If you’re in the process of learning Korean, you’re probably aware that there are seemingly infinite methods of learning. You can work through Korean textbooks, listen to audio clips of conversation, or work through challenges like our own 90 Minute Challenge to learn Hangul, the Korean alphabet. You can mix and match these different activities to come up with a learning method that works best for you, but the most important thing is that you’re consistent and motivated to stay engaged with the learning process.
What better way is there to keep your motivation for learning Korean high than to have fun while you’re learning? Grab your popcorn, because Korean dramas are about to make learning way more entertaining!
Korean dramas are some of the most entertaining shows on television — whether you’re after tragedy, heartbreak, comedy, or all of the above, the Korean dramas on this list will deliver. However, not all Korean dramas are created equal if you’re in the beginning stages of learning Korean. Some are ideal for learning Korean conversational skills, and some use more complicated dialogue that can be tricky to parse for beginners.
Read on for a list of the best Korean dramas to get you started with learning the Korean language. Be sure to let us know which is your favorite in the comments below! Also check out our useful Korean drama phrases to help with your study.
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연애시대 (Alone in Love)
Alone in Love is a great Korean drama to dive into if you’re just getting started with learning Korean. It’s very approachable as far as Korean dramas go — the story follows a married couple that splits up after the death of their baby, and what their lives look like after they begin dating other people. It’s heart wrenching, it’s (relatively) realistic, and you’ll get emotionally invested very quickly!
The dialogue in this drama is straightforward and easy to follow, which makes it great for learning Korean. The conversations can be a little harder to follow when emotions run high between the main characters and they begin speaking quickly, but the majority of the conversations are realistic day-to-day Korean conversations and are full of vocabulary words that will serve you well.
If you’re already a fan of Korean food (and really, who isn’t? Korea has tons of delicious dishes!), you are going to love Gourmet, a Korean drama that follows sibling rivalry between two sons fighting to inherit their father’s restaurant.
Of course, this drama has all of the elements that make Korean dramas so great — there’s rivalry, there’s heartbreak, and there are definitely moments that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat. What this drama has that others don’t have, however, is a focus on traditional Korean cooking.
Not only will you get to learn the meaning and history of a variety of Korean dishes as you’re watching this drama (as well as how to make the dishes), but you’ll also pick up useful vocabulary words that you’ll use in future conversations at restaurants and about Korean food.
Get your Korean food fix and your Korean entertainment fix at the same time — check out Gourmet today!
커피 프린스 1호점 (Coffee Prince)
Coffee Prince was one of the Korean dramas that was so popular that it raised awareness for how wonderful Korean dramas are to viewers outside of Korea. Once you start watching, you’ll see why it helped spread the word about Korean dramas — it’s addicting, and it’s very hard to stop once you get started!
This drama follows the off-beat romance between a clumsy tomboy, Go Eun-Chan, (who is actually mistaken for a boy!) and a well-off gentleman who isn’t interested in the women he has been set up with by his family.
These two hit it off and form an unlikely friendship, and viewers are left wondering when it will progress to be more and what that could even look like, considering Choi Han-Gyul, the male protagonist, thinks that Go Eun-Chan is a boy. Will he ever learn her true identity? Will his trust be shattered, or will they fall in love? Start watching to find out!
Part of what makes Coffee Prince so great to follow when you’re learning Korean is how easy it is to get invested in the characters and the story. Even if you miss some of the more difficult conversational elements the first time watching, you’ll be hooked and you’ll feel as if you need to keep watching to find out what happens to the main characters.
Turn on Coffee Prince the next time you sit down to study Korean and you’ll quickly see why we consider it one of the best Korean dramas!
별에서 온 그대 (My Love from Another Star)
If you’re a fan of television shows and movies that have fantastical elements, you’re in for a treat! My Love from Another Star is not your typical Korean drama. This drama follows a superhuman alien that landed on planet Earth hundreds of years ago. Think of it as Doctor Who meets Twilight… kind of? You’ll understand when you check it out for yourself!
This alien, Do Min-joon, has had several superhuman gifts bestowed upon him — he has out of this world good looks, he has super speed, and he can hear even the faintest of sounds, which makes spying on conversations very easy.
As you can imagine, he becomes disillusioned with humans very quickly as a result of all of the hatred and malice he picks up on through listening and paying attention. Imagine his surprise when he falls in love with human woman!
This drama really does have something for every viewer — whether you’re a fan of alien story lines, true love, or period pieces, you’ll enjoy watching My Love From Another Star.
It’s also great for viewers who are just beginning to pick up Korean, because the dialogue is all written in a very deliberate way. Being an alien, Do Min-joon uses formal Korean dialogue for most of the show, but the script writers do a great job of having him transition slowly to more casual dialogue as he becomes comfortable around other characters.
Do you have a favorite Korean drama that has helped you learn the language? Let us know in the comments below so we can add it to our list!
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