If you want to master the Korean language, the most effective way is by enrolling in a university language program. There are different paces of learning offered at different universities. Find out which one suits you best.
Korea’s growing popularity is largely due to the spread of Korean music and dramas, which have their fans in many countries around the world. As a result, more and more people are starting to learn Korean. There are many methods for learning a language: self-study, with a tutor, group classes, a language program etc.
Of course, the most effective and fastest method is to completely immerse yourself in the language environment. So, those who have an opportunity to come to South Korea to enroll in a language course are the most prepared to master the language. This spring, I completed my language courses at Geumgang University. And, I want to share information about how classes at this university differ from the teaching system at most other Korean universities.
Intensive University Language Program
To begin with, I will tell you how the training courses are organized at most institutions. As a rule, almost every university has a Korean Language Institute, where anyone can enter. Admission to such courses is easier than admission to a bachelor’s or master’s degree program. This is because in the end, you will not get a degree but rather a completion certificate.
Moreover, for those who study language courses, a separate type of visa is provided (D-4). One of the features of this visa is that, in accordance with immigration rules, the maximum stay is two years.
In university language programs, one academic year consists of four semesters (winter, spring, summer, autumn), with 10 weeks in each semester. It is assumed that one level is studied within one semester. There are six levels in total. If you want to master the Korean language, the most effective way is by enrolling in one of the country’s many university language programs. Respectively, learning the language to fluency will take a minimum of a year and a half.
However, the time it takes to complete the course all depends on your desires and abilities. A retake system is provided if someone does not pass the final exams or is not sure that he/she can immediately master the next level.
One academic semester includes 200 academic hours. Students study from Monday to Friday for about 4 hours a day. Most classes are held in the morning from 9:00 to 13:00. However, some universities also conduct classes in the afternoon. The cost of such a program is slightly cheaper than morning classes.
Language Program at Geumgang University
Now I would like to talk about how my experience of learning Korean at Geumgang University differs from other places. Firstly, there are not four, but only two semesters per year (autumn and spring), therefore, one semester lasts not 10, but 15 weeks. This also affects the number of hours: one semester consists of 300 hours. Such differences have a huge impact on the speed of language learning. We used the book from Seoul National University: one level contains two books and 18 chapters in total. Every chapter has a vocabulary list and 4 grammar points.
Thus, you will have to learn approximately more than 70 grammatical structures within 15 weeks at Geumgang University. On the other hand, other universities teach the same material in 10 weeks. Of course, these courses are aimed at intensive learning, but it might be hard to learn everything well so fast due to too many rules and structures that need to know in a short time. Geumgang University language courses definitely focus on the quality of their courses and making sure students totally understand the material.
However, the education process at Geumgang University has disadvantages as well. One of them is a very long period of vacation that is more than 2 months. Then it is almost 5 months in one year when students do not have classes while others can learn more if they attend intensive language courses at another university where the semester’s length is 10 months. In addition, students have to decide what to do during vacation. It is not possible to get a regular part-time job on a D-4 visa however you must continue to pay housing and living expenses.
Thus, everybody should weigh all pros and cons to choose the most appropriate system and speed of learning that suits them. If you want to learn as much as possible in a short time you should apply for regular courses with 10 week semesters. But if you do not want to rush and feel that you need a little bit more time to know the language, then courses at Geumgang University will be better.
Click here if you want to find out how to study for free at Geumgang University.