Our reviewers evaluate products and services based on unbiased research. Top Consumer Reviews may earn money when you click on a link. Learn more about our process.

Rosetta Stone Review

Sunday, December 5th

2021 Korean Lesson Reviews

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.


  • $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.

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.

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.
Compare the Best Reviews

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!

The Best Reviews of Korean Lessons