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Busuu Review

Wednesday, May 29th

2024 Korean Lesson Reviews

Busuu Review 4 Star Rating


4 Star Rating
  • Free to use for basic Korean lessons
  • 7-day free trial on Premium plan (6-month and yearly billing plans only)
  • 14-day money-back guarantee on Premium plan
  • $83.40/year, $50.70/6 months, or $13.90/month for month-to-month
  • Premium plan gives you all lessons unlocked, no ads, personalized revision, faster feedback from native speakers, offline mode, and completion certificates
  • Connects you with a friendly learning community

Busuu, named after an endangered language from Cameroon, emerged from the frustration Bernhard Niesner and Adrian Hilti experienced with traditional language learning methods during their MBA studies at IE Business School in Spain. Recognizing the outdated, expensive, and time-consuming nature of existing options, they conceived Busuu as a solution to offer affordable online courses and interactions with native speakers. Launched in 2008 after their graduation, Busuu swiftly gained recognition as a leading player in language education. In January 2022, Busuu joined forces with Chegg, aligning with their shared commitment to empowering learners in their academic pursuits and beyond.

Get started for free with Complete Korean

It's free to get started with Busuu. There are three Korean courses you can choose from:

  • Complete Korean (beginner levels A1-A2)
  • Hangeul (beginner level A1) : strictly for learning to read and write in Korean
  • K-Drama (beginner level A1): learn the language through a TV program

However, only the Complete Korean course can be accessed at no cost. The other two sets of lessons will show you the first one in each series, but the rest will require a Premium plan on Busuu.

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Free option is ad-supported

But, before we get down to dollars, let's look at what you can do for free on Busuu. You'll start out with the absolute basics of introductions and saying hello. No problem. Learn to say "hello" and at the end you'll be rewarded with some stars to show your progress. Busuu gives you daily challenges, so if you like having incentives like trophies and streaks to work through lessons, this platform has you covered.

Online tracker

It also lets you know how long it'll take you to complete your studies at your current pace; for example, after the first lesson, Busuu told us it would take us 66 days to complete Beginner (A1) Korean, which would allow us to introduce ourselves, order meals, have basic conversations, and fill out forms with personal information (exactly what you might need to know to start functioning in the language on a daily basis). As you work your way through the free platform, expect to have ads at the end of every single lesson, and sometimes before you move on to the next one.

Pass a level to move forward

By the way, Busuu doesn't let you skip around content-wise: you'll have to either progress through each lesson in a chapter, or if you already feel confident in your Korean skills for a particular topic, you can jump to the chapter-end checkpoint and see if you know enough (80% or better) to move to the next one.

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Premium plan gets rid of ads and gives you more features

Once you get through that first lesson, Busuu jumps right to the subscription pitch, so we might as well too. You can keep using the free version of Busuu; just expect to have to click "not now" and "maybe later" a bunch of times. The Premium plan (with benefits like ad-free use, all lessons unlocked, spaced-repetition practice tools, personalized grammar review, completion certificates, monthly streak repair, and priority feedback from native Korean speakers) can be accessed for $13.90/month on a month-to-month plan. There's no free trial, but you can cancel at any time. If you want to take a chance on Busuu and you're willing to pay upfront for several months in advance, a 6-month plan is $50.70, and a one-year plan is $83.40. Those two tiers come with a 7-day free trial, so you can really put these Korean lessons to the test (and maybe take a peek at that K-Drama course that's Premium-only).

You won't be writing in Korean right away

The beginning lessons on Busuu are extremely basic, and we were torn between loving the fact that there were English approximations for all of the phrases (so we could wrap our heads around what we were trying to imitate) and disliking the fact that our first opportunity to produce something in Korean and send it to the community (a simple "My name is" ) used the English approximation with no opportunity to try it using the actual Korean alphabet. Busuu probably doesn't want to overwhelm anyone by jumping right into Hangeul, but it left us feeling a little... sad? But, we're glad that there are 13 chapters to work through in the A1 Beginner level of Complete Korean, even though we doubt we'd actually have that level of fluency by the time we finished.

Community connections are encouraged but optional

Because community language connections are important on Busuu, you'll be asked to befriend Korean speakers. That's so you can get corrections on your work, practice, and also help them to practice their English (by offering corrections on their assignments). That part is optional, though.

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Hundreds of thousands of five-star ratings

Busuu can also be used very easily as an app, and users on both platforms leave enthusiastic feedback for the platform as a whole. On Google Play alone, there were almost 700,000 ratings (!) at the time of this evaluation, averaging a truly impressive average of 4.7 stars. It's not quite as popular on the Apple App Store, but it still averages that 4.7 across 80,000+ reviews. Those who use it as a paid app are sometimes less enthusiastic than students who use Busuu for free, partly due to problems with automatic plan renewals (which don't come with a refund, even if it's just because you forgot to cancel prior to the renewal date). But, by and large, language students (and even some who specifically mentioned learning Korean) often say that Busuu is their favorite free-with-ads learning platform.

Stress-free Korean lessons

While Busuu can't take you to an intermediate or advanced level of fluency in Korean, it's a great way to get started as a beginner or as a student with a bit of prior experience with the language. The lessons are bite-sized and easy to understand; we never felt stressed out as we worked our way through them, unlike some of Busuu's rivals on our list. It's 100% risk-free to give it a try, and we encourage you to see if the Korean lessons at Busuu are the right fit for you.

Where Can You Get the Best Korean Lessons Online?

There are many reasons why people learn the Korean language. Maybe you're a K-drama fan eager to understand your favorite binge-worthy series without relying on subtitles. Or perhaps you're eyeing a career opportunity in South Korea and want to impress your future colleagues with your language skills. And let's not forget the thrill of traveling to Korea and being able to navigate the streets and connect with locals in their own language.

Learning Korean does come with its unique challenges compared to languages like Spanish or French. For starters, there's Hangeul, the Korean alphabet, which is surprisingly easy to pick up - but still requires some practice. Then there's the grammar, with its subject-object-verb word order and intricate honorifics system that adds layers of nuance to your speech.

The Best Korean Lessons Compare Korean Lessons Compare Korean Lesson Reviews What are the best Korean Lessons Best Korean Lesson Reviews

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.
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Continued from above...

But don't let that intimidate you. With dedication and the right resources, you'll find yourself making steady progress in no time. You'll be opening doors to a whole new world of culture, entertainment, and connections that come with being able to speak Korean fluently.

Learning Korean online gives you plenty of options to choose from, each tailored to suit different learning styles and preferences. You can dive into listening-only programs, where you focus on authentic conversations to sharpen your ear for the language. If you're into games, you might enjoy gamified platforms that turn learning Korean into a fun challenge, with points and rewards (and streaks) to keep you motivated.

Interactive courses are another great choice, offering a mix of videos, quizzes, and exercises that give you instant feedback and guidance. They're perfect if you like a structured approach to Korean that covers all the bases, from reading and writing to speaking and listening.

Or maybe you're more of a people person and thrive on interaction. In that case, tutoring platforms would be your go-to. You can connect with native speakers for real conversations and cultural exchange, making learning Korean a social experience.

Ready to get started? There are so many Korean lessons to choose from, it could feel a bit overwhelming to know which one to use. Here are some things to keep in mind as you get excited about learning and want to pick the right platform:

  • Current fluency level. Do you already speak (or read) some Korean? Or are you a newbie? No shame in that game. Make sure you choose the Korean lessons that match where you're at.
  • Method of language instruction. How are the Korean lessons delivered? Is it through an app, audio files, an internet browser on your laptop, or something else? What do you think will work best for your learning style?
  • Listening, speaking, reading, writing. Do the language lessons teach you Korean mostly through listening and speaking, through reading and writing, or a mix of all four modalities? We're all for being well-rounded language learners, and because Korean uses a different alphabet than the one you're reading right now, you can't fake your way into reading it unless you know how the letters are pronounced and combined to make syllables and words. Keep that in mind if you're using Korean lessons that are primarily audio-based.
  • Cost. What will you pay for your Korean language lessons? Is it a one-time fee or an ongoing subscription? If there's a free option, what do you get at no cost and is it worth it to upgrade?
  • Learner reviews. Pay close attention to what other Korean students say about their experience with the lesson platform. Did they experience a meaningful improvement in their fluency by using it? How long did it take to see improvements?

To help you find the right Korean lessons for your language goals and favorite way of learning, the experts at Top Consumer Reviews have tried some of today's most popular options and given you an honest take on what you can expect from each one. So what are you waiting for? Dive in and start your Korean learning journey today!

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