Have you thought about learning Korean but been put off by the unique writing system (hangul), the confusing sentence structures, and the unique sounding words? Or are you keen to learn Korean and want to understand your favorite Korean dramas, sing along to K-Pop songs, and make Korean friends in the US or Korea?
There are many ways to learn Korean, from self-study with a textbook to private learning with a Korean tutor. Each one has it’s pros and cons, which you can learn about in our detailed Guide to Korean Language Learning. This article is going to focus on one of the leaders in learning Korean – 90 Day Korean.
This 90 Day Korean review will explain how the site helps you learn Korean, the courses and materials on offer, and also whether or not the 90 Day Korean Inner Circle course is value for money. This review will also be full of our own insights into learning Korean and tips and links to help you out.
If you want to learn Korean, discover if 90 Day Korean is right for you.
Table of Contents:
- What Is 90 Day Korean?
- 90 Day Korean Inner Circle Course
- Free Materials From 90 Day Korean
- 90 Day Korean Inner Circle Review
- Try 90 Day Korean For Free
What Is 90 Day Korean?
90 Day Korean is one of the leading websites for studying Korean. It offers structured courses that guide you from absolute beginner to conversational Korean.
There are actually 4 courses in the paid version of 90 Day Korean, each one 90 days long, hence the name. The first course will allow you to hold a 3 minute conversation in Korean once you’ve completed it. That’s a great achievement in just 3 months.
The way you learn Korean through 90 Day Korean is varied and there are a lot of different resources and courses available, as well as personal support and coaching in the premium Inner Circle course.
The major features of 90 Day Korean that set it above similar sites in the Korean language learning field include the use of modern learning techniques and psychological tools that make learning more efficient. When you study their inner circle course, these tips will be pointed out and you’ll not only learn Korean, you’ll learn to learn better, too.
As the courses offered by 90 Day Korean are online-based, you can study at your own pace. You’ll get friendly reminders by email each week, which will introduce new materials and encourage you to keep studying, but there are no timers or reminders to demand you complete certain courses on set days. Of course, your own motivation should do this, and that’s something 90 Day Korean tries to emphasize.
Regular targets, progression tracking, and personalised feedback in the premium course helps keep you motivated and want to learn more. It’s like a cellphone game where you constantly level up, but instead of killing time, you’re learning a new language and actually using it. 90 Day Korean also improves learner motivation by encouraging community learning with shared discussion forums.
There’s also a 90 Day Korean blog that is regularly updated with useful posts about various topics, offering more dedicated insights into niche subjects like Korean culture, slang words, entertainment-related vocabulary, and lots more.
Who Is 90 Day Korean Designed For?
The 90 Day Korean courses are designed for a wide range of Korean language learners. Whether you plan to travel to Korea for work or pleasure, move to Korea long term, or even stay in your own country and appreciate Korean culture and language from afar, the 90 Day Korean courses will be suitable for you.
The materials provided by 90 Day Korean aren’t dry grammar activities that leave you falling asleep half way through, they’re created to be interesting, entertaining, insightful, and relevant to the real world needs of language learners. They’re also clear, simple and presented in small chunks so you don’t get bored studying one long topic.
If you’re the kind of language learner who wants to not only learn Korean, but also understand more about Korean culture, the subtleties of the language, and how to use the language in different situations, then 90 Day Korean is for you.
90 Day Korean Inner Circle Course
The best way to learn Korean with 90 Day Korean is through the Inner Circle course – their premium course that offers 4 separate 90 day modules that start at beginner and progress to intermediate-advanced level.
If you’re an absolute beginner, then it’s best to start at the very beginning with module 1. Even if you’ve already learned some Korean, starting here can be a good way to remind yourself of what you’ve learned and to fill in some gaps you might have with the basics.
As mentioned, 90 Day Korean not only teaches you Korean, it also teaches you learning techniques and points out effective ways to memorize and learn Korean. A lot of these techniques are found in the first module so it’s useful to cover those, too.
The Inner Circle course is a premium course that involves a monthly or annual fee for access to all the materials, support, forums, and activities. You can pay month-by-month, or sign up for the cheaper annual plans to save money. More on costs later.
You’re free to choose modules and go at your own pace. The costs are the same whether you study for 5 minutes per day or 5 hours. Each module is designed to be completed in 90 days and they’re broken down into weekly units to help you keep manage your schedule.
90 Day Korean Main Course Modules
Korean isn’t an easy language to learn, it’s ranked as a Category IV language by the United States’ Defense Language Institute, putting it in the same group as Arabic, Japanese, and Mandarin. That’s why 90 Day Korean has divided their courses into manageable chunks.
There are a number of weekly units and each weekly unit is broken down into smaller lessons that take around 10 – 30 minutes to complete. These lessons range from introducing and practicing vocabulary and grammar, understanding how the language works, practice activities, and an end-of-unit assignment to complete and share with the rest of the group (not mandatory).
You get the chance to practice all aspects of Korean, not just reading and listening. There are speaking activities to help you practice Korean pronunciation and writing tasks that offer you the chance to use hangul (the Korean alphabet).
The lessons often take on a theme and offer situational challenges connected with using Korean in the real world, making each unit more interesting to learn and relevant.
Below is a breakdown of each of the 4 main courses that are available in the 90 Day Korean Inner Circle course from the 90 Day Korean website. These are split into weekly units and each one focuses on a different part of learning the Korean language, building up from module 1 to module 4 in difficulty.
Module 1: Hold a 3-minute conversation with a local
The first 90-day module gets you up to the point where you’ll be able to maintain a 3-minute conversation with a Korean! You’ll also learn to order in restaurants, take taxis, talk numbers and money, write Hangul, ask and answer questions and make small talk with Koreans. Life will be a lot more independent and you’ll have a lot more options in terms of the conversations you’ll be having and people you’ll be having them with!
Module 2: Interact in Korean just like a local
Wish to take things further? The second 90-day module is all about honing in and upgrading your abilities – adding more subtly and precision to your communication. Sit down and chat with a Korean about your unique past, what you’re doing now in the present and your exciting plans for the future. It’s all about expanding your communication to the point where you’re able to interact just like a local.
Module 3: Become gregarious in Korean
We’ve listened to student feedback and have now created our best module yet – a module completely based off what you told us you wanted! Learn the ins and outs of the language including slang and other forms of communication so you can impress all of your friends, understand all of your favorite dramas and lyrics, be able to talk about everything going on around you, and become an engaging Korean extrovert!
Module 4: Hone in on the subtleties of speaking Korean
Just when you thought it couldn’t get better, module 4 truly delivers! Together, we delve into more of the subtleties of Korean speaking, allowing you to become a polished presenter in the way you communicate — whether it be in the office, the classroom, the streets or your own home! Armed with this knowledge, you’ll bring your Korean level to new heights.
Extras: Bonus lessons for Inner Circle members
Learning a language isn’t a straight line, and people progress at different speeds and take different courses on the path to language success. That’s why there are so many different resources available for you outside the main modules, including activities and discussion forums you can use at any time, regardless of which level you’re on.
Speaking Classes Through Zoom
90 Day Korean Inner Circle members have the option to join speaking classes taught by a native Korean teacher. These speaking classes have been designed to allow you to practice using Korean and to perfect your pronunciation.
These classes are held by Zoom and aren’t a requirement to complete the 90 Day Korean class, but can certainly help you improve your confidence and fluency much more than studying with your nose in a textbook will.
Audio files for the topics that will be practiced in class are available before you join, helping to ease nerves before joining in. After all, speaking can be one of the scariest parts of learning a language, but is definitely one of the most important.
Please note: These speaking classes are only available with the VIP Inner Circle membership, not the Standard Inner Circle membership. More on the differences between VIP and Standard membership later on.
The Korean coach is a native Korean speaker who is assigned to help you learn Korean. They’ll send you emails to see how you’re doing, check your homework, give you tips to learn Korean better, and answer any problems you’re having. They’ll write to you in English and Korean and encourage you to do your best when studying Korean.
If you’ve ever hired a private tutor to help you study Korean (or any other topic), you’ll know that getting personalised feedback and tailored learning tips can be a massive help, not only in learning, but also understanding your progress and improving confidence.
Personal tutors are also not cheap, which makes the Korean coach services offered by 90 Day Korean seem extremely good value and adds a lot to the learning experience in the Inner Circle course.
Communication with your Korean coach is limited to emails and through the website and they won’t answer instantly (hours are Monday to Friday, 9am to 9pm), but they’ll help you out and do their best to answer your queries as soon as possible.
This feature is worth the cost of the membership fee alone as a private tutor can cost as much for 1 or 2 hours as a whole month of 90 Day Korean membership does.
The Korean Gym is where you get to work out your language skills and strengthen them so they’re big and strong. This section of the 90 Day Korean site, only accessible to Inner Circle members, is full of different activities for you to practice what you’ve learned.
The focus on this section is to help increase memorization of the words you’ve seen, as well as improve recall speed and build mental associations in your mind between the Korean word and a trigger story or concept in English.
This isn’t simply a bunch of memorization activities like you’d expect from language learning apps, these activities are designed to train your brain and increase your ability to use and recall these words more naturally. These are based on tried and proven learning techniques that are popular in modern language learning courses.
Personalized Pronunciation Feedback
Membership in the Inner Circle includes personalized pronunciation feedback from a Korean teacher that will help you correct the way you pronounce words so you’re understood by Korean speakers. You’ll get personally tailored feedback that will help you develop your Korean skills more quickly and accurately.
90 Day Korean Community Forums
This is like the Reddit of Korean language learning. There are useful forums where you can discuss your particular interests in Korea and Korean culture, such as K-Pop, K-Dramas, history, life, and so much more.
Being able to discuss and share your love of a certain part of Korea can definitely improve your motivation for learning the language. Not only that, you can also share and get tips from other Korean learners and learn from each other regardless of what level you’re currently at in your Korean learning journey.
The 90 Day Korean community forums are also designed to post your homework, introduce yourself, make friends, and share your success (or troubles) learning Korean. Of course, this is a forum for learning Korean, so you can write in Korean (or English) and get some real life practice using the language, as well as feedback from other learners.
How Much Does The Inner Circle Course Cost?
There are 2 versions of the 90 Day Korean Inner Circle course – Standard and VIP. As you can see in the picture below, both options are available with monthly or annual membership options, with the annual version of both saving you a lot of money.
The Standard Inner Circle membership costs $35 per month or $249 per year, which works out as $20.75 per month. This gives you access to all the Inner Circle courses and community forums.
The VIP Inner Circle membership costs $49 per month or $379 per year, which is roughly $31.60 per month. This gives you access to everything previously mentioned about the Inner Circle course, as well as the personal coaching, homework grading, pronunciation feedback, and online speaking classes.
The difference between these two forms of membership will be discussed next.
90 Day Korean Standard Vs. VIP Inner Circle Course
The price difference between the Standard Inner Circle course and the VIP Inner Circle course is around $11-14 per month, depending on whether you pay monthly or annually. For the higher price you get a lot of extra benefits, as shown in the table below.
The VIP Inner Circle membership gives you access to online speaking classes, which are taught by a native Korean teacher, as well as personalized pronunciation feedback, homework grading, and 1:1 personal coaching. These are definitely premium features that will help advance any Korean language learner’s progress and ensure higher levels of fluency and accuracy.
The Standard Inner Circle membership still has a lot of value without the personal feedback and coaching, however. The Inner Circle materials are well produced and laid out in a way that will help learners progress from beginner to intermediate-level Korean speakers. The activities, community, and tests are all available, which are essential for checking and sharing your progress with others.
Free Materials From 90 Day Korean
Before offering thoughts about what’s good and bad about 90 Day Korean, here are some free materials that the website offers for language learners. These are detailed guides that help you learn the alphabet, Korean numbers, the basics of the Korean language, as well as interesting information about life and culture in Korea.
You can read and learn from any of these materials without joining up. There’s also a free sample lesson which offers a downloadable PDF to introduce you to Korean and weekly emails with more fun information about Korea and learning Korean.
90 Day Korean Inner Circle Review
So, is the 90 Day Korean Inner Circle membership worth the money? Before answering that question, let’s take a look at what’s good with the course and what could be improved.
What’s Good About The 90 Day Korean Inner Circle?
Here are some of the best things about the 90 Day Korean Inner Circle course and why it can help you learn Korean more easily and effectively than other methods of studying:
- Simple to understand and follow
- Lessons broken into small parts
- Can learn at your own pace
- Focused on learning, not memorization
- Teaches you how to learn
- Dedicated to the Korean language
- Personalized feedback and support
- Run by native Korean speakers
- Wide variety of activities
- Shared learning experience & community
- Goals and achievements make learning fun
- Weekly assignments & reminders keep you on track
- App and web based learning
- 30 day money back guarantee
As you can see, there’s a lot to love about the 90 Day Korean Inner Circle course.
What Can Be Improved?
Of course, nothing is ever perfect and there are a few downsides to the 90 Day Korean Inner Circle. Not terrible things, but things that could be (and might be) improved to make the service better. Here are some things that could be improved:
- The members area can be hard to use at first. There are a lot of options (which is great) and it can take a few clicks and tries to get to the content or course you’re looking for. The site could be simplified and the app could do with a bit of polish.
- Some basic phrases aren’t taught until later on in the beginner’s module. Commonly used Korean phrases for travel and meeting other people were not taught until after week 5 and could have been introduced earlier to allow people to start using them immediately.
- While the bite-sized chunks are great for learning over a long time, and you can do as many as you want each day, this isn’t a fast way to learn Korean. There’s a lot of material to cover and it is explained thoroughly and comprehensively (which is also great). If you’re looking for a quick way to jump into Korean and focus more on conversation, then other methods might be more useful.
- There are cheaper ways to learn Korean. This isn’t so much a criticism of the 90 Day Korean Inner Circle, as it’s certainly value for money considering how much you get for the fee, but you can learn at home through textbooks for a lower price. However, the 90 Day Korean courses and personalized support can offer a lot more than other methods of learning Korean can. Check out our guide to the Best Ways To Learn Korean for more information about how you can learn Korean at home.
- The Korean Gym has good activities, but more types of activities could be useful to different learners, especially those who want to keep practicing more to gain confidence and who learn in different ways.
Overall, these are issues that can be overcome and certainly won’t stop you from learning Korean effectively with the 90 Day Korean Inner Circle course. The value of the course is something that will depend on your own commitment to learning Korean.
Is The 90 Day Korean Inner Circle Worth It?
Yes. The 90 Day Korean Inner Circle course is certainly worth the investment if you’re serious about learning Korean. Korean is a difficult language to learn, especially for English speakers. The sentence structure of Korean is not the same as English and the way verbs and adjectives work isn’t always the same as you’d find in English.
For the additional benefits the VIP membership offers vs. the Standard membership, if you are dedicated to learning Korean, then this would be the best option for you. Even though the VIP membership costs more, you can develop your Korean skills more effectively and at the end of the course you should sound more like a native Korean speaker and converse more fluently.
The 30 day money back guarantee is a real selling point for this course as it allows you to try out the contents with 30 days to decide if it’s suitable for you. After you join the course, you can email them and ask for a full refund. The team is really helpful and will sort out your requests quickly.
The friendly staff at 90 Day Korean is one of the other reasons that the Inner Circle course, especially the VIP membership option, is definitely value for money. They respond to emails quickly, do their best to help you, provide useful and easy to understand feedback about your Korean learning adventure, and are active in the community forums.
Learning Korean with 90 Day Korean Inner Circle feels like you’re being taught by a private tutor, but with the flexibility to learn at your own pace and on your own schedule. The ability to learn on either a computer or mobile device allows you to study whenever you’re free, whether that’s 10 minutes on the bus or for an hour at night before bed.
If you’re an absolute beginner, the Inner Circle course will explain the basics, teach you to read and write Korean, and put you on the path to successful Korean conversations within 3 months (or before). For those who already know some Korean, you can breeze through the beginner classes as a useful refresher and get into some deeper content and learn many new language skills. Even for advanced learners, there’s so much to pick up and enjoy from the varied resources and community at 90 Day Korean.
What Other People Say About 90 Day Korean
Still not decided whether the 90 Day Korean Inner Circle is right for you? Here are a few reviews from other learners to help you figure out if it’s right for you or not.
90 Day Korean is absolutely amazing! This program is better than others because the lessons are well-organized, easy to understand, and make learning Korean fun! For people like myself who are busy and don’t have a lot of time to learn, it’s the best way to study. I recommend this program to anyone wanting to learn Korean the right way. 감사합니다 90 Day Korean!Cameron Borkert – Inner Circle Member
Life in Korea is totally different for me now. I used to be one of those guys fumbling around with a mix of English and Korean whenever I’d try to communicate. Now I can talk in Korean with confidence when I order food, ask questions at a store, or talk with Koreans. I’m not a natural language learner, but it was quite easy using 90 Day Korean’s teaching methods. It’s been a lot of fun, and I’ve recommended their program to all my friends. It’s easy and it works.Evan Bleker – Inner Circle Member
Try 90 Day Korean For Free
If you want to try 90 Day Korean for free, check out all of the awesome resources offered by 90 Day Korean right here.
Traveling To Korea Soon?
Are you traveling to Korea soon and want to try putting your new Korean language skills to go use? Need information about the current travel restrictions and regulations? Or maybe you want to know what else there is to see and do in Korea, and what other unmissable experiences there are be had in Seoul and beyond?
If so, be sure to check out our South Korea Travel Guide for more info about what to see, where to stay, when to visit, and everything else you need to plan your trip to Korea. And be sure to brush up on Korean Etiquette and Culture to avoid making any cultural faux pas. Learn some Korea before you travel with our guide to the Best Ways To Learn Korean and travel more easily.
The best time to visit Seoul is definitely in spring or fall, where you can see cherry blossoms and fall foliage respectively. January and February are good if you want to enjoy winter sports and possibly see snow. Summer is best spent on Korea’s sandy beaches.
Now, here are a few more tips to help you make your trip to Seoul more comfortable and guarantee you a great stay in the Land of Morning Calm. Check out these hotel recommendations and some of our favorite Korea travel essentials.
Where To Stay In Seoul To See Beautiful Places
Want to know where to stay to see these beautiful places in Seoul? Want to be close to the royal palaces and traditional hanok houses, or in the heart of modern Korean culture, street food, and fashion? Not sure of the most convenient places to stay with good subway connections, great nearby restaurants, or lively nightlife?
Whether you’re traveling on a budget, want to spend on the best service available, or want to balance both, we’ve selected 9 of the best Seoul hotels that you’ll love. Click on the name of each hotel to check prices.
If you want the best the Seoul has to offer, then these three hotels are for you. Located in Seoul’s wealthy neighborhoods of Gangnam and Itaewon, these hotels are in walking distance of Michelin-starred restaurants, chic boutiques, galleries and museums, and the finest shopping experiences available.
Signiel Hotel Seoul ★★★★★
One of the best hotels in Korea, if not the world, the Signiel Hotel Seoul is inside the world’s 6th tallest building – the Lotte World Tower – and will give you an incredible stay in Seoul. Experience unbeatable views from the Seoul Sky Observatory on the 117th floor.
Grand Hyatt Seoul ★★★★★
This sleek hotel is tucked away in a peaceful residential area with trendsetting fashion boutiques, cozy cafes & upmarket restaurants, all within sight of the N Seoul Tower. The views from the hotel are spectacular.
InterContinental Seoul Parnas ★★★★★
The hotel is adjacent to COEX Mall with convenient access to one of the topmost shopping, entertainment, and business complexes in Korea. Guest rooms and suites feature floor-to-ceiling windows, offering a sophisticated ambiance to unwind and relax.
Families, couples, and other travelers that want to experience the best of Seoul without breaking the bank can sleep easy with these next three hotel recommendations. Discover stylish accommodations in these popular districts, each with fantastic city views. These hotels are all conveniently located for sightseeing, shopping, and eating out. Great hotels with reasonable prices.
Mondrian Seoul Itaewon ★★★★★
Mondrian Seoul Itaewon is an immersive lifestyle destination fueled by bold, captivating designs expressed through a playful mindset–an ideal choice both for forward-thinking locals and for international visitors who are looking for fresh and exciting cultural experiences.
Four Points by Sheraton Seoul ★★★★
Explore vibrant Gangnam and famous local attractions including Apgujeong and Garosugil, the Han River, museums and the Hyundai Department Store. Immerse yourself in K-pop culture and K-beauty experiences, great shopping, trendy restaurants and famous lounge bars and clubs.
Lotte Hotel Seoul ★★★★★
Step outside the hotel and you’ll find yourself in Myeongdong, one of Seoul’s most popular district for tourists, with royal palaces, famous markets, street food stalls, and a wealth of shopping all a few footsteps away. This hotel is a great base for busy travelers.
Seoul has a wealth of budget accommodation options that will help make your money go further. These hotels are all under $100 but offer comfort and convenience. One hotel even has a beautiful rooftop pool. Although these hotels are cheaper, don’t lower your expectations. You’ll always find great service in Korea. Save on sleeping to spend more on shopping, souvenirs, sights, and all the other fun things there are to do in Seoul.
L7 Hongdae by Lotte ★★★★
L7 Hongdae is a delightful cultural station, filled with chic and artistic decorations and colorful rooms that resonate with the stylish inhabitants of the neighborhood. Travelers looking for a relaxing place to stay in a trendy area will love this hotel.
Rosana Boutique Hotel ★★★★
The Rosana Boutique Hotel is a stylish hotel that offers a comfortable night’s stay at budget prices. Located under the shadow of the world’s 6th tallest building – The Lotte World Tower, this is a great hotel for bargain hunters who want beautiful surroundings without 5-star prices.
Mercure Ambassador Hongdae ★★★★
Well known for urban arts, indie music, clubs, restaurants and various entertainment offerings, Hongdae is where you can experience the
Our Recommended Korea Travel Essentials
From mobile internet to travel passes that save you time and money getting around, here are some of our top tips for when you visit Seoul.
Flights To Korea: Check prices on flight search sites like Skyscanner and Expedia before booking your flights. You can find some amazing discounts and flights to match your schedule from 100s of different airlines.
Getting To Seoul From Incheon Airport: Ride the Airport Express high-speed train to Seoul Station and connect to the subway system and local taxis. However, if you’re traveling as a group, or have a lot of luggage, an Incheon Airport Private Transfer direct to your hotel is a lot more comfortable.
Transportation: Grab a T-Money Card as soon as you arrive at Incheon Airport. You can use it to ride the subway, buses, and pay for purchases in shops, cafes, convenience stores, and more.
Mobile Internet: Internet access makes traveling so much easier these days. Check the weather, get around, order food, book tickets, and so much more. Best of Korea recommends a Korean Sim Card if you want to use Korean apps (you need a number), or a Portable WiFi Router if you just want Internet access without the number. Preorder online and collect at the airport.
Discover Seoul Pass: If you want to see some of Seoul’s hottest attractions, definitely buy a Discover Seoul Pass. This will get you free entry to the N Seoul Tower, COEX Aquarium, Lotte World, Royal Palaces, and lots more. You even get a free T-Money Card and Airport Express Ride with the card.
Keep checking Best of Korea for all of the latest travel recommendations and travel advice.
Thanks for reading.