Funny enough, I have seen people with Topik 6 struggling to form simple sentences while speaking. Obviously, since the Topik exam does not include a speaking test, people don’t necessarily need to learn Korean speaking to get a high level. This is a loophole in the Topik system. Nevertheless, it is extremely important to practice Korean speaking if you hope to remain in Korea.
The Struggle to Practice Korean Speaking
The Topik books only cover 3 skills: reading, listening, and writing. Then how can you improve your speaking? Well first, you need to master basic vocabulary and basic grammar, and then you will have enough resources to practice Korean speaking. There are 5 ways for you to practice Korean speaking.
Making Native Korean Friends
This is a very fun way to learn Korean speaking. You can get used to casual conversation in Korean and your friend can help you when you make mistakes.
This also helps you achieve that natural Korean expression and Korean pronunciation. But, this method does not always work since it can be reversed. Often Korean friends also want to learn English from you. But in the end, you and your friends can help each other to get better at another language. How fun is that?!
Making friends in Korea can be hard. If you need some tips, Click Here!
Join a Community Language Center in Your City
In Daejeon, there are this free Korean classes for foreigners conducted by the international center for foreigners.
The teacher and students in the class all speak to each other in Korean. You can make new foreign friends in Korean and have a discussion with your teacher in Korean. The teachers in this center are usually very nice and helpful. They have many years of experience teaching foreigners in Korean, your Korean lessons will be very interesting and easy to understand.
Besides classes conducted by the foreigner center, you can also take KIIP class, which is the social Korean program to help you in your Korean life here. It is all free, all you need to do is to spend time learning the language.
Listen to Podcasts
Not all podcasts will be equally effective. However, podcasts where the target audience is Korean learners are very effective.
Those podcasts will be purposely made slower and easier vocabulary together with clear voices for you to listen to. A few podcasts I recommend are Iyaki from Talk to me in Korean, or Bibimchat from Talk to me in Korean. Moreover, if you subscribe to Talk to me in Korean, you can get access to their scripts. You can listen and learn new words from the scripts.
A very effective way to practice Korean speaking is to use the shadow technique and repeat what they say in the podcast. This way can help you be more confident in Korean conversation. It also helps you to get into that feeling of speaking Korean.
Watch Korean Media
Unless you are advanced in Korean, I would recommend Kid’s TV shows for starters. They tend to use easier vocabulary here and also the kids speak fairly slowly. For the kids’ TV shows, you can use the shadow technique to practice speaking while watching it.
The advantage of watching K-dramas, and K TV shows, is that you get to watch your favorite show/drama and at the same time as improving your speaking skills. You can kill two birds with one stone.
Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes
Since you live in Korea, your daily life also somewhat requires you to speak Korean. This time, don’t be afraid to speak. The majority of us are scared of Korean speaking because we don’t want to make mistakes and embarrass ourselves.
The fact is no one really cares about your tiny mistake as long as you can deliver what you want to say. And what if you don’t know how to say it? Papago and preparation should do you good in similar future situations.
Last but not least, learning to speak Korean is a long process and it requires your commitment. Having a good studying method is good but an unhinged commitment is even better.