Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Ask a Korean! Wiki: Language Courses for Children?

Dear Korean,

I would love to go to Korea with my kids and spend about a month in the summer with them occasionally seeing relatives, but mostly I would like them to learn about the culture and language. They are half Korean and sadly speak no Korean but I'm hoping I could change that. Their ages range from 7-12 so a hefty program at Yonsei (which I did as a high schooler many years ago) would not be appropriate, but I'm sure there must be something they can do in Korea to learn the language in a more formal way. Do you have any suggestions?


The Korean is certain that this type of courses would be in demand, but unfortunately he is not aware of one. (Remember, the Korean never had to learn any Korean.) Readers, got any suggestion? Please share in the comment section.

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at


  1. Very sad that so many half Korean kids cannot speak Korean at all. Most of my half breed friends from other nationalities speak, to include English, both of their parents languages, whether that be Arabic, Spanish, and Serbian. Sometimes I feel like Koreans are the most white-washed people in America, especially the uneducated ones. Most of my half-breed cousins, who are by-product of American GIs and Korean women, doesnt even want to know the Korean culture at all. Then again, all my aunts who married American GIs are not educated, so it is what it is.

    1. Obviously you aren't in any danger of becoming to Americanized since your use of the term "half breed" to describe your own family members sounds very Korean to me.


    2. Wake up you're in 2016. Not 1916.
      Shame shame shame on you.

  2. Unfortunately you wont be able to find many Korean classes for children starting at beginner levels in Korea. There are plenty of classes for adults but there is actually very little demand for this kind of class for kids. The children of foreigners living in Korea either attend intl schools where Korean is not necessary or attend Korean school in which case they are learning Korean by full immersion.
    You might be able to find a class for your kids at one of the many multicultural family centers (다문화가족지원센터) located around the country which provide services for Korean - foreigner married couples and their children. Not sure though whether or not they will be willing to allow people to join who are just visiting Korea. Also contacting these places will require that you can speak Korean.
    To ask about other options I suggest you contact the Seoul Global Center which is a government run center that assists foreigners who are living in and visiting Seoul.

  3. I dunno about classes and courses, but I know a university student, personally, who said she was giving private Korean lessons to some Italian kids. If she's fine with it, I might connect you with her, but I'm sure there will be lots of Korean students willing to earn pocket money as tutors.

    1. Or they might be willing to do it via a "language exchange" arrangement - the kids help them with English, and they help the kids with Korean.

    2. That sounds good, but that's not usually how it works. It might work with both sides being adults, but not if one is adults and one children. Kids are too shy to speak to adults in general and if you're gonna teach them, you have to find a common language. Also, you can't expect them to learn a foreign language if you don't make them exercise it on field, which will harldy happen if you make them feel like they don't need to do so.
      The children might eventually help students from English Linguistics for the linguistical research, but no, that's people who already know English and on a high level even.

    3. Anyway (dubble posting because there's no "edit" button), I was only trying to give some actual practical information to the one who asked the question.

  4. try

    Hope this helps...

    1. I second

  5. In the late spring, there are usually ads in the Korean newspaper for the summer camps for gyopo kids in Korea (I'd recommend researching heavily to make sure they are legit and safe). There is also a teen summer program hosted by the Overseas Koreans Foundation which is run by the ROK government. The teen program is a more selective one, and they do a call for applications in the early spring I believe. Check the website periodically.

    This is not in Korea and in NYC, but my friend told me that there are good number of half-Korean kids at the Korean school that her 5-year-old daughter attends. Perhaps Tina should look into local Saturday Korean schools as well.

  6. Charmie beat me to it -- I was going to say that I don't really know much about Korean language programs in Korea, but Tina could enroll her kids in one of those Korean language schools. Big cities with a big Korean population (e.g., LA) might have one in academy form or one set up by a Korean American association, but in other areas, I've usually found that sometimes local Korean churches have a program either on Saturdays or Sunday mornings.

  7. Everything is out on Youtube for Korean language learning is just horrible. I am looking for very short repetitive stories in Korean for children. Something like The Three Little Pigs, but in Korean and read slowly.

    I have been religiously watching dramas since 2011. This is what I know how to say in Korean besides bad words:

    How are you?
    Where are you going?
    Let's go together!
    What the heck?
    I am hungry.
    Sit down.
    Shut up.
    Eat slowly.
    I hate bread.
    Give me some water.
    Here is a present for you.
    I miss you.
    I love you.
    Let's get married.
    I am pregnant.
    Are you jealous?
    Let's break up.
    Let's get a divorce.
    I beg you.

    This is my "Survival Korean 101" class.

  8. Tina, have you thought of signing up for an online course? That might be a more convenient option since you can monitor their learning and adjust it to your own schedule/priorities. We have a lot of families that sign up for our Korean course for that very reason! You can find out more here:

    As a "half-breed" myself, I think it's great that you're making such an effort to teach your children Korean. It takes a lot of dedication to keep up the language in the household but spending time in Korea will really make a difference - children pick up languages so fast! Good luck :)

  9. I am a Korean woman who grew up in the United States. My daughter is half Chinese, half Korean, and very American! For years, I searched extensively for the kind of program you are looking for. Right now, I am sitting in Seoul, Korea! My husband, daughter, and I visited Korea in October 2013 and found a Korean language center that would allow us to do a group or semi-private class. That one is called Best Friend Korean Language and Culture Center. They are very nice people. Then, we found another place called Green Korean Language School. We booked a home stay through the Korean Tourist Organization, as well as a semi-private, two-week beginning Korean language course through Green Korean. We couldn't be more pleased with our experience. You can also find apartments through airbnb. New schools and programs are popping up all the time. I would recommend these two options, and if they don't work out, keep looking. Korea is an amazing country with amazing people. Seoul is becoming more diverse and accepting of Koreans who don't speak Korean fluently. I hope each of us can honor our individuality and be inclusive of all cultures. Best wishes as you explore Korea!

    1. I am planning to study at either Best Friend or Green Korean for 2 weeks this summer. Hope to focus on speaking, pronunciation and survival korean skills. Which school would you recommend? Would really appreciate your advice as it's the first time that I will be trying a hagwon in Korea.

    2. Hi, could you provide some feedback on Best Friend or Green Korean ? Which would you recommend? I am planning to go Korea in March 2016. Thanks! :)

  10. A Korean friend told me about EBS's site for multicultural families. It is free language learning and includes material created specifically for children. EBS is the Korean equivalent of our Public Broadcasting System with a intention to provide education.

    You can read more here


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