Of course, if you are interested in learning Korean, you’ve made a smart choice. The process of learning Korean is no different from learning just about any other language.
Self-Learning Vs. Classes
Step one is to decide if you’d rather try and teach yourself, or take a formal class. There are plenty of audio classes you can purchase or even download for free, and plenty of web sites to use as resources. I don’t think self-learning works in language studies beyond quick travel phrases and the like, to be honest. You need the formality of a class to keep you working consistently on vocabulary and grammar, and you need the interaction with others at your level, at least in the beginning. Plus, web resources and supposed ‘tricks’ a lot of the audio classes hype are of varying quality and effectiveness.
Whatever approach you take for the vocabulary and grammar acquisition, you’re best practice when trying to learn a language like Korean is to immerse yourself. Since Korean uses a different alphabet and script than Western languages, you can’t really use reading material to learn to speak Korean, but you can listen to Korean music and radio programs, and watch television programs in Korean. Do this as much as possible, and try to continuously pay attention and try to understand what’s being said.
Find a Partner or Two
The absolute best way to develop your understanding of Korean would be to find someone to practice with. A native speaker who also speaks your own native tongue would be good, but anyone who is studying the language as well would be fine. Often there are language clubs and other groups you can join, where you meet to speak Korean and practice on each other. If you’re taking a class, you can often form one of these clubs from your fellow students. Speaking the language will reinforce your lessons and get you comfortable with speaking the language quickly.
If possible, once you’ve gotten a working knowledge of Korean – go to Korea! Spending even a few days in the country and speaking only Korean will not only be great practice, but you might learn a few things you’re doing wrong when you’re gently corrected by the Koreans themselves! Tell everyone you’re learning the language so they know you’re open to advice.