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All The Ways You Can Learn To Speak Korean In The Philippines

From the ones that cost up to $249 to the one that are virtually free!
PHOTO: istockphoto

Let’s say your oppa only interacts with fans who know how to speak Korean on Instagram because he’s not fluent in English. Let’s say you’re traveling to Korea or you’re seriously considering studying or working there. Let’s say you just want to develop a skill that’ll make you understand what your favorite K-drama characters are saying without relying on English subtitles.

Obviously, you gotta learn the language. Korean is very different from English and Tagalog, which is why it’s quite difficult to master. But with the right learning avenue, you can definitely write and speak the language eventually.


If you’re serious about learning, here are some ways you can explore depending on your budget:

Rosetta Stone

Rates: 

  • Online: $79 (three-month subscription) to $249 (24-month subscription); 30-day money back guarantee
  • Download or CD-ROM: $124 to $199

Overview: Rosetta Stone is “the only language platform that helps you improve pronunciation and build confidence through speech-recognition software and native tutors.” With the hefty investment it requires, it guarantees to make you fluent in the language you want to learn. For more than two decades, it’s been trusted by millions worldwide, and among its clients are educational institutions, corporations, NASA, and the US State Department.

Korean Cultural Center (KCC) in the Philippines

Location: 2F Mancor Corporate Center, 32nd St., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City

Contact: (02) 555-1711

Rates: P2,000 to P3,000 (inclusive of books and certificates)

Number of sessions/classes and duration: 72 total class hours, one to three sessions per week (two to three hours per session)

Class size: Up to 25 students

Overview: KCC offers basic, intermediate, and advanced language classes. You could also learn the language and get a certificate here if you’re taking the TOPIK* or applying for a spouse visa. Slots get filled very quickly, so you have to be online right away during their sign-up dates.

*FYI, TOPIK (Test of Proficiency in Korean) is the objective measure of the fluency of non-native speakers and Koreans abroad. Each test will cost you P500 (may be higher in the coming years). If you’re considering migrating, it’s best to invest in learning the language.


UP Department of Linguistics

Location: Room 1325, Palma Hall, University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City

Contact: (02) 981-8500 loc. 2128 

Rates: P3,500 (inclusive of learning materials and certificate of completion)

Number of sessions/classes and duration: 15 sessions, twice a week (three hours per session for 10 sessions or two hours per session for 15 sessions; total of 30 hours)

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Class size: Up to 20 students

Overview: The UP Department of Linguistics offers Asian Languages Extramural Classes. The fee is fairly affordable, and the location is accessible to many, but the small class size makes it hard to get in. Recently, they also offered free classes to “enthusiastic learners.” 

Ateneo Center for Asian Studies

Location: Ricardo and Dr Rosita Leong Hall, Ateneo de Manila University

Contact: (02) 4-2660 / acas.soss@ateneo.edu / facebook.com/ateneocas

Rates: P5,000 (P2,500 if you’re part of the Ateneo community, aka faculty, administrative staff, professionals, students, and alumni)

Number of sessions/classes and duration: 10 sessions (every Saturday)

Class size: Up to 20 students

Overview: The Ateneo Center for Asian Studies also offers a Korean language program in the university setting. The similarly small limited class size makes it difficult to get in, so you have to watch out for their registration dates.


Language Schools

1. Korean Language Culture (KLC) Training Center

Location: U904 Parc House II Condo. 21 EDSA Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati City

Contact: (02) 882-1602 / 0917-750-3777 

Rates: P7,800 per enrollee (including a free official textbook and POEA-prescribed manuals)

Number of sessions/classes and duration: 80 hours for the basic class and 60 hours for the advanced levels, weekday or weekend classes can be arranged

Class size: 30 to 35 students

Overview: The TESDA-accredited and POEA-recognized institution mainly caters to those who will work or relocate to Korea. The fee is quite expensive, but you get intensive training and legit learning materials. The school is also known for their updated learning materials and high TOPIK passing rates.

2. enLi (Every Nation Language Institute)

Contact: (02) 801-3016 / 0916-283-0830 / 0928-751-0075

Rates: On-going promo rates start at P3,000 (30-hour crash course for travelers) and P5,000 (60-hour basic course)

Number of sessions/classes and duration: Mondays to Saturdays, depending on the student’s availability

Overview: Here’s another reputable language school with several locations nationwide. They also give free introduction classes and orientations where they give discounted rates to their full courses.

3. Learn Korean PH (Pasig)

Location: 2nd floor Bramante Plaza Renaissance Tower, Meralco Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City

Contactlearnkoreanph@gmail.com

Rates: P500 (inclusive of books)

Number of sessions/classes and duration: 10 to 12 two-hour sessions, held every Saturday

Class size: More than 20 students

Overview: Hanmaun Vision Church, an organization run by missionaries, offers this very affordable short course on Korean. It won’t really get you TOPIK-ready, but it’s a great start if you’re one of the lucky few who get those precious slots.

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Note: There are also many other language schools in Metro Manila and in provincial locations like Cebu, Bulacan, Dagupan, Batangas, Baguio, etc. Look for TESDA-accredited or POEA-recognized schools to get your money’s worth.


One-on-One Tutors

1. Korean Language Tutorial (QC)

Rates: P200 per hour for one-on-one tutors

Number of sessions/classes and duration: two hours (required minimum hours for meet-ups), duration depends on your skill level and needs

Overview: Aside from tutorials, they also provide translation services should you need them and some pointers for review on their Facebook page.

2. UnivesityTutor.com

Rate: Varies

Number of sessions/classes and duration: Varies

Overview: The website connects tutors with students, and the fees are set by the former. The schedule and place of tutorial can also be customized. You can check the background of the tutors and contact them online.

Online Tutors (Video Chat)

Rates: $12.5 to $135 per hour (30-minute trial lessons are also available at $6 per hour)

Number of sessions/classes and duration: one to 10 lessons

Overview: Verbling Video connects you to professional teachers (from novices to more experienced tutors) around the globe. As you search for a tutor, you can browse their resumes, pick your schedule, and read reviews.


Online Platforms (Websites, Facebook Pages, YouTube Channels, and Apps)

Below are the other free avenues you can try to learn basic Korean words, phrases, or sentences. Your learning depends on your discipline to finish the videos or reading materials and the time you invest in learning. You may not be fluent since no one will really measure your progress, but you will get the basics.

1. Talk to Me in Korean

Rates: Free lessons! (Textbooks and workbooks can be bought from $6.99 to $28 or all books at $324)

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/talktomeinkorean

2. KoreanClass101.com

Rates: Free

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsgBUobNGksxIKTagZayKEw

3. Chuutalk Korean Class

Rates: Free

4. Go! Billy Korean

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/GoBillyKorean

5. Highly Rated Google PlayStore and Apple Apps:

Note: Language exchange apps (wherein you chat with native speakers) can help in practicing, too. But based on experience, it’s not that effective because not all users initiate conversations or reply actively.

Other: TESDA

TESDA’s National Language Skills Institute used to offer free Korean language classes according to some blogs, but according to their website, it isn’t part of their free programs anymore. However, you can get in touch with their team or stay tuned to their website for updates. They do have accredited language schools that offer 80- to 100-hour lessons for a fee.

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Email address: lsi@tesda.gov.ph

Disclaimer: The rates published may be subject to change. 

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