The 3 Best Sites for Online Korean Tutors and Classes - Live Fluent

The 3 Best Sites for Online Korean Tutors and Classes

Okay so Korean isn't exactly the easiest foreign language for native speakers to learn. In fact it ranks as one of the most difficult, alongside other notoriously difficult languages such as Arabic and Japanese.

Korean's grammar and writing system is pretty far removed from English. Not to mention the Korean sound system or the curious presence of honorifics in the language. 

But these difficulties don't stop Korean from being one of the most popular Asian languages for foreigners to study. As a result there are more Korean resources available for native English speakers than there has been at any other point in time.  

There was a day when the resources available to an aspiring student of Korean were limited to their geographical location. If you were lucky you could find a book or two on the subject at your local library. If you were really lucky you lived near a few native speakers.

Online classes let you study a language anywhere

Now a days the proverbial floodgates of Korean learning have been opened. It's no longer necessary to fly to Seoul for the ultimate learning experience. You can learn the language one on one with a real native speaker in the comfort of your own home. 

In this post we take a look at three of the best sites you can use to find native Korean tutors or professional teachers for one on one classes. We'll discuss some of the strengths and weaknesses of each to help you decide which (if any) are right for you.

Let's dive in!

What are online Korean classes and how do they work?

A sample from an actual online Korean class. Notice how the student and teacher share learning materials in real time

Online language classes are usually individual teaching or tutoring sessions between a native speaker and a single student. 

These sessions can take the form of online classes, where a professional teacher guide the student through a language program.

These sessions can also function as tutoring sessions, where the native speaker simply stands by to answer questions or help the student practice the language. 

The only difference between an online Korean learning session and a traditional one, is that well...it's online. While you're not physically present with the teacher you are connected via video chat.

The teacher can also share resources and course materials (even multimedia) in real time. For all intensive purposes these classes are bonafide one on one teaching sessions. 

What makes online classes so awesome

One word: convenience

Learn Korean bedside

One of the biggest advantages of learning Korean online is that it's convenient.  You don't have to leave your house and travel across your hometown to reach a language school or meet in a teacher's home. 

You can literally role out of bend, turn on your computer, and you're ready for class!

Flexibility of schedule

The internet has the power to connect you with numerous Korean teachers, which means you have the power to not only pick a teacher you like, but also one whose schedule complements yours. 

Looking to squeeze a half hour session in during your lunch break or while your waiting for a connection flight? Now you can! 

Affordability

Local language teachers are notoriously expensive (think $30+ per hour). While a professional Korean teacher with experience and the right credentials is worth his or her weight in gold, the abundance of online teachers means that you the student have options. 

It's not unheard of to find qualified online teachers who charge as little as half of what a local teacher may charge in your hometown. If you're merely looking for a personal tutor to  help you practice the prices can be even lower. 

The best sites for learning Korean

Without further adieu here's our pick for the top websites you can use to learn Korean online. 

Price

$8-$20+ per Hour

Trial

3 Trial lessons at a discounted rate

Teacher Quality

Varies (Low to High)

1) Italki

Pros

  • Largest selection of Korean teachers
  • Best prices
  • Great language learning community

Cons

  • Class quality can vary between teachers

*Use this link to purchase a minimum of $10 (US) of Italki credits and receive an extra $10 free! (Bonus added after completion of 1st lesson)

You can check out a more detailed review of Italki here. 

What makes Italki different?

Wide selection

Italki is the largest language site which offers online lessons with language teachers. The site boasts thousands of teachers and tutors spread over 40+ languages. At the time of this article there are over 80 Korean teachers and tutors on the site. 

Professional teachers AND informal tutors

One feature I love about Italki is that people who teach on the site are divided into one of two categories: professional teacher or informal tutor. 

Like their name implies professional teachers have some accreditation in the field of teaching a foreign language.

It's generally expected that teachers will provide the student with any and all learning materials, and help guide the student through the language using a course like format.

Informal tutors may have experience teaching, but they haven't usually been through any formal education on the subject.  

Generally a tutor is there to help you practice the language or perhaps help you through any hurdles you come across in your studies. These tutors are ideal for more independent learners

An intro video from one of Italki's Korean teachers

Free community features 

While lessons on Italki are always paid, the site also offers some useful features which learners can use for free. 

These include a public journal, where you can write entries in Korean and have them corrected by native speakers. You can also post public discussion topics or ask native speakers specific questions. 

Most useful of all is that you can use Italki to search for and find native Korean speakers who are learning English and set up a free language exchange.

The idea behind a language exchange is that you help your Korean language partner practice their English, while they in turn help you practice your Korean. 

Things to keep in mind when using Italki

Overall Itaki is an outstanding site, and is our top choice for anyone interested in finding a Korean teacher. That being said, there are a couple issues that, though minor, are worth mentioning. 

Teacher quality can differ

The quality of lessons and learning experience can differ between individual teachers. A good rule of thumb is that professional teachers are typically more prepared and can provide a more in depth lesson. However this isn't always true. 

Sometimes an informal tutor on Italki will outshine their professional counterparts. All this to say, try out a few different tutors and teachers before you commit to any one. You might be surprised that you prefer one over another. 

No free trial

Unfortunately there's no free trial on Italki. However when you sign up on the site you are given 3 trial lesson credits. These credits allow you to take a thirty minute lesson at a discounted rate (sometimes as cheap as $1). 

The actual cost of a trail lesson will differ between teachers, and not all teachers offer them. Italki gives its teachers the option of giving trail lessons, and allows them to set their own price. 

*Use this link to purchase a minimum of $10 (US) of Italki credits and receive an extra $10 free! (Bonus added after completion of 1st lesson)

Price

$13-$35+ per Hour

Trial

1 Free 30 Minute Class

Teacher Quality

Medium-High

2) Verbling

Pros

  • Generally higher quality of teachers
  • Free trial lesson
  • Online lesson workspace

Cons

  • Higher quality means higher price
  • Less selection than Italki

You can check out a more detailed review of Verbling here.

What makes Verbling different?

Verbling doesn't have as wide of a selection of Korean teachers as Italki. Nor does it share many of Italki's best free community features. However Verbling does standout in three important ways. 

High quality teachers

Overall it has a higher quality selection of teachers. This is because all teachers on Verbling are required to have teaching experience before using the site. Teachers are also highly encouraged (though not required), to possess some sort of recognized teaching qualifications. 

An intro video for one of Verbling's Korean teachers

Free trial lesson

Verbling allows one free thirty minute trial lesson with one of their teachers for free. This is a great way to not only try out a potential Korean teacher, but to also get comfortable with the online lesson format. 

In-site lesson workspace

My favorite Verbling feature is their lesson workspace. Verbling allows students and teachers to have their lessons directly on the Verbling platform. 

In addition to the usual video chat features you find on other platforms like Skype or Google Hangouts, the Verbling workspace allows teachers and students to upload materials and media directly.

 You can also edit and revise materials in real time, and even make flashcards while taking your lesson.

Verbling's online workspace makes video chat lessons a breeze

This saves you the trouble and confusion of having multiple applications open on your computer during a lesson (Skype, Google docs, Youtube, Anki, etc.). Many times I've been in an online less over Skype and the session freezes because my internet connection can't quite handle all the applications. 

Verbling saves students and teachers the headache, and puts all the necessary tools in one convenient location. 

Things to consider when using Verbling

Less teachers

At the time of this article Verbling has just over thirty-five Korean teachers, compared to Italki's 80+. This is probably due in part to Verbling's stipulation that its teachers must possess teaching experience. 

Higher prices​

Verbling has an overall higher quality of teachers, but this also comes at an overall higher price. You'll be hard pressed to find a Korean teacher on Verbling who teaches for less than $13 per hour. 

Price

$15-$30 per hour

Trial

None

Teacher Quality

Low-High

3) Preply

Pros

  • Good selection of teachers

Cons

  • Tutors can be expensive
  • Not specific to foreign languages

What makes Preply different?

Preply is a site for finding online tutors for subjects on a range of topics (not just foreign languages). While it's cool to have a site where you can find a tutor for topics as diverse as computer science and geology, Preply doesn't have the language only focus that Verbling and Italki do.

There are just over twenty Korean tutors on the site at the time this article was written. Many of those tutors can also be found on Verbling or Italki (it's not uncommon for teachers to teach on multiple sites).  However some teachers are unique to Preply. 

Things to keep in mind while using Preply

Price​

The median price per hour for a Korean teacher on Preply is somewhere around $20. Most teachers don't teach for lower than $18 per hour, which is pretty high when compared to Italki and Verbling. 

Though if you're looking for professional level teacher this isn't as much of an issue. 

No additional features

Italki and Verbling both have additional features that help language learners on their journey to fluency. You won't find any such features on Preply. 

Conclusion

As a student of the Korean language you have a wide selection of teachers and tutors between these three sites. 

In the end it's not so much the site that makes for an excellence learning experience. It's the teacher. Whichever site you decide to go with I suggest you try out a few teachers before committing to regular lessons. 

Though their prices and features differ, you're liable to find a quality Korean teacher on anyone of the above websites.

I recommend you sign up for one and take a lesson sooner rather than later. Learning online with a real native speaker is one of the most fun effective ways to study Korean!

About the Author Chris J

I'm definitely an unlikely language learner. I failed Spanish in high school. I started learning German as a hobby while studying abroad. Long story short...and a couple languages later...I love language learning!

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