my study program to Ewha’s Korean books. I only bought their workbooks though, but that’s enough to find out what they think of as essential Korean skills.


I hope this post was helpful and that you will reach your goal! Just keep focused and don’t over overwork yourself! And if you need some words in Korean to get you started, check out my Korean dictionary design collection!

Till next time,




  1. Mc씨 · January 14, 2015

    I wanna live there but I have no idea how would the process be and the fees to rent a house ..

    • howskorea · January 14, 2015

      Since I’m renting an apartment here in Seoul and thus know about how to get an apartment, how much it approximately costs etc. there will be an article about it in the near future.
      But I can already tell you that renting a studio (one room) apartment here costs around 400-600 dollars a month (this also depends on the area!) The deposit fees are usually pretty high though (around 3000-5000 dollars for one room apartments, for bigger apartments they’re much higher)
      There are some cheaper options though, like boarding houses and goshiwons, where you have a room for yourself but need to share other facilities like the kitchen etc.
      The process to get an apartment is actually really simple, you just have to go to a real-estate agency in the area you want to live in, tell them what you need and they’ll show you what they have 🙂

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