What better way to kick off the summer than with a Korean study plan? While people all across the world are preparing to show off their hot new summer bodies, you can do even better by shaping your perfect summer mind!
Learning Korean is a great way to make your summer meaningful. Just think: how could would it be to listen to BTS and not need subtitles? Or understanding what your Oppa says the first time he says it?
I know what you’re thinking. We might be getting ahead of ourselves a bit. It takes time to learn a foreign language, and If you’re anything like I was, you probably feel a little hesitant. After all, learning a language is hard, and it takes time. To begin with, there are all those new words, not to mention the grammar, and you may be thinking: where do I even start?
The good news is that language learning is all about consistency, and you can learn while still enjoying all your favorite K-pop songs and Korean dramas. This means that you can make quick progress and see the results at the same time.
That’s right. You can even learn through Korean music and TV shows?
In fact, as a student at UGA, translating K-pop songs on my YouTube channel was one of the many ways I studied the language for free.
Below, I’ve constructed a completely free (seriously, 100% free) 90-day Korean study plan for the summer! At the end of the challenge, you will have learned 47 Korean grammatical structures almost 900 vocabulary words! Even better, this plan provides ways to include K-pop and K-dramas to your study regime, so you never have to feel bored!
Ready? Here’s your 90-day 2018 Korean Summer Study Plan for the Absolute Beginner.
What You’ll Need:
- Talk To Me in Korean–this website offers the most comprehensive free Korean lessons on the web. Our plan covers the first 47 lessons!
- Memrise–you can visit this website or download the free app to get access to thousands of Korean vocabulary words. The absolute best and easiest way to learn Korean vocabulary.
- Viki–Viki is one of the most popular Asian entertainment sites on the net and gives users access to a variety of Korean and Chinese dramas. Viki’s learn mode feature allows users to follow along in both English and Korean subtitles (which is more helpful than you may think!). If you’re not living in Korea, it’s important to make sure that you have as much exposure to the language as possible.
- YouTube–YouTube gives users access to thousands of Kpop songs and translations. Make sure to break up the monotony of studying and get creative. Songs are a great way to keep you interested in what you’re learning and help improve your pronunciation.
- Interpals–This free penpal website is an amazing language-learning tool. You can find friends from all over the world for free. By making a Korean friend, you can learn more about Korea, its culture, and even take the chance to practice speaking in Korean. Do remember that the site is about making friends (not finding teachers), but you can still find people who appreciate the time you are taking to become invested in their language and culture. They will definitely help you out, and the better your Korean gets, the more opportunities you will have for real communication.
What to Expect:
- You can expect 45 minutes to an hour of lessons per day. Talk To Me in Korean offers free podcasts that range anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes and offers free worksheets to go with each lesson. Studying one set of Memrise vocabulary can take up to 15 minutes–depending on your speed and accuracy. Any drama or song adds to the time (but that’s at least fun, right?).
- You can expect 1 grammar lesson and 15 vocabulary words a day. This isn’t as difficult as it sounds, and don’t worry: you’ll have plenty of time to review. If the vocabulary seems daunting, that’s okay. You might not remember them all, but you’ll still make a ton of progress and learn hundreds of words. As you review more and get more familiar with the language, the words will come naturally.
- Expect to do some writing as you practice the alphabet and the language.
- Reserve time for speaking–even if it’s home alone and in front of your bedroom mirror. Taking the time to learn pronunciation is critical in learning a new language. If you feel shy, don’t worry. We’ll include tips to get over that below.
This is the breakdown for May.
As you can see, the plan starts on May 1. This day is devoted completely to learning the Korean alphabet, Hangeul. Hangeul is an efficient and easy-to-learn alphabet, consisting of 14 consonants and 10 vowels. Though you can probably learn it in a matter of hours, it’s best to make sure that you completely familiarize yourself with the alphabet before moving on.
To start learning Hangeul, click here. Part 2 can be found here.
Tip: Make sure you practice speaking and can pronounce each sound. You don’t have to be perfect, but Korean vowels can be especially tricky.
*Optional* Start watching a drama on the first day of the month. Pick any drama you want Viki as long as it has thirty episodes or less and is available in learn mode. For the first month, watch the drama as you usually would with subtitles in your native language.
Start here for the TTMIK grammar lessons. Day 2 starts with lesson 1. Notice that TTMIK lessons are spread out over two days so you have a day to learn and a day to review the lesson. Make sure that you review the lesson even if you know it well. The lessons will be easy at first, and it will be tempting to move ahead. Of course you can, but for best results, you should stick to the plan (especially if you’re someone who easily loses motivation). This plan is designed so you don’t burn yourself out and allows you to have enough time for when lessons get more challenging.
Remember: Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Start here for Memrise lessons. Make sure to do one set a day and keep up with words you need to review. You will notice as you go along, that you will be prompted to review vocabulary from previous lessons. It’s really important that you do this so that you get the best results possible.
Tip: Memrise has a feature that awards users points for how many words they’ve studied. You also get points for reviewing words. Each lesson has a leader board where users with the top scores are recognized. You can be on there too! You can even be on the top.
Don’t forget! Listening to K-pop and other Korean music is a great way to learn the language. If you’re not doing it already, listen to at least one or two songs a day. Maybe select your favorite and try to understand its translation! Sing along and see how much you understand after the end of the three months!
Here is the daily schedule for June. By the end of June, we have hit 61 days, making us more than 2/3 of the way through with the plan.
The plan follows the same format, but keep in mind that you may need to start putting in more effort. We move to TTMIK level 2 in June, and the number of vocabulary words you will need to review will be substantially higher (This is a good thing! It means you know more words now!)
Two important things to note:
TTMIK Level 2 starts on June 19th.
You will finish the memrise set (and all 866 words) on June 26th. But don’t stop Memrise. Keep reviewing.
866 words in two months is A LOT. Don’t worry if you can’t remember them all. You’ll have the whole month of July just to review these words.
There’s a catch. For many, it may be tedious to review words that have already been studied–especially if they were studied recently. Don’t let this kill your drive. Keep persisting, and you will make great progress.
Tip: Now that you’ve watched your drama once with subtitles in your language, try watching it in learn mode! Don’t forget to listen to your music!
Here’s the final month of our 90-day Korean challenge.
As noted, Memrise is all review, and TTMIK is level 2. The challenge ends July 29th. If you stick with it, you’re guaranteed to see great results!
Tip: Now try watching your drama with only Korean subtitles. It doesn’t matter if you can’t understand most of it. See how much you’ve learned, and you’ll pick up more on the way. Just for fun, try and repeat after your favorite characters. You’ve probably learned more than you think you have.
Make sure to practice speaking every day. It’s best to find a friend to speak with, but if you’re too shy, start out practicing at home. Do this even if it makes you feel uncomfortable, as it’s better to get a handle on it early.
Don’t worry about making mistakes. It’s normal. No one expects you to sound like a Korean native. Most people are happy to help anyone who is taking the time to study their language and won’t judge you.
A good way to practice is to find an article (or something in Korean) and read it! Even if you don’t understand what it says. It will train your muscle memory. Record it and listen back for where you can improve, and speak with others. Try to speak slowly and clearly. For men, it may help to have a deeper voice.
If you’re really up for a challenge, you can try doing 1 TTMIK lesson a day for a total of 89 lessons (plus one hangeul). This will put you at the start of Level 4! This is only recommended for people with high motivation. Make sure not to burn yourself out.
You probably have a few questions about finishing the plan.
- How good am I going to be?
- What should I do next?
The answer is to make sure you have reasonable expectations. While you won’t be fluent (any program that promises fluency in this short amount of time is a scam, by the way), you will have a strong foundation and the resolve needed to continue your Korean-learning journey. You will be able to say and understand many things in Korean.
If you plan on studying Korean at university after the summer break, you will have a great head start. For example, this equates to maybe a third-semester Korean course at the University of Georgia. You will have a leg up on many others.
And remember, it’s just step one. Even if you aren’t going to study Korean at a higher level, you still have many Memrise lists and TTMIK lessons available. Don’t get so caught up in the goal that you forget to enjoy the journey. If you do, you might not ever find the motivation to get there.
Studying Korean doesn’t have to be boring and is easier than you think. All you need is a good plan. With our 90-day Korean Summer Study Plan, you have all you need to make tremendous progress in your Korean-learning journey. Every material you need is available online for free, so you never have to miss out.
By incorporating K-pop and K-dramas into your study routine, you can add a little flavor to your grind. So give it a try, and you’ll be amazed at how much you know at the end of the summer!
Feel free to contact us with any questions, comments, or concerns. Drop a comment below and let us know how your studying is going and if you would like to see study plans for more advanced learners.
Also, use the comment section below to practice and help one another study! Share some of your favorite K-pop songs and dramas so we can all learn and improve together!