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The Best Korean Lessons

Where Can You Get the Best Korean Lessons Online?

The language is surging in popularity: just look at the number of K-Pop songs on Spotify and the K-dramas on your favorite TV streaming services and you'll see what we mean. Spoken by 72 million people in North and South Korea plus another 3 million throughout China, Japan and the US, Korean is anything but a dead language!

However, it's not easy to find somewhere to learn it. Sure, you could try and watch a familiar movie with the audio set to Korean, use Korean subtitles, or look for a dusty textbook somewhere, but that's probably not going to help you master the language in a meaningful way. And, unless you happen to have a Korean-speaking community or a university near you, in-person lessons aren't going to be an option either.

Monday, October 18th

2021 Korean Lesson Reviews

Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award Memrise Review 5 Star Rating

Memrise

5 Star Rating
  • No cost to use basic Memrise account
  • More features available with paid Memrise Pro subscription
  • Uses video clips of native Korean speakers in authentic environments
  • Access user-created content as well as Memrise lessons
  • Many fluency levels available
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

If you want to learn Korean in the most memorable-yet-low-stress way possible, Memrise should be the first resource you consider. Available since 2010, this platform can be used as an app or on a desktop - and more than 60 million people in over 180 countries do just that!

Learning through authentic video clips

With so many language learning apps on the market today, what makes Memrise's Korean lessons special? That's a no-brainer: it's the native speaker video clips. Let's say you're starting at the very beginning of your learning journey and you're worried about mastering an entirely new alphabet. Breathe easy, because your first lesson in Memrise is Deciphering the Alphabet. While some Korean lessons show you the characters and maybe play a sound file for their pronunciation, Memrise gives you each letter in the hands of a native speaker - and in authentic settings that help you start to see the culture too. The pace isn't hard to follow, and we love how it helps us learn the written letters and their sounds in a way that feels fun and natural.

Points, progress and leaderboards - oh my!

When you finish a lesson, you'll see the points that you earned, how much time you have earned towards your daily goal (if you've set one), and how much progress you've made in the lesson. You'll also be able to peek at where you are on the Korean lesson leaderboard, if you're motivated by that sort of thing.

Free to use, but membership = more features

It's free to use Memrise for basic lessons, but if you want the most features you'll need a paid plan. For example, at the end of the Deciphering the Alphabet lesson, there are tools for practicing listening skills, learning with locals, doing a speed review or a longer classic review, or going over difficult words; your free account only lets you move on to learning new words.

Best Korean Lessons

Costs

  • Free for basic account
  • $8.99/month
  • $90/year
  • $139.99/lifetime membership

Prices may vary but they're always affordable

Memrise Pro is surprisingly affordable. It's regularly priced at $8.99/month, $90/year, or $139.99 for a lifetime membership, However, you could get it for less if you spot a Memrise promotion. We've frequently seen offers for getting the annual plan at 50% off, and we've heard that sometimes Memrise has a holiday special to get lifetime access at 50% off as well. Another solid strategy is to sign up for the free account, use it for a while, and wait to see if you get a discount offer in your email inbox. No matter which price you pay, you've got a 30-day satisfaction guarantee in the event you decide these Korean lessons aren't for you.

Endless supply of content across many levels

You'll never run out of new things to learn on Memrise. First, you've got seven levels of content to work through, starting with that alphabet lesson and going all the way through vocabulary for discussing outer space (!), phrases to make people laugh, and much more. Beyond that, Memrise allows users to create content for learners too. Want to learn Korean slang for English speakers? 2000 essential words for beginners? How about math vocabulary or other specialized terms? Memrise's Korean lessons are almost limitless, as new content is added regularly.

Best all-around Korean lessons

For most people, Memrise is the best way to learn Korean. Hear authentic accents? Check. Learn in a way that's easy to remember and isn't overwhelming? Check. Affordable? Check. Content for most fluency levels? Check. And, best of all, you won't have to break the bank for these Korean lessons. Memrise earns our first-place ranking.

italki Review 4.5 Star Rating

italki

4.5 Star Rating
  • Nearly 400 Korean tutors to choose from
  • Hourly rates range from $4 to $60+ hour
  • Trial rate on first lesson for as low as $1
  • Fantastic way to get speaking practice, along with personalized homework, grammar lessons, and other instruction

Korean can be challenging to learn, especially because most of us don't have anyone in our circle of acquaintances we can turn to for practice. That's where italki comes in. This service lets you connect with community tutors (people without credentials in language instruction) and professional teachers (those who do have them) for face-to-face Korean lessons via video.

Browse profiles of nearly 400 tutors

It's fun to browse the listings of almost 400 tutors on italki. Play the intro videos to get a glimpse of their personalities, see how well you're able to understand them in English, and decide if they might be a good match for you. You can click the little heart next to their names to keep a list of favorites. While there are some filters you can use at the top of the page, such as other languages they speak or whether they're a professional teacher or community tutor, we never found them to be very useful. We'd love to see italki add a filter for ratings, completed lessons, or teacher's time working on italki - but for now, you'll have to figure that out on your own.

Teachers and tutors with lots of experience

While there are a lot of tutors on italki who are brand-new or have just a few dozen completed lessons, there are several that have been around for a long time and have over 1000 successful student sessions in their ratings. For example, Unju is a professional teacher we found with 14+ years of language teaching experience in both the US and Korea - and nearly 5,000 completed lessons on italki alone!

Costs

  • From $4/hour to $60+/hour
  • Discounted rates on your first lesson

Profiles offer great perspective on each instructor

When you click on a tutor profile, you can get plenty of information about how they teach Korean, their background, and what types of lessons they can provide. Going back to our example of Unju, she gives a trial lesson for $10, Survival/Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced Korean classes in 50-minute sessions for $22, and she even offers Korean for Young Learners (grades K-5). You can see how many lessons Unju has taught in each category; not surprisingly, her most popular ones are the Beginner classes with more than 2,700 completed lessons.

Easy-peasy online scheduling for your time zone

Scheduling is extremely easy. Helpfully, italki uses the time it detects on your computer and automatically adjusts to show you lessons in your own time zone. Just click on the calendar of any tutors you're considering and immediately see their availability. When you find an opening that works for your timeframe, you can book it online in just a few clicks. Going back to our new friend Unju's calendar, we were able to get a lesson with her the next day, and there were more than 30 open time slots in the upcoming week.

Best Korean Lessons

Thousands of five-star reviews

italki gets lots of praise, both for the company itself and for individual tutors. You'll have a hard time finding anyone here with less than a 5-star average. It's fun - and reassuring - to read through student reviews of teachers and see just how effective and comfortable it can be to take Korean lessons live with a one-on-one instructor.

One-on-one lessons aren't for everyone

And yet, if you feel overly embarrassed when you make mistakes or feel some social anxiety working directly with another person, learning Korean through italki might make you feel uneasy. It's definitely a personalized way to learn, but could be a little much for some students - even with the kindest, most encouraging tutors on the planet.

You'll need a good internet connection + some privacy

The only other reason italki might not work for everyone is the need to have a reliable, fast internet connection, in a setting that allows for speaking freely. These aren't Korean lessons you can study discreetly while commuting to work or in a hushed library!

Best Korean lessons for conversational fluency

Beyond those two small downsides, italki gets one of our highest recommendations for helping people learn Korean. Most platforms can teach you how to read, write, and maybe even recognize the language, but they have a hard time getting students to a near-native fluency level when speaking. Unless you happen to live in a community with lots of Korean-speaking people who are willing to talk with you, there's no better way to get your verbal language skills up to speed than italki.

Rocket Languages Review 4.5 Star Rating

Rocket Languages

4.5 Star Rating
  • Free guest access
  • One-time cost of $149.95 (or $99.95 with promotional discount) for lifetime access
  • Can also pay in six monthly installments ($27/month, or $19/month with promotional discount)
  • Four modules with 12-14 lessons in each one
  • Each module includes four interactive audio lessons, four to six language and culture lessons (which also include grammar), and four to six writing lessons (to learn the Korean alphabet)
  • 60-day money-back guarantee

Companies like Pentel and Deloitte have long partnered with Rocket Languages to help employees get skilled up in Spanish, Hindi, Portuguese and more. Many individuals, from homeschoolers to aspiring polyglots, have also used this language platform to get fun and effective beginning Korean lessons.

Try out a lesson with a free guest account

There's no risk to try Rocket Korean. If you give them your email address, they'll give you a free guest account to try out a lesson. Or, if you just want to get current information on their courses and pricing, browse the site for a while and you should get a pop-up with a link to that page.

Learn reading/writing/listening/speaking in cultural context

These Korean lessons are excellent for students who are just starting to learn the language. Rocket takes a holistic approach to teaching: you won't just get repetitive exercises or endless dialogues to listen to. In the four teaching modules included in Rocket Korean, there are always interactive audio lessons, plenty of grammar and writing exercises, and insightful cultural lessons to help you understand the language in context. Your learning is reinforced with activities at the end of each lesson, like flashcards, multiple choice quizzes, and voice recognition exercises. Unlike some Rocket languages, Korean comes with an "Extra Testing" section that lets you try out your knowledge of characters that you've learned, perhaps in your studies outside of the Rocket platform.

Best Korean Lessons

Costs

  • Free guest account
  • One-time fee of $149.95 ($99.95 with promo pricing) OR
  • $27/month for 6 months ($19/month with promo pricing)

One-time fee, no subscription necessary

Rocket Korean doesn't require an expensive month-to-month subscription to access the lessons. Instead, you'll either pay a one-time fee of $149.95 or six installments of $27. This lets you use the platform forever: you're not rushed to get through the lessons in any particular timeframe, and there's no pressure to "get the most out of your membership" . Sometimes Rocket Korean goes on sale, and you might get lifetime access for $99.95 or $19/month on the installment plan. Either way, it's a much more affordable way to learn Korean than taking a college class!

No updated content or lessons for more advanced students

There are only two downsides to using Rocket to learn Korean. First, it's a fixed-content course: it's never updated to reflect current events, pop culture, or anything else. That's not a huge disadvantage, but some Korean lessons refresh their content regularly, even weekly. Also, for anyone beyond a beginner level of fluency, there's not much here to challenge them. Rocket Korean finishes up with the alphabet and pronouns, prepositions and positive/negative statements - no advanced grammar here.

Excellent Korean lessons for beginners

Overall, Rocket Korean is an excellent option for anyone new to studying the language. We appreciate that the platform uses the English transliteration alongside the Korean words to help with comprehension and pronunciation, and that all four modalities are used (not just speaking or reading). It's also a terrific choice for anyone that wants to avoid month-to-month membership pricing. While we can't recommend it for students who already have some experience, Rocket is a winner for beginning Korean lessons.

Korean Class 101 Review 4 Star Rating

Korean Class 101

4 Star Rating
  • Five levels of Korean instruction, from Absolute Beginner to Advanced
  • Several paid plans to choose from
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Content refreshes weekly
  • 7-day free trial of Premium features
  • Get one-on-one help from professional teachers with Premium Plus membership

Korean Class 101 is part of the Innovative Language Learning family. You'll find many options for language studies there, usually under the Pod 101 label: if you've taken Spanish Pod 101, Russian Pod 101, or any of the other "pods" , you'll be very familiar with the structure of this program. But, if you're brand-new to the platform, don't worry. We'll tell you everything you need to know to decide if it offers the right Korean lessons for you.

A little heavy on the sales pitches

But first, a heads up: Korean Class 101 feels very sales pitch-y at first. You can sign up for free lifetime access, but you'll have to provide your email address and confirm it to get access. As you do that, you'll be hit various times with "limited-time offers" and "$1 to get all of these perks" . Take advantage or don't, but it's completely okay to skip past all of that and just see what Korean Class 101 is all about. At the time we created our no-cost account, it came with a 7-day trial of Premium features (more on those later).

5 levels of difficulty to choose from

You'll be asked to self-assign your current level of Korean knowledge, from Absolute Beginner to Advanced. There are brief descriptions of what you might be able to do at each level: Absolute Beginner would be "just starting out, but might be able to introduce yourself" , while Intermediate students already "understand the three levels of politeness, connect clauses, and know particles" . You can always adjust your level if you get started and find that the one you picked is too easy or too difficult.

Don't get overwhelmed by the pretest

From there, you'll be taken to your Korean Class 101 dashboard. Assuming you chose Absolute Beginner as your level, you'll see that your first lesson is the Level 1 Korean: Diagnostic. Just click on the blue Study button to begin. Be prepared to spend a little time, because it's a pretest with 32 questions! To be truthful, we're not sure why they do a diagnostic like this for someone who has said they're an absolute beginner: it's all full sentences in Korean, asking you to fill in a blank of what comes next, and we couldn't do anything but select "I'm not sure" .

Well-rounded Korean lessons

The next lesson populates automatically to your dashboard. Most lessons follow a pattern of Audio Lesson (don't miss the big Play button/triangle in the big box at the top of the page), Dialogue (can be viewed in Korean only, with Romanization, in English, or all three), Vocabulary from the dialogue that you can listen to and record yourself (then compare the two on your own: there's no speech recognition here), and Lesson Notes that may include cultural insights, grammar, and so on.

Best Korean Lessons

So much to learn here

We could say a lot about the content on Korean Class 101 - because there's a ton of Korean lessons to choose from! Not only do you have hundreds of lessons with all of the learning pathways, but there are also audio and video lessons on your dashboard that you can use whenever you want. We really liked the video "All About Korean Names" : it's a great tool for understanding how to write and pronounce them, and it gives you some advice for choosing your own Korean name.

Costs

  • Free access to thousands of lessons
  • Basic membership: plans range from $8/month to $96 for two years
  • Premium membership: plans range from $25/month to $240 for two years
  • Premium+ membership: plans range from $47/month to $549 for two years

Subscribe to Premium Plus for 1:1 help

Frankly, there's almost too much to choose from: it's nice that Korean Class 101 lets you follow the pathway they suggest or add your own, but if you have a hard time staying focused you could wind up in the weeds here. One way around that is to choose the top subscription level, the Premium Plus. It's a little spendy at $47/month (or discounted when you pay for up to two years in advance), but it gets you assigned to your very own Korean teacher. She or he will personalize your learning plan, give you specific assignments and feedback on them when you're finished, and keep an eye on your written and spoken fluency in Korean.

Two lower-cost plans available

There are two less-expensive plans at Korean Class 101. The Basic level gives you full access to all of the Korean lessons they offer (because your free account only provides limited lessons and features); you'll pay $5/month. For $25/month, the Premium package opens up all of the features you'll likely discover during your one-week trial, like lesson quizzes and spaced repetition flashcards, audio dialogue transcripts, and much more.

Generous satisfaction guarantee

All of Korean Class 101's paid memberships are backed by a 60-day money-back guarantee. That's a lot more generous than many of their competitors, and it's plenty of time to try out the Korean lessons and see how you like them.

Good Korean lessons for most students

Korean Class 101 is a fantastic, if sometimes overwhelming, resource for learners at all levels of Korean fluency. It's not easy to find a platform that has lessons for total newbies to more advanced students, but this one definitely does. We could live without the sales pitches, but it's a great service once you get past that.

Mondly Review 3.5 Star Rating

Mondly

3.5 Star Rating
  • App-based Korean lessons
  • Uses games, contests and leaderboards to keep you motivated
  • Can practice conversations with Chatbot and Augmented Reality
  • Has voice recognition for practicing your Korean accent

Let's be real: not everyone wants to sit down with pencil, paper and a textbook to learn Korean. In today's crazy-busy world, most people need something they can pull out when they have a few minutes and get a quick lesson in - and maybe with some points and leaderboards to keep them motivated to do it on a daily basis. Mondly does all of that very well.

Theme-based vocabulary

It's free to create an account and get access to the intro lesson for any of the 40+ languages offered here. And, don't be scared when it asks you to set your knowledge level as beginner, intermediate or advanced: most of the content is geared towards new learners (or letting more experienced students brush up on vocabulary they may have learned before). While your free account will only let you work through the intro lesson "Hello" , you can still see the topics that will be available if you subscribe. These include Family, Seasons & Weather, Pets, Travel, and much more. Each topic typically has around 120 new words and 30 phrases, though some go well beyond that (e.g. Preparing a Trip has 220 words and 88 phrases!).

Natural way to start recognizing words and phrases

Let's assume you're brand-new to studying Korean. What can you expect as you start using Mondly with the "Hello" lesson? It begins slowly, giving you pictures to match with a word: "hello" , "sister" , "good morning" , etc. You'll never feel like Mondly is trying to trip you up or catch you off-guard, because each activity moves gently upwards in difficulty without needing to make random guesses. By the end of the first lesson, you should be able to recognize "This is my mother" and "Good night" among other phrases, but you won't be asked to figure out how to type it yet!

Toggle the switch

Best of all, there's a toggle switch up at the top of the page that lets you go from transliteration (the English alphabet approximation of how the Korean words are pronounced) to Korean whenever you want. For us personally, it was easier to start with the default set to as transliteration; as we got more comfortable, we'd go through the exercises in both settings to start wrapping our head around the Korean alphabet.

Not very much explanation of grammar

Unlike some Korean lessons, Mondly doesn't put much emphasis on grammar. You might find some explanations when you finish a lesson: look for the little blue box next to the "Redo" button. The first lesson in "Hello" provides a breakdown of how to conjugate the verb "to be" , but with no explanation to tell you how it fits with the sentences reviewed above it (like "This is my sister" ). You'll learn lots of words and phrases, but it might take a lot of work to bridge the gap from what you've memorized by repetition and being able to pull together brand-new sentences on your own.

Best Korean Lessons

Subscribe to use Chatbot and Augmented Reality features

Mondly requires a paid subscription to get full access to two of their most novel features, Chatbot and Augmented Reality. You can try one sample chatbot dialogue with your trial account: it's a useful way to start working on your Korean conversational skills. Augmented Reality takes it a step further by letting you superimpose a digital "person" over any environment you're in and use that to practice talking back and forth. It's up to you whether or not that's worth the money, but it's definitely a unique way to practice Korean.

Costs

  • $9.99/month for 1 language
  • $47.99/year for 1 language
  • $89.99 one-time payment for lifetime access to all 41 languages

Affordable - even when prices vary

How much is a membership to Mondly? We're not even kidding when we say "that depends" . Over many visits to the Mondly site, we found that prices varied from day to day (and sometimes from one hour to the next!). "Regular" pricing seems to be $9.99 for a month-to-month subscription or $47.99 for one year of Korean lessons. There's also a plan that gives you 12 months of access to all of Mondly's languages for $47.99, but that's a promotional offer (though it's one we spotted more often than not). Every so often, we've also seen a huge deal of lifetime access to every Mondly language for just $89.99. It gets a little confusing. (Add to that the fact that in some places, Mondly says full access includes 41 languages, but in other places it only says 33.)

You can't get a refund

Mondly could be more competitive with other language learning platforms by offering a satisfaction guarantee. They don't let you get a refund under any circumstances. If you're on a month-to-month plan you can cancel your account for future billing cycles, but anyone who pays for a full year or a lifetime plan has no way to get their money back. That's a good reason to try a free account before committing to a membership, and maybe paying for a month-to-month plan instead of a full year or lifetime access.

Solid, fun way to take Korean lessons

If you're a student that feels motivated by leaderboards and likes the idea of an app that can deliver bite-sized lessons on a regular basis, Mondly isn't a bad place to start learning Korean. We wish they had a refund policy and that they gave a little more access to features and content with a free plan. On the whole, though, Mondly isn't overly expensive even without that, and many people enjoy the game-like approach to practicing a new language.

Rosetta Stone Review 3 Star Rating

Rosetta Stone

3 Star Rating
  • Free trial for three days
  • Teaches Korean through immersion
  • Voice recognition tool helps you practice your accent
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Rosetta Stone is a big name in language learning. The program used to be delivered via CD-ROMs that you could buy from kiosks at the mall and other places, but the cost was often prohibitive. Not anymore! You can easily access Rosetta Stone's Korean lessons online for less than $15/month, or pay under $300 for lifetime access to all of the languages in their course offerings. There's a 30-day money-back guarantee on any paid plan.

Costs

  • $35.97 for 3 months of Korean lessons
  • $95.88 for 12 months of Korean lessons
  • $299 ($179 with promo pricing) for lifetime access to all languages

Korean taught through immersion - no English

This company is best known for their immersive approach to language instruction. What does that mean? Picture what it would be like to learn Korean by being dropped off in the middle of Seoul: sink or swim! While Rosetta Stone isn't quite that drastic, they do jump right in with everything in Korean and no English to help you along. In theory, that sounds like a great idea and a solid way to learn intuitively - but with a language like Korean that uses a very different alphabet, it gets frustrating pretty quickly.

3-day free trial

One plus is that Rosetta Stone offers a free trial for three days. It's not the first thing you'll see on the main page, where you're taken immediately to subscription options when you select Korean as your target language. Instead, scroll down towards the bottom of the site where it asks for your email address. Choose Korean in the dropdown and enter an email (notice we said "an" email: if you'd like to try it out under the radar, you can make one up instead of giving your actual email address).

Set up your profile carefully

To begin, you'll need to specify your current fluency level in Korean. Rosetta Stone doesn't go much further than the basics, so if you have any familiarity with Korean already, it might be wise to choose the advanced setting to see if the content will be challenging enough for you. Next, indicate why you're learning it: you'll get lessons that revolve around travel, family, or general topics depending on what you select here. Finally, you'll set your speaking profile as an adult male, adult female, or child, enabling Rosetta Stone's voice recognition software to track you accordingly.

Best Korean Lessons

Overwhelming for beginners

Take a deep breath, because the easy part is over. At the beginner level, the first lesson starts out with images paired with words in Korean: girl, boy, juice, tea, water, eats, drinks, etc. You'll need to listen very carefully to match the sounds you hear with the pictures and the written words, and also to mimic the sounds into the microphone. Unlike many Korean lessons, Rosetta Stone doesn't give you the "Romanization" : the way the pronunciation might be approximated using the English alphabet, like "Annyeonghaseyo" for "hello" . If you're like us, you'll find yourself confused a lot of the time, and wondering how the sounds you're making correspond to the unfamiliar characters on the screen.

Lots of tools, but still confusing

Rosetta Stone doesn't make it obvious, but you can skip around inside of lessons and among them if you like. You'll need to go to the main dashboard for your course to do that. You can also click on "Explore All Content" to find extras like audio lessons and an alphabet tool. Unfortunately, none of those features made us feel any more reassured with the Korean lessons here. For example, we were hopeful that the Grammar section of the intro lesson would go into some detail about all of the words and phrases we'd been imitating. No such luck: it was just more pictures with words in Korean that we still didn't understand. Even the alphabet tool left us more confused: how do those characters make those sounds when put into a word? How are the letters composed when stacked on top of each other? It just never got any better, no matter where we clicked, because we were constantly asking "Why??" Supposedly that gets better over time, but the headache we got in the first lesson alone was enough to make us quit.

Good for many other languages, but not Korean

If you're learning Spanish, German, French, Italian, or any other language that shares an alphabet system with English, Rosetta Stone isn't so bad - because you can use the language you know to more easily grasp the one you're acquiring. Unfortunately, with a language like Korean (or Japanese, Russian, Arabic, and so on), the immersion-based approach is extremely challenging for beginners. We're grateful that Rosetta Stone offers a free trial that lets students see how it works ahead of time, and that their pricing has gotten much more affordable - but even those benefits aren't enough for us to recommend their Korean lessons. You'll have a much less frustrating experience if you choose one of the higher-ranked language programs in our review.

90 Day Korean Review 3 Star Rating

90 Day Korean

3 Star Rating
  • Korean lessons broken down into four 90-day modules
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Get 1 free lesson via email
  • $1 for 7-day trial access to the Inner Circle features

90 Day Korean has been around since 2013 and is well-known for offering lots of free Korean lessons online through Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and their own blog, among other places. The creative team consists of both native Korean speakers and second-language learners who all live in Korea and are passionate about helping people learn the culture and the language.

You'll pay for a one-week trial

You can get a complimentary sample lesson via email if you give 90 Day Korean your email address. When we did that, it took a little while for the email to arrive; in the meanwhile, the 90 Day Korean site went to a page with an intro video by the company's founder - which, playing all the way through it, you'll find that it's offering you access to the Inner Circle course for a weeklong trial run. However, it's not free: you'll have to enter your credit card info and pay $1. That feels a little underhanded, compared with so many Korean language programs that let you try it out at no cost. (Adding to the sort of sleazy sales-pitchy feel, on the payment page for the one-week trial there's a flashing box asking if you want to pay $69 for a "professionally-chosen Korean name based on your personality, traits, and background" . Um, what?)

Watch the video to learn more

As we browsed the site and went to click to another tab, we got a pop-up asking if we wanted to take a look inside the member's area before we left the page. Yes, of course! If you get the same opportunity, take it. You'll be able to see a video demonstrating some of the primary features of 90 Day Korean, like the Inner Circle Course, Korean Gym, My Korean Coach, and My Community Forums.

Four 90-day modules of Korean lessons

Inner Circle is the bread-and-butter of this program. It's where you'll find all of your learning activities. Even though the course is broken down into four 90-day modules, you can study the Korean lessons as quickly or as slowly as you wish.

Use community forums to ask and answer questions

My Community Forums are what the name suggests: a place to interact with other students from around the world. Need a recommendation for a good Korean drama? A recipe for kimchi? A great Spotify playlist? You can probably track all of that down and much more here.

Get a language "workout"

Korean Gym offers shorter, theme-oriented courses that should only take you a day or less to finish. Here you can get brief lessons and activities like a "workout" - maybe you want a crash course on kitchen-related vocabulary or another specific topic. Head to this section if you just have a bit of time and are looking for a quick Korean lesson.

Best Korean Lessons

Work with a coach as a VIP

Finally, there's the My Korean Coach section. This is a premium feature only included with the VIP level of membership. You'll be assigned to a native speaker coach who will grade homework assignments and give you personal support on your Korean learning journey.

Costs

  • $35/month or $239/year for Standard
  • $47/month or $327/year for VIP

Spendy membership fees

What does it cost? You'll pay $35/month for the Standard course and $47/month for the VIP level. If you choose to pay for your membership on an annual basis instead of monthly, you'll pay $239 or $327, respectively. That's a savings of $181 on the Standard plan and $237 on the VIP plan.

More transparency, please

Our biggest frustration with 90 Day Korean is how little they show prospective students about how their paid course is taught. Yes, we eventually got a PDF via email with a 90-minute alphabet lesson and it was interesting and useful. But that doesn't tell us how the lessons are delivered through the dashboard: is it interactive? Is there a speech recognition component? We read through page after page of information about 90 Day Korean but never felt like they came out and told us how the lessons actually work - unless we paid the $1 for the one-week trial.

30-day refund policy

We appreciate that 90 Day Korean has a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. That means that even if you do the $1 trial and forget to cancel it before it rolls over into the $47/month plan, you've got time to get a refund.

Needs to be more forthcoming to move up in rankings

90 Day Korean is intriguing, but that's not enough to put them ahead of their rivals who make it much easier to see what they're all about. It's also quite a bit more expensive than most Korean lessons - and the ones that are priced similarly almost always give you full access on a trial basis without making you pay a dollar for it. We think that 90 Day Korean has the potential to jump up in our rankings, but the company will need to be more forthcoming about how their lessons work in order to get there.

FluentU Review 2.5 Star Rating

FluentU

2.5 Star Rating
  • 14-day free trial
  • Membership gives you access to multiple languages Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish)
  • Korean lessons are delivered through videos
  • Can pause videos as needed to see captions, vocabulary definitions, etc.
  • Good option for more advanced Korean learners

FluentU breaks the mold when it comes to Korean lessons. Instead of teaching the language through dry grammatical exercises and out-of-context vocabulary, this program uses real-world content like TV programs, music videos and more to help you speak and understand Korean authentically.

Real-world content ideal for more advanced Korean students

Pimsleur does offer a free 30-minute audio lesson on their website. Our trial run left us feeling like we had a good understanding of a basic exchange in Korean.

Video dictionary and exercises

You also get access to a video dictionary that lets you find clips with any words you look up. Finally, there are spaced repetition exercises to practice for the personalized quizzes that are generated as you watch content on the platform - no matter whether you use the FluentU website, iOS or Android device to do so. All of those features really make a big improvement over taking a DIY approach to learning Korean by changing the audio settings or captions on your favorite shows and hoping for the best.

Credit card info required to get a free trial

FluentU offers a no-cost 14-day trial. Unfortunately, you'll have to enter your credit card information to access it. That's disappointing because so many of their rivals offer a sample lesson, free trial, or other preview with no credit card info required.

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Costs

  • $29.99/month
  • $239.99/year

A little pricey

How much does FluentU cost? It's a little more than some Korean lessons, at $239.99 for a year or $29.99 for month-to-month billing. But, that gives you access to all of the languages offered here - so if you're working on improving your Korean and brushing up your Spanish, you can do both. On the pricing page, we spotted a disclaimer that said some customers might be charged a foreign transaction fee of 1-3% when paying with a credit card, because FluentU is a Hong Kong-based company.

No refund policy here

We definitely recommend that you take full advantage of the 14-day free trial at FluentU, because there's no satisfaction guarantee. It might be wise to start out with a month-to-month plan too; that way, you're not out $239.99 if you decide to cancel and you miss the two-week cutoff date. You can always change your plan to the yearly membership, if you wind up loving FluentU and plan on using it for a long time.

Good but not great

FluentU gets a "just average" rating. While we love the idea of having constantly-refreshed, real-world Korean content, it's a big turn-off being required to enter credit card information - to a company in Hong Kong - in order to see first-hand how the videos and tools work. It's also not the kind of Korean lessons that are going to be suitable for beginners who will need more explanation and direct instruction. If you've already gained some fluency in Korean, FluentU could be worth the risk of signing up for the free trial, but we'd advise you to pay very close attention to the calendar in case you want to cancel before the 14-day period ends.

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Continued from above...

Lucky for you, there are lots of ways to get effective, affordable Korean lessons online. It doesn't matter if you're learning the language for travel, business, or just for fun: you'll have no shortage of options to get the type of instruction that's right for you. Do you want an app that can be used for bite-sized lessons on the go? Video clips with native speakers? Live lessons with your own private tutor? All of the above? You guessed it: there are Korean lessons that deliver in all of those ways.

How can you tell which Korean language program is your best fit? While some of that depends on you - how much time you have to study, your learning goals, your budget, and so on - there are several factors that you should look for as you decide which service to choose for Korean lessons:

  • Sample Lessons. The best way to know is to "try before you buy" . Many Korean lesson platforms give you a sample lesson, either on their main page or through some kind of (limited) access to their program. You may want to steer clear of companies that require you to pay for trial access.
  • Type of Instruction. The days of learning from a used textbook and dry lectures are over. Today's Korean lessons are delivered in many ways, from animations and slideshows to live video calls with instructors who can help you with conversational skills. Think about your preferred way(s) of learning and choose Korean lessons that match.
  • Value. While you can use many services for free, you'll often get the most out of their platforms with a paid subscription or one-time cost. If you're considering a membership, what features will you be able to access? How much content is offered? Will you be able to continue to use the Korean lessons as you progress through different levels of fluency?
  • Refund Policy. Once you've paid for your Korean lessons, are you able to get your money back? Some companies give you 30-60 days to really put their program to the test, while others offer no satisfaction guarantee whatsoever. If you really like a provider that doesn't have a refund policy, you may want to choose a month-to-month plan first instead of paying for an annual subscription.

To help you in your language studies, TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the top options for Korean lessons today. We're confident that you'll have all of the information you need to find the right program for you!

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Korean Lesson FAQ

Over 75 million people speak Korean across the globe. That includes nearly 50 million in South Korea and 25 million in North Korea, plus significant Korean-speaking communities in China, the US, and Japan.
Yes. The dialect used in Seoul is the one you'll hear and read most commonly. North Korea has its own dialect, which is heavily influenced by the Russian language.
Korean is ranked as one of the most challenging languages for English speakers to learn, according to the Foreign Service Institute within the State Department. (Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese are the only other languages with that level of difficulty!) Of course, any language is within reach if you put in the work!
Begin with studying the Hangul alphabet: just 14 consonants and 10 vowels, many of which have similar sounds in English. Next, get a feel for basic grammar and some commonly-used phrases - and be aware that basic word order in Korean sentences follows a subject-object-verb pattern (unlike English's subject-verb-object structure). And, of course, feel free to enjoy K-pop, K-dramas and any other entertainment that will help you pick up on the language naturally!
You may have a hard time finding any other way to study Korean! Unless you live near a large university, you probably won't have the option of attending in-person classes. That's okay: studying online gives you access to lessons that fit your schedule and for much less than you'd spend for a semester or two at a college. There's no need to ask a teacher to repeat a phrase so you can catch the pronunciation: just hit "replay" and listen as many times as you want!
There are a couple ways you can use your computer to write in Hangul (the Korean alphabet). The easiest is probably to enable a Korean keyboard; the steps differ by operating system, so search based on whether you're using a Mac or PC. Otherwise, there are online Korean keyboards that don't require you to change your computer settings.
Not at all. You can choose among many different language programs, some of which offer monthly subscriptions and others that give you an entire course as a one-time purchase. You could pay as little as $17/month for a membership or $150 for a complete Level 1 package.
Sometimes. Depending on which language platform you choose, you might get a satisfaction guarantee of up to 60 days or the ability to cancel your subscription without penalty. Many Korean language lessons have a free trial or sample lessons, and we encourage you to make full use of those before committing to a program. That's the easiest way to determine if the Korean lessons are presented in a manner that will be a good fit for your preferences and learning style.
The Best Reviews of Korean Lessons