Private Korean Language Schools:
You’re sitting in your favorite cafe, when all of the sudden, the most beautiful girl you’ve ever seen comes and sits down at a nearby table. You resist going over to talk to her. After all, how could you? You don’t speak Korean. On your way to the subway, you walk past a crowded restaurant. You inhale a deliciously-smelling waft of air. You wish you could walk in and eat something, but the sign on the front isn’t in English and you have no idea what you would order. You don’t speak Korean. You decide to go to McDonalds instead, and reach into your wallet to pay with your card – it’s gone. After realizing you left it in the café, you run back and try explaining your story to the cashier, but all he says: “Oh, sorry, no English!” And you don’t speak Korean.
Do you see a pattern here? Many foreigners do, but even after living in Korea for several months, (or even years), they never consider how much easier life would be if they tried learning the local language. Whether you’re tired of letting your soul mate get away, or just bored of saying “Big-uh Mac-uh Meal juseyo” every day, learning Korean can truly enrich your experience abroad.
There are several options you can choose from based on your personal schedule and budget. University-based language programs are intensive, slightly more expensive, and often require a full-time commitment. Language exchanges (where two native speakers of two different languages meet to practice their speaking skills), while certainly a great social opportunity, can often be too informal – failing to produce any noticeable results.
Private language academies, however, offer a good balance between university Korean programs and language exchanges. Most have the option of learning in the morning or afternoon. Saturday classes are also widely offered, but they are more expensive. Nearly all language schools offer customized tutoring for groups of two to three or individuals, as well as private one-on-one sessions that follow the same curriculum as the regular group classes. Both of these are great options for those with busy schedules, as times (and sometimes even location) can be chosen by the student. However, they are understandably more expensive, with costs ranging from 40,000KRW to 80,000KRW per one hour session depending on the school.
Tuition and Registration
Registration for group classes is done on a monthly basis. Students must pay a lump sum in advance for their classes. For example, if a student wants to take a monthly Saturday class, they must pay the tuition of 140,000KRW at the time of registration (which works out to 35,000KRW per class). The tuition fees below have been divided into rates per-class to make for an easier comparison. Classes taken on a more frequent basis are cheaper than classes that are only once or twice per week.
Also important to note is the style of learning each different textbook offers. The “Ganada Korean for Foreigners” textbook series focuses on grammar and vocabulary memorization, while the Sogang University-sponsored textbooks use more of a practical style of learning that focuses mainly on speaking. Some institutes create their own custom textbooks for classroom use. Nearly all institutes supplement textbook learning with printed handouts.
Private Korean Language School Directory
YBM Korean Language Institute
Seoul Korean Academy
Metro Korean Academy
Korean Language Institute: Ganada
Central Language Institute
Easy Korean Academy
Best Friend: Korean Language & Culture Centre
KLIFF: Korean Language Institute for Foreigners
Language Teaching Resource Center (LRTC)
Gabrielle interned as a Content Creator for Work'n'Play during her exchange trip to Chung-Ang University in 2012-2013. She graduated from Vancouver Island University in May 2014 with her BA in Global Studies. She is now a Master's student at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs in Ottawa, Canada. The things she misses most about her year in Korea are: going for makgeolli + jeon with friends, exploring Seoul's new and old hidden treasures and getting to practice Korean every day. You can connect with her on Twitter at @MsGabrielle or email her at email@example.com.