Love K-Drama and Planning a Trip to Korea? How Learning Basic Korean Can Uplevel Your Trip

Contemporary Korean culture is taking over the world right now, and it’s no surprise why! The vibrance and diversity of the k-pop scene and its upbeat, highly visual nature is a draw for legions of fans. 


The music is known for its fusion of a multitude of styles and influences: pop, rock, hip-hop, and house music frequently collide: often in a single song. And, globally, we’ve fallen in love with Korean drama, too: Squid Game has been just the latest in a string of tv smash hits that have come out of the country that has captured the imagination of the world.

If you’re a fan of k-pop and Korean drama, then you may well be wondering whether to learn Korean to immerse yourself even further in the contemporary scene. Or perhaps you’re planning a trip to the country and like the idea of having a few basic words and phrases of the language to hand as you travel and explore. Knowing a little of the language will make your trip even more spectacular: from being able to better immerse yourself in the country’s culture to the ability to navigate your way around the public transport network to giving you the opportunity to make new friends, it’s a great idea to learn basic Korean ahead of your trip.

Keep reading to find out how learning basic Korean is probably easier than you think – and how your favorite songs and tv shows can help you to do it!

Why You Really Should Learn Korean

There are loads of reasons that now is the perfect time to learn Korean – here are a few of them:

  • More than 75 million people in the world speak Korean; therefore, it’s very likely to be useful in both your career and your travel adventures.
  • Having Korean on your resume looks great to prospective employers.
  • Learning Korean is easier than you think! There are none of the verb conjugations and noun genders that can make other languages so tricky to get to grips with.
  • Korea has a rich and fascinating culture and history; learning the language can help you fully appreciate it.
  • It’s a phonetic language, meaning it’s easy to figure out the pronunciation of Korean words.
  • You’ll be able to enjoy your favorite k-pop songs and k-drama shows in their original language!

Korean is fast becoming an extremely popular second language to learn and, as a result of the country’s friendly connection with the US, having some knowledge of the language is likely to be even more beneficial in the near future in terms of business and professional opportunities.

Can I Really Learn Korean from KPop Songs and K-Dramas?

Yes, it’s entirely possible! Whether you choose to support your learning via this method or use it as a standalone technique, you really will be able to pick up basic Korean by immersing yourself in k-pop and watching subtitled Korean tv shows. This way of learning has been repeatedly proven to be an effective way to speed up language learning and get to grips with some basic words and phrases of a new tongue.

Listening to k-pop regularly, you’ll find that you start recognizing certain words that crop up repeatedly. Use a dictionary, or an online translation tool, to find out what these words and phrases mean and write them down. Repeat them back a few times, trying to get the pronunciation just right. Listen out for them again in other k-pop songs.

Learning Korean by watching tv is even easier: immersing yourself in a subtitled smash hit Korean series is surely the most entertaining way to learn a second language there is! You’ll be able to get a general feel for the sound, tone, and cadence of the language and a chance to learn not just some basic words and phrases but also how to pronounce them.

Not sure where to start? Here are the very best shows to learn Korean, so choose your first k-drama box set, settle back, and let the learning begin!

Empty Room

There are fifteen episodes of this popular k-drama, so prepare for an epic binge-watch! The plot follows a girl trying to resolve issues in her relationship with her boyfriend, and it’s a love story that will keep you captivated from the opening credit of episode one to the final scene of the show’s climax.

The Silent Sea

Massively trending right now, The Silent Sea is a Korean sci-fi horror set in space – what’s not to love already? A mission is sent to investigate an abandoned research facility, and the crew gets more than they bargained for….

The Heirs

First aired in 2013, this series quickly became one the most-watched k-dramas of all time. It’s a contemporary Cinderella story that follows the teenage kids of a group of wealthy and influential socialites.

All of Us Are Dead

Having premiered earlier this year, All of Us is Dead is a horror series that sees a zombie outbreak hit a Korean high school. As a result, the school is locked down, with the kids trapped inside…along with the recently undead.

Squid Game

A list of k-dramas wouldn’t be complete without this phenomenon that had its first series aired last year. Action-packed, suspenseful, and thought-provoking, don’t be fooled by its gory rep: there are some serious issues explored throughout.

Tips to Help You Learn Korean by Watching TV

As you’re watching your chosen series, why not try replaying a few scenes you’ve particularly enjoyed, closely following the subtitles, and writing down several keywords and phrases? If you’re unsure of the meaning, you can always look it up later.

After you’ve watched a few episodes, try switching the subtitles to Korean for five minutes or a scene, and see if you’re able to follow the action or some of the dialogue. As you continue working your way through the boxset, try leaving the English subtitles off for longer periods of time.

If you’re learning with a like-minded friend, why not give each other a quick pop quiz at the end of the show? This can be a fun way to consolidate your learning – replay the necessary sections once you’ve both written down your answers.

K-pop and K-drama: a Language Learner’s Dream

The proliferation of music and tv shows coming out of Korea is a boon for those who can’t get enough of the genres’ unique vibe, innovative fusions of styles, and a sense of expanding possibilities. 

If your love of k-pop and k-drama has inspired you to learn Korean, then rest assured that it’s now easier – and more fun – than ever before.


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