After being in Seoul for 6 months, I decided it was time for me to learn the language. It can be frustrating wanting to communicate, but not being able to do so because of limited understanding. Luckily, a coworker of mine knew of a place that isn't far and Korean language classes are taught for free.
Yeoksam Global Village Center is a 10 minute walk from the Yeoksam Train Station, which is on the green line of the Seoul metrorail system, and only one stop away from Gangnam. The center offers many classes and enrichment activities such as Spanish language class, knitting, drawing, and even social gatherings. It is surrounded by a number of coffee shops and exercise studios. So, if the walk from the station isn't enough exercise, and you have the time, you can bring some exercise gear and work up a sweat before or after class. And if you choose the earlier classes, the cafe right next door offers 30-40% discounts on coffees and teas, and they remind you to live a beautiful life.
Although I knew the Korean alphabet and some basic greetings, I decided to forego the level test and start at basic beginner level 1a. The first day was great! I traveled to the center with my coworker and met my teacher (선생님) and my classmates. I was surprised at the diversity of the classroom, and also that everyone spoke English fluently. We chose to use English as the common language, but when it was time to speak Korean, everyone was focused on learning and doing just that. Following the class, our teacher created a group kakao where everyone could participate in discussion throughout the week.
Since there were many open seats in the class, our teacher told us we could invite other students to register.
I had such a fun time learning that I told other coworkers about the class, and they ended up registering and attending on the second day. Following class, we walked to the designated to bookstore to purchase our books, which came to around ₩30,000.
After just a few classes, I noticed my confidence and pronunciation improved whenever communicating in the Korean language. If you are in Seoul, and you are considering taking a Korean language class, I hope you consider the Yeoksam Global Village Center.
Christine has been living in Seoul for six months. She is currently teaching at the Gangdong campus. She tutored ESL students through a neighborhood program called Centronia in Washington, D.C. while studying English at Howard University. After teaching in Baltimore City, she decided to move to Korea to gain a new perspective on teaching. To engage with Christine, follow her on instagram @livinlavidapoka.