Full disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. ?
Learning Korean doesn’t have to empty your pockets. But it can be tricky to find the right resources that work for you on a budget.
There are countless resources online that teach you Korean. The only problem is how do you know which are good quality, without wasting hours weeding through them?
The good news is that I’ve put this post together just so you won’t have to waste your study time researching resources. While doing my Korean language project, I had the chance to find and test many of them and the result is this list of Korean learning tools that won’t cost you a single 원 won.
So, let’s take a look at these free online Korean language classes and resources.
Free Online Audio & Podcasts to Help You Learn Korean
Listen to Korean audio in either bite-sized podcasts, as sound-bites, or even dive straight into native-speaking radio stations.
Here’s where to start with Korean language audio:
- KoreanClass101: The Innovative Language podcasts, including KoreanClass101, are free to sign up for and have an impressive amount of content available at a variety of levels.
- Talk to Me In Korean: The Talk to Me In Korean podcast has free lessons and entertaining video shows that teach colloquial phrases and words. They even have episodes that feature popular K-drama expressions so that you can really get into your favourite series.
- TuneIn North Korea or South Korea: You can listen to radio from either North or South Korea on TuneIn. Test out a few stations, see what catches your attention and enjoy.
- Forvo: If you come across a new word, especially with Korean that has rules related to changes in pronunciation, Forvo is a great place to listen to words spoken by a native speaker. It has a large database and is a good reference for pronunciation.
YouTube: Free Video Korean Lessons
YouTube is an excellent place to find free Korean language classes and resources. The following channels give you hours of Korean lessons in an engaging medium. Plus, video has the added benefits of letting you see facial expressions, body language and other non-verbal aspects of the Korean language.
- KoreanClass101: In addition to their free podcast lessons, KoreanClass101 also has an excellent YouTube channel with hours of free content.
- TalktoMeInKorean: Talk to Me In Korean also has a YouTube channel with loads of free videos.
- Easy Languages: I love the Easy Languages channel because it offers you a lot of local culture and context. In the Easy Language series, the hosts go out into the streets of Korea and interview the people they meet there. It’s a great way to hear the way people really speak the language, pick up useful conversational language, and practise your listening comprehension.
- Seemile: You may have seen one of the viral videos from this channel. It’s the one where a teacher poorly pronounces the phrase “Please give me coke” in order to teach students how to ask for Coca-Cola in Korean. This aside, this channel offers short grammar lessons that are really helpful.
- Sweet and Tasty TV: This YouTube channel features a little bit of everything. From vlogs that showcase trips to the Korean market to short but sweet Korean lessons, Sweet and Tasty TV is a great way to learn about Korean culture and the Korean language.
- Weekly Korean: This channel is great for Korean language learners because it’s presented from the perspective of a fellow learner rather than that of a native speaker. The host, Margarita, went through the process of learning Korean so she’s able to offer an angle on learning the language that’s different from some of the other channels out there.
- Learn Korean with Go! Billy Korean: Go! Billy Korean is another channel with Korean lessons taught by a fellow learner. He uses everything from games to travel to teach the language.
- Conversational Korean: Conversational Korean has several lessons that range from dialogs to conversational phrases to grammar lessons. The majority of the lessons are three minutes or less, so they’re great when you’re pressed for time.
Free Online Korean Courses and Systems
If you’re interested in guided lessons, there is an exceptional selection of free online Korean courses and systems available. Here are just a few websites that offer online Korean lessons at no cost:
- How to Study Korean: This was one of my go-to resources for Korean grammar questions when I was learning Korean and it is one of the best free resources I found for the language. It is essentially a free digital course book with incredibly thorough lessons.
- Learn Korean on Coursera: The online learning portal Coursera has a free Korean language course from Yonsei University called First Step Korean. It has several free video lessons taught by one of their university instructors.
- Dom + Hyo: Dom + Hyo are illustrators who use their design talents to create beautiful infographics that teach the Korean language and give their subscribers fun facts about Korean culture.
- Learn with Oliver: Learn with Oliver is an online flashcard tool that allows you to learn words or phrases with several ways to test yourself on the content. I personally love their email newsletters and look forward to seeing them in my inbox every day.
- Learn Langs: This free Korean course for beginners was created by Judith Meyer.
Free Korean Language Apps
Apps are an outstanding way to learn a new language. Especially for those who don’t have the time to sit down and study or who like to study on the go.
- Eggbun: Eggbun is available for both iOS and Android. It is based on the freemium model, so only a limited set of lessons are available for free. It was how I finally learnt to type in Korean and I picked up quite a few useful Korean words using their system.
- Pop Popping Korean: Pop Popping Korean is an app that teaches you how to read Hangeul through interactive games. It is free for Android and iOS.
- TenguGo Hangul: TenguGo has apps for a variety of languages, but its Korean Alphabet and Vocabulary apps are popular amongst Korean language learners. They are free for Android and iOS.
- S-TOPIK: For those interested in taking the TOPIK exam or for using it as a frame of reference, the S-TOPIK app is a great choice. It’s free for Android and iOS.
- Dongsa: If you’re struggling with Korean grammar, Dongsa is an app that can help you with conjugation. It is only available on Android devices.
- Memrise or Anki: Anki(for iOS, for Android, and for everyone else) and Memrise are flashcard systems that you can use to create your own Korean vocabulary decks or download those already created by other users. The desktop version of Anki is free as are both the app and browser versions of Memrise.
Free Online Korean Language Resources for Advanced Korean Learners
Watch Korean Vloggers on YouTube
If you’re looking for native and relevant material for your Korean language learning, YouTubers are a great source. Korean vloggers cover everything from comedy to beauty to food, so you’re sure to find a YouTube personality who covers a topic that you’re interested in.
Here are a few of my favourites:
- Goteng: Goteng is a comedy blogger with a variety of videos and skits on his channel. The videos are in Korean, but you can watch them with English subtitles.
- 데이브 The World of Dave: Dave is another comedy blogger who shares videos in Korean as a non-native speaker. Many of his videos are culture-related, so it’s a great source for those of you interested in learning more about the language and Korean culture.
- The World of Erina: I discovered The World of Erina through The World of Dave. She is a Japanese vlogger who posts videos in Korean. She even teaches Japanese to Korean speakers so her channel is great if you’re interested in language laddering.
- 신별 ShinByul: If you’re a foodie, ShinByul is the perfect channel for you. In her videos, she tries out different Korean foods and snacks and comments on them.
- WhitneyBae: WhitneyBae is another Korean learner who vlogs in the language. Her videos are self-defined as ‘goofy’ and she often talks about what it’s like to live in Korea as a foreigner.
- 영국남자 Korean Englishman: Korean Englishman is a pair of Englishmen, Josh and Ollie, who make videos in Korean and English. Their videos are often comedic in nature and always entertaining.
- GabieKook: GabieKook is a travel and food vlogger who shares delicious and visually appealing recipes in Korean with English subtitles. I love the narrative of her videos – they’re more like stories than plain recipe videos.
- Stimboy: Stimboy is a popular Korean vlogger who is really varied in the content he puts out. He does a lot of product reviews and mukbang videos.
- HeoPop: HeoPop is a comedy vlogger from South Korea. His videos are available in Korean with English subtitles.
Free Korean Language Reading Materials
Korean uses its own unique writing system so reading practice is an important part of your learning journey. Finding material appropriate for your level in the language can be a challenge. Thankfully, there’s a decent selection of Korean reading resources available to you as a learner online for free.
- Wikipedia: Use Wikipedia to read short articles in Korean. You can switch back to your native language to check your comprehension.
- Lingq: Lingq is a popular online learning system that helps you acquire new vocabulary through its reading interface. It is only free in part – you need to help other learners in order to earn points to use the system for free.
- Korean Comics: Korean Comics is a webcomic created by a Korean language learner to provide a way for them to practise writing in Korean. The site also has a vocabulary section so that other Korean learners can view translations of the words used in each episode.
What Free Online Korean Classes and Resources Do You Use?
It’s incredible how many excellent resources are available to learn Korean at no cost online. Though I’ve featured 35 places you can learn Korean for free, I’m sure there are many more. Is there anything you feel that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments!
Want More? Check out Benny's favourite Korean Resources.
And finally... One of the best ways to learn a new language is with podcasts. Read more about how to use podcasts to learn a language.