Korean Language and Culture for Beginners


Photograph of busy city street in KoreaOverview:
This course is for absolute beginners and those with elementary knowledge who want to improve their Korean. By the end of the course, you will be able to read and write in Hangeul (the Korean alphabet), have a vocabulary of about 500 words, and be able to communicate in Korean at beginner’s level.  You will become familiar with elements of Korean culture, particularly relating to greetings, speech levels, address terms, and food. The course also includes some geography and a brief history of Korea.

Course materials:
A course workbook is provided.

Target audience:
This course is for anyone interested in learning the Korean language and its unique writing system and about Korean culture. It will also suit those with some knowledge of the language and culture and who want to improve this in an organised way.

Learning objectives:
By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • read and write Hangeul, the unique Korean alphabet
  • communicate in Korean at beginner’s level
  • develop your knowledge of the Korean culture through the language
  • understand elements of Korean society, both contemporary and traditional.

Course outline:

Session 1

  • Language: overview of Korean; Hangeul 1; Reading and writing your name in Hangeul

Session 2

  • Language: Hangeul 2; Greetings; Introducing yourself.
  • Culture: Korean culture through greetings

Session 3

  • Language: Hangeul 3; Asking and telling your names; Achieving information by using questions words such as ‘what’, ‘where’, and ‘who’ (무엇, 어디, 누구)
  • Culture: Korean culture in names

Session 4

  • Language: Hangeul 4; Demonstratives ‘this’ and ‘that’ (이, 그, 저); Describing where things are
  • Culture: Place names in Korea

Session 5

  • Language: Talking about existence; Ordering at a café
  • Culture: Room, room, room!

Session 6

  • Language: Talking about daily activities, telling likes and dislikes
  • Culture: Speech levels

Session 7

  • Language: Talking about family. Plain words vs honorific words
  • Culture: Address terms

Session 8

  • Language: Buying things; Numbers
  • Culture: Korean money; Shopping places in Korea; Shopping tips

Session 9

  • Language: Describing past events
  • Culture: Brief history of Korea

Session 10

  • Language: Ordering food; Expressions used in a restaurant
  • Culture: Korean food; Dining Etiquette

Learning activities focus on listening, speaking, reading and writing Korean. To reinforce your learning homework is encouraged. There is no formal assessment.

There is a short break half-way through each session, and tea and coffee are provided. You are also welcome to bring your own refreshments if you wish.

Class limit:
This course is limited to a maximum of 25 participants, so please enrol early.

Mi Young Kim is a native of South Korea with expertise in Korean language and culture that comes from more than 20 years of teaching experience in a wide range of settings in both Korea, where she received a teaching excellence award, and New Zealand. She holds a teacher’s qualification from Korea and an MA in Applied Linguistics from Victoria University of Wellington. She recently also completed a course in teaching of Korean as a foreign language at Seoul National University. She has also translated several pieces of Korean literature into English together with Stephen Epstein, the director of Victoria’s Asian Studies Programme.

“Mi Young was very patient and helpful. She always seemed excited to teach us so the atmosphere of the class was nice. It was great that the course covered a wide variety of content that would be most useful in conversations”, Korean Language and Culture for Beginners participant (2018)

“Mi Young Kim was concise, patient and created a caring environment for all her students which fostered a feeling of caring”, Korean Language and Culture for Beginners participant (2018)

“The teacher was excellent: fun, informative, understanding, and knowledgeable”, Korean Language and Culture for Beginners participant (2018)

Relevant links:
School of Languages and Cultures
Language Learning Centre

For further information:
Continuing Education, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington 6140.
Phone 04 463 6556,  Email: conted@vuw.ac.nz

Please note: Courses need a minimum number of enrolments to go ahead. If your course doesn’t reach the number required, we’ll have to cancel it. If this happens, we’ll contact you by phone or email about a week before the scheduled start date and arrange a full refund. Please check your emails regularly.