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Everything You Need to Know About Ulsan

Korean Language Resources

Part of living in Korea is actually learning Korean. It’s sound silly to say this but if you talk to a lot of foreigners here, many of us have only a basic grasp of the language despite (in some cases) many years of living in Korea. The problem is largely due to the lack of actual classes. Which is ironic because many of the foreigners are here to teach in language academies. At any rate, there are resources available that make it easier to pick up the language. You just have to put in the time.

**Click the title of each topic for a link and for more information**

Apps

Pretty much when you arrive or shortly thereafter, you will be able to get a smartphone.   Here are a few highly recommended apps to help you get a handle on Korean.

Duolingo – This is a great app to use either on mobile or desktop. It is a gamified language learning tool that can be used for many languages, not just Korean. It just lacks a speaking functionality.

Memrise – Similar to duolingo, this app helps learners master Korean in a gamified setting. The style is a little different but the premise is the same. The speakers have a bit more of a natural accent.

Classes

Classroom settings seem to be optimal for learning especially when taught by a native speaker. However, the issue is that not all class times can accommodate learners. However, there are a few actual classes around the city that you can take in your free time.

Free Korean Classes at the Global Center – These fill up quickly as they are only 20 spots available. There are 2 levels geared more towards beginners. They start at 6:30 pm and go until 8:20 for the last class.

Korean Classes at the University –  These course are a considerable investment and likely occur during the day. However, they are the only actual academic Korean course offered in the city.

Online Courses

There are a number of great resources available online to help you get a better handle on the Korean language. These are probably your best bet when starting out as they can work around your schedule and pace of learning. Some of these are free and some are paid courses.

Korea Times – This Korean newspaper just launched a 15 unit course that takes you from the basics to more intermediate vocabulary.

Sogang University – This is quite an old course and may not be functioning well but it covers all the bases. The course goes right up to Korean Intermediate III, so if you are looking for higher level courses, try this. Requires Adobe Flash to use.

Coursera – This offers language courses from Yonsei University, one of the best school in the country. It is a 12 hour course spread out over 5 weeks. The link takes you to the basic course to get you started.

Seoul National University – This free course is similar to Sogang, but is a 20 unit course that takes you from the basics up to basic travel phrases. It also requires Adobe Flash player you work.

90 Day Korean – This is a paid online course that is quite pricey. However it covers a wider range of topics than the free course, at first glance. However, this comes with a hefty price tag ($32 a month!) but still may be cheaper than the university course.

Talk To Me in Korean – This is one of the more popular sites around and I really enjoy their content. It is fresh and up-to-date with current speaking styles. There is a ton of free content on their site and their books and courses are great.

Book Stores

There are a few decent book stores around the city of Ulsan (mainly in Samsandong) and a few online that you can order some language materials from.

Seoul Selection – This is one of the largest Korean-centric books stores online and one of the best places to order Korean Language materials from. There are a ton of different textbooks and learning materials available here.

What The Book? – A great book store for all topics and their Korean language section is pretty good. Delivery times can vary but they are used to foreign orders so you should have no problem ordering.

Talk To Me in Korean – Not only do they have a decent course, their books are great. They are well organized and you can order them directly off their website.

Kyobo Bookstore (UpSquare in Samsandong) – They have a small section of Korean language books that has some grammar, conversation, Talk To Me In Korean, and TOPIK test materials. Other languages are also available too.

Bandi & Lundi (Lotte Young Plaza Samsandong) – They also have a smaller section of Korean language books. Fairly standard for these types of bookstores.

YP (YoungPoong) Bookstore (Hyundai Department Store Samsandong) – Their stock fluxuates quite a bit from time to time. They have on average a decent sized selection of language books covering all topics from TOPIK to general conversation.

Language Exchanges

There are several language exchanges going on around the city at different times of the week. There are a great way to meet and network with other people. They are also a really great way to meet people when you first arrive. Often you will be the only foreigner at your place of work and if going out to bars are not your thing, this may be a great option.

However, please be aware that some of these groups have had issues with harassment and other problems. Not to put you off from meeting people as many groups have taken action to get rid of members using these language exchanges for a way to hook up with foreigners. With that being said, please keep an eye out as some of these groups may not be what they appear to be.


This is just a simple guide to help you find some resources to study Korean in Ulsan. Ultimately it boils down to the effort that you are willing to put into learning the language. I would highly encourage you to get a good handle on Korean as it will make you a little more independant and better able to connect with society here.

Jason Teale is a freelance photographer based in South Korea specializing in travel, Cinemagraphs, food, and documentary photography. Available for assignments in Ulsan, Busan, Seoul, and nationwide.

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