For about 5 years now I’ve been wanting to learn Korean. It started as “it would be nice to start learning Korean”… Then it became “I’d really like to learn Korean”… And now it’s become “I am going to learn Korean”.

For 5 years I came up with all kinds of excuses not to learn. “I’ll study when I get fluent in Japanese” or “I’ll find a teacher when I’m living in Japan.” But that’s not how things work. Plans change and if you commit to something it will never get done. You’ll put it off for 5 years!

I mentioned in my New Year Goals 2017 that I had a 6 month plan. Korean is a part of it.

So I’ve given myself a 3 month challenge: Be able to have a conversation with a native Korean in Korean, in 3 months.


A Different Approach

When I started learning Japanese it was once a week, for an hour, with a teacher. It took me a very, very long time to get the basic done at that rate.

So let’s say it takes about 140 hours to learn basic Korean. If you only study 1 hour a week it will take you 140 weeks (which is 32 months aka 2.5 years). If you do 1 a day that’s only 140 days or about 5 months. I would rather get it done in 5 months than in 2.5 years!

But my goal is to be able to speak Korean with a native, and I’m using a very difference approach from when I studied Japanese.


New Language Challenge Korean1. Learning basic vocabulary and grammar – with the help of How to Study Korean.

How to Study Korean is an amazing website! It had a full course with vocabulary and grammar with clear explanations for everything. It also has a Memrise course to accompany the lessons!

I love Memrise and use it all the time for Japanese! How to Study Korean is a great website that doesn’t just assume you’ll study the vocabulary on your own, but provides you with the materials themselves!


New Language Challenge Korean script2. Writing out my conversations in a script.

So a great tip I heard was to write out conversations you will have in a script in preparation for skype meetings with natives.

Writing the script makes you look up the vocabulary relevant to you and begins to get you used to grammar.

Practice speaking that script over and over gets you used to sounds and pronunciation.

Using the script in a conversation helps you learn it. It also allows your speaking partner to fix any mistakes in word usage, grammar, and pronunciation.


New Language Challenge Korean meetup3. Speak often with Koreans

I know the more I speak with Korean people the better I’ll get at Korean. It’s just basic logic that the more I use (and not just study) a language, the better I’ll get.

Speaking a language forces you to use the language.

Obviously it won’t be perfect right away and I’ll have a list of vocabulary and my scripts as references.

I’ll be using speaking partners thought iTalki and a local Korean language MeetUp group to meet people, speak and learn from others.


Unique Things About This Challenge

I’ve set myself 2 rules for this challenge:

  1. Don’t spend any money.
  2. Be able to converse within 3 months.

I’m not saying I need to study an hour a day, nor that I need to memorize a lot of vocabulary before I start speaking. I’m going to take a completely different approach to how I studied Japanese to see if it makes a difference.

I also want to avoid spending money to see if I can really teach myself Korean, which means no teachers or paid lessons. This means I have to force myself to learn through speaking with Natives.

I have a slight advantage in this challenge because I already have a strong grasp of the different grammar. Thanks to my Japanese background I know how Korean sentences will be structured. I just need to learn the different Korean particles, verbs, conjunctions, etc.



At the end of 3 months in April I’m going to write an update on how it goes, my progress and the effectiveness. If all goes well I hope to continue it longer than 3 months!


Update: My New Language Challenge – Korean 3 Months On

My New Language Challenge
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7 years ago

Hey Jennifer,
I just want to say thank you so much for the N4/N5 Memrise courses you created. I recently started learning Japanese and found them invaluable!! I pledged to your patreon, hope you can continue making more content for N3 and beyond!

Also, it’s great that you are tackling Korean. I am a bilingual Korean/English speaker and I would love to help you practice speaking if you’d like. Maybe you can help me with my poor Japanese as well :( My skype is llandorill if you’d like to add me for a language exchange.

Thanks and good luck with your studies~ :)