Studying in Korea
25 Apr 19
A student is thinking about studying in Korea and asked me for school recommendations. Honestly, it’s more than a decade ago when I first studied there, so I had to do my own research to answer this properly. And my gauge now is their textbooks.
Full disclaimer: I learned my Korean first at Sogang University in 2002 and attended Advanced level at Kyunghee University as part of a scholarship program. Subsequently I completed my Master’s program in Korean Language and Literature at Kyunghee University.
My bias is Sogang because I think it really helps beginner learners to gain confidence in effectively conversing and sufficiently expressing themselves using Korean. And of course it being my alma mater of sorts.
If you plan to pursue academic studies in Korea in Korean language, Yonsei’s focus on writing and reading would really be beneficial. And if you are studious and a fast learner, Yonsei might be a better option for you. What I would suggest is for students to study in Sogang for the beginning levels to build strong basic communication skills and move to Yonsei for higher levels learning.
Although I have never attended Yonsei classes, looking at the feedback and their textbooks, the grammar and vocabulary covered until Yonsei Level 4 is what Sogang covers in its entire course until Level 6.
Less well-known but well-reviewed. Seemed to be a mix between Yonsei and Sogang.
Seoul National University:
Crème de la crème of Korean universities. But its Korean language program for foreigners is not as established.
Ewha Women University:
Very good textbooks. Mixed reviews for the course.
Unstructured textbooks. But my Japanese ex-classmate from Sogang loves it more than Sogang.
I found this old article in the local news website about studying in Korea. It might be informative, albeit a little outdated. As suggested in The Korea Blog post, it’s important to ask yourself questions about your learning goals before deciding on which school to go. Comprehensive reviews about the various Korean Language programs here.