I still had a couple of weeks until the start of the semester at the Yonsei KLI and I already played through Bae-Yong Joon Korean language learning Nintendo DS game. That’s when I found out about Hangul Kongbubang, a free Korean class in Seoul taught by volunteers.
They have five levels available from beginners to advanced levels. The only cost is the textbook (15000 Won) and a donation for copies and teaching supplies (voluntary). Classes are usually bigger than at Yonsei and the free lessons are more relaxed compared to a commercial language school such as the Korean Language Institute at Yonsei. Another difference is that the two lowest levels are taught in English and Korean. This is not the case at Yonsei KLI or Naganuma where teaching is done entirely in the target language.
For some it may be one of the few times actually practicing Korean. Not everyone is good at self study after all. However, you still need to do your homework!
Amazingly, field trips and cooking are also part of the curriculum. Since I only studied at Hangul Kongbubang to pass the time until my semester at Yonsei KLI would start, I only joined the cooking lesson. Of course I still could’ve gone to the free lessons back then, but I quickly adjusted to life in Korea and found other ways to socialize – and four hours of daily studying at Yonsei + homework + tests were more than enough.
Hangul Kongbubang (literally: Korean Study Room) still exists as of 2021. If you just arrived in Seoul, studying and socializing there is a great idea.