What’s the Deal with Babbel Korean? (Course Info)

Updated December 13th, 2023

So you've taken the leap and decided to start learning Korean. If you're like me then you're super excited to start learning a new foreign language. If you're also like me, you might not be sure where to start. There's a lot of resources and tools ought there and it's hard to tell what's good and what's not. 

You've heard about Babbel. Maybe you've read about their 1 million users worldwide. Or you might have read about how theirs courses help beginners learn foundational grammar and vocabulary.

There's just one problem....

Babbel doesn't have a Korean course

Why doesn't Babbel have a Korean course?

Korean isn't an easy language

The Korean and English languages are world apart. They don't share much in the way of similar words or grammar. This makes teaching as well as learning Korean pretty difficult. 

A lot of language learning courses do a poor job of teaching Korean

Many companies take what used to be a Spanish or French course and stuff it with Korean words and call it a course. It's easier to take the template of a course from a language close to English and repackage it as the "Best way to learn Korean", than it is to develop true Korean course.

Fortunately Babbel hasn't cut any courses with teaching Korean. Hopefully in the near future they will take the time craft a great Korean course for new students. Until then here are some useful alternatives :

3 Alternatives to Babbel Korean

Rocket Korean

Rocket Korean is a comprehensive app-based course that takes you through the essential elements of learning Korean, including speaking, listening, reading, writing, and grammar. 

How it Works

The Rocket Korean course features five basic components. The biggest part of the course is the Interactive Audio element, which contains short audio lessons featuring native speakers. 

The Language and Culture element is really important too, as this offers bite-size grammar explanations to help you understand Korean sentence structure. You will also find essential explanations about Korean honorifics in these lessons.

The Tools element gives you lots of study options like spaced repetition flashcards and review activities. You may want to use this after completing a Language and Culture or Audio lesson to help you remember what you learned.

In the Writing Lessons, you learn how to read and write using Hangul, or the Korean alphabet.

The Survival Kit is one of Rocket’s best and newer features. In this section, you get a crash course in everyday Korean you need to communicate in a hurry.


The Level 1 Rocket Korean course has a one-time cost of $149, though you can often find it as much as 50% off when the company runs a deal. This is a pretty high price point and you don’t have the option of a low monthly subscription rate instead of the one-time fee.

Pros and Cons

The biggest advantage of using Rocket Korean is that it has structured lessons and covers all the bases you need to learn the language. 

One of the cons is that right now, Rocket Korean only features one level. Other languages offered by Rocket have higher levels, so this may eventually change.

Another downside to Rocket is that the company used an unfortunate marketing campaign by offering commissions to people who successfully sold the course. This ended up creating a lot of bad PR for the company and you may see incorrect information floating around online even now.

Overall Rocket Korean is a comprehensive course that does a good job of incorporating speaking and listening, as well as reading and writing. 

Koreanclass101 is an online course that offers three elements: audio lessons, study tools like flashcards, and personal tutoring sessions. Like Rocket Korean, it takes a pretty comprehensive approach by covering all the core elements of a language like speaking and listening, grammar, and reading and writing.

How it Works

The bulk of what you get when you subscribe to the KoreanClass101 program is access to many, many podcast-style audio and video lessons. At first, this can seem overwhelming, but the program also provides Pathways, which guide you through the lessons in an orderly progression based on your learning level and interests.

If you prefer a more self-directed approach, you can still go through the lessons in any order you like, too!

One of the things KoreanClass101 focuses on is using everyday day, normal-sounding Korean rather than stilted textbook-sounding dialogue. The podcast lessons feature two English hosts and then a segment of dialogue presented by native Korean speakers. You can slow down the audio or get a line-by-line translation to help you learn vocabulary, too.

The Study Tools element gives you handy review options like flashcards and quizzes.

The Personal Teacher feature does cost more, as it is only available in the Premium Plus version. But this can give your learning a massive boost, as the tutor offers lessons tailored just to you, rather than presenting canned materials. Plus, you will get a chance to test out your spoken Korean in a safe, instructive environment, which is super valuable!


One of the confusing things about KoreanClass101 is that it has lots of different pricing options. You can try it out for free with the minted free access. You can also select from Basic, Premium, or Premium Plus levels of monthly subscription rates.

Basic: $4/month. Includes access to all lessons.

Premium: $10/month.  Includes access to all lessons plus line-by-line audio breakdown, word bank, and more.

Premium Plus: $23/month.  Includes everything AND 1-on-1 sessions with a teacher, plus personal assessment and personally graded activities.

On top of this, the company often runs sales where you could get a much lower subscription rate for a certain amount of time.

Pros and Cons

One of the biggest advantages to KoreanClass101 is the personal tutor option if you can afford to pay for the premium version of the course. 

One of the downsides is that while the audio lessons often have great quality, many of the video lessons look pretty bad. This may make you feel like you paid for a cheap product, despite the overall good quality of the material presented in the course.

Italki is  a unique language-learning tool because it is not a course in and of itself. Instead, it is a platform for connecting language learners with hundreds of certified tutors offering a personalized learning experience.

How it Works

Italki lets you search for a tutor in several ways. First, of course, you can search for tutors certified to teach the language you want to learn (in this case, Korean!). Once you get hundreds or thousands of results, you can sort them based on lots of different factors.

First, you can organize the results based on tutor availability. This is essential if you have a tight schedule and you need someone who can meet up with you during your limited free time.

Second, you can arrange the results based on factors like tutor experience or tutor rankings. It is a great idea to read reviews left by other students, as this is often the best way to find the most engaging and effective tutors.

Third, you can even sort the results based on hourly fees. This is important if you have a limited budget for your personal tutoring sessions.

Italki tutors do go through a vetting process, but this does not mean that every tutor will gel with your personal learning style. You may need to test out a few tutors before you match up with the right one.


Cost varies a lot in italki, because every tutor sets their one rates. You may find one Korean tutor charging $6 per hour and another charging $60. 

Higher cost does not necessarily mean a better or more experienced tutor, though. The best way to seek out high-quality tutors is to look at their ratings and student reviews.

Pros and Cons

Italki does have some downsides. For one, you may not like every tutor you try. For another, it costs can add up quickly when you pay for hourly or half-hour sessions.

The biggest advantage to using italki is that you get to connect with a tutor in a safe virtual environment. And of course, the big upside to working with a tutor is that you get instruction tailored to your individual needs, as well as a chance to practice Korean conversation for real!

*Use this link to purchase a minimum of $20 (US) of Italki credits and receive an extra $10 free! (Bonus added after completion of 1st lesson)

90-Day Korean is a structured online course that takes a traditional, almost textbook approach to teach you all the essential elements of Korean.

Despite its name, “90-day Korean” actually features four different levels, each intended to be completed in 90 days. In total, it would take you about a year to go through the entire course and gain basic fluency in Korean.

How it Works

The course offers you one week of lessons at a time, which is an innovative way to keep you on track and avoid overwhelming you. Each weekly lesson starts with a 90-minute challenge, such as learning the Korean alphabet in just 90 minutes. The lessons use simple wording and great explanations.

Weekly lessons also include other segments like Fundamentals, Challenges, and a vocabulary segment. The lessons incorporate interactive activities too, such as drag-and-drop word association activities.

If you pay a higher subscription rate, you also get access to a personal coach to help you through the in-depth weekly lessons and activities.


You can pay for 90-Day Korean in several different ways.

For the basic level, you can subscribe for either $35/month, or $299/year. 

If you want to level up and pay for personal coaching on top of the course, you will pay $49/month or $399/year.

Pros and Cons

The biggest downside to this program is that it is an online course without a flashy app or voice recognition software. Of course, if you pay for a personal coach, you can try out a conversation in a real-life virtual setting, but that comes with a high price tag.

The biggest advantage to using this course is that it does a great job teaching all the basics of the Korean language in simple, easy-to-follow terms. You will find yourself understanding why Korean is structured the way it is as you go rather than just memorizing a handful or words or phrases.

Mondly Korean is an app-based course that uses a gamified approach rich with interactive elements to make learning Korean enjoyable.

How it Works

When you first log in to the Mondly Korean app, you go to the map-like landing board. This features an array of landmarks, including subject matter themes and a daily lessons icon.

You can work through the program by selecting which theme you want to study, or by using the daily lessons option. This allows Mondly to take you through lessons in a linear and structured approach and probably works best for most learners.

Daily lessons usually feature multiple interactive activities. These might include spelling, translating, matching, or drag-and-drop activities. All of the activities take very little time, as each full lesson clocks in at under 15 minutes.

Completing lessons and signing in to the app consistently helps you earn points and study streaks. This is a fun way to make the program more gamified and encourage you to keep going.


You can subscribe to the Mondy app in three different ways.

First, you can pay a monthly rate of $9.99 for the Korean course.

Second, you can pay a yearly subscription rate of $47.99 for the Korean course.

Third, you can pay a yearly subscription rate of $479 (though it is often way on sale) for access to all the language courses Mondly offers, not just Korean.

Pros and Cons

The main downside to Mondly Korean is that it doesn’t take you far beyond the beginner basics. It also doesn’t delve too far into grammar, focusing more on basic Korean for everyday use.

Mondly has lots of pros. It uses short fun lessons with many easily attainable rewards along the way. The advantage it offers over other gamified programs like Duolingo is that it has more of a focus on practical, useful Korean words and phrases.

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