It’s been more than 2 months since I came back from my 2-week stint learning the Korean language in South Korea with Lexis Korea. I thought I’d give myself some time to actually let it all seep in (and also let the excitement die down) before finally sitting down to write about my experience. I am definitely missing Korea, reminiscing all the fun I had while I was there, trying to remember everything I have learned; and now, writing how I felt studying in both Lexis Seoul and Busan, and doing a comparison of both.
So what is Lexis Korea? Even though I’ve written on the language centre in both my Seoul and Busan posts — here’s a short write-up on what it is all about. Lexis Korea is a language centre in South Korea, and proud winner of the prestigious STM World School Award, an award voted on by industry professionals world-wide. It has two campuses in two of the country’s biggest cities — Seoul and Busan. The language centre offers several courses (of all levels); and provides its students not only the opportunity to learn the Korean language, but also to live in the city, be a part of everyday life, and to explore and learn more about the country.
Lexis Korea offers several types of Korean language courses in both its schools. What I like about the system at Lexis Korea is that they allow students to enroll for a minimum of 1 week (until of course, for as many weeks as you need to master the language) — so even for a traveler looking to learn a little bit of the language, they could do so while touring the country.
Korean Language Courses
Lexis Korea offers full-time courses (15 and 25 hours a week), to one-on-one and weekend courses. My main purpose in South Korea was to study the language, so I decided to go for the Intensive 25 hours a week course. The course had me attending morning classes (core text – grammar and vocabulary) from 9am-12.15pm, and then afternoon classes (more practical and conversational) from 1.15pm-3.30pm. Prices for the course starts at KR₩320K~US$320 per week for the first 1-4 weeks, and reduces weekly for those who study for a longer period.
The Intensive 15 hours a week course only has the morning session, for those who want more free time (perhaps to explore the city). Prices for this more flexible course starts at KR₩240K~US$240 per week for the first 1-4 weeks. Click here for a more detailed calculation of the course fees.
As I was a non-speaker, I was placed in the Foundation Class for a week, and then advanced to the Beginner Class on my 2nd week. The time needed for the full course at Lexis Korea is as follows (considering you pass all the tests at the beginning of the week):-
Foundation – 1 week
Beginner – 4 weeks
Elementary – 8 weeks
Pre-Intermediate – 12 weeks
Intermediate – 12 weeks
Upper-Intermediate – 12 weeks
Advanced – 12 weeks
It definitely takes a long time to actually master a language! I’m just glad that after 2 weeks of studying Korean, I could at least utter a few words for an ‘almost’ decent conversation, and form a few proper sentences. And of course, feeling mighty smart whenever I recognise words/sentences while watching my favourite K-dramas!
Lexis Korea makes it easy for students who want to come to study the language in the country by offering several accommodation options. There are homestays where you get to live with a local family, serviced apartments for a more comfortable and higher standard (and more costly) room choice, and the more budget-friendly mini studios (or goshiwon in Korean). During both my studies in Seoul and Busan, I was put up in the mini-studios — the Simple House in Seoul, and the Yangjeong Ministudio in Busan.
Mini-studios are basically just one bedroom apartments for the working class, and the university students who just need a place to crash while working and studying in the city. They are usually super small and narrow but with the basic furnishings like a single bed, a small wardrobe and drawers, desk, chair, small fridge and television, as well as a tiny private bathroom. It really does take a little getting used too — I was claustrophobic at first, but it got better (though I stayed out most of the time). Both the mini-studios that I stayed at were well maintained with shared facilities like washing machines and cooking equipment with free rice, ramen and kimchi. A week’s stay cost about KR₩154K~US$154 in Seoul; and KR₩126K~US$126 in Busan.
If a more family-oriented stay in the city is what you’re looking for, Lexis Korea also arranges homestays with local families. Most of my junior (under 18 years old) school mates were placed in homestays — it helps to have a ‘mum’ look after you for breakfasts (and dinners for half-boarders), and to give curfews too. I was always a little jealous when they showed me pictures of their delicious home-cooked meals! Homestay rates per week are priced at KR₩224K~US$224 (for B&B) and KR₩294K~US$294 (half-board).
For a more comprehensive list of the accommodations prices, as well as the course prices and dates, check it out here. Lexis Korea also charges an Accommodation Placement Fee of KR₩150K per every request, and a KR₩50K cleaning fee for mini-studios when we check out.
Which Campus — Seoul or Busan?
So which Lexis Korea campus was better, Seoul or Busan? One of my classmates actually asked me this question during my second week of studies in Seoul, and to tell you the truth, I didn’t know how to answer her. Both campuses offered me such a different experience that I wouldn’t want to trade either one for the other!
Busan in My Heart
In Busan — I enjoyed the smaller classes I was in, with more personalised attention from my teacher. There were only 3 students, and somehow when I didn’t understand something, I didn’t feel so reluctant to ask. It was easier to make friends as well because of the smaller size of the centre, and it also just happened that most of the students I ended up making friends with stayed around the same area (and mini-studio) as I.
And Busan is by the sea! I am a beach girl at heart, and am totally in love with the ocean; so I loved that every day after classes I could choose one of the many beaches around the city to spend the evening. Sometimes I had company, and sometimes I didn’t — but it didn’t matter because I was by the beach. There always is a certain charm around a city by the beach… the pace is a little slower, people seem a little more relaxed, and time somehow stays still. That’s the charm of Busan.
Seoul of my Soul
In Seoul — classes are much bigger than in Busan. Even though I did have a little difficulty catching up with my much ‘smarter’ classmates, I was never short of help from so many of them. A big class also meant that classes were more fun, we had more laughs, and we could get away with looking down and hoping the teacher doesn’t pick us to answer a question!
And of course, Seoul is Seoul and days in the capital city are always full of excitement. There is never a boring day — and I spent evenings and weekends going about with my school mates exploring the city, eating, and heading to the noraebang (karaoke centres) night after night. I visited the jimjillbang (Korean sauna), joined a K-pop dance class, and even got the chance to meet old college mates for a night about a city-that-never-sleeps. Oh, how I absolutely love life (and all the opportunities) in Seoul.
Why Not Choose Both?
I love Busan and the ocean, and I love Seoul and its excitement. That being said, there is definitely no way I can choose between studying in Seoul and Busan, so my conclusion would be this — STUDY AT BOTH CAMPUSES FOR THE FULL EXPERIENCE!
And there really isn’t any hassle to opt to study in both campuses. You can spend a week, or many weeks in one campus; and then decide to shift to another — either from Seoul to Busan or from Busan to Seoul. The curriculum is exactly the same across both campuses, and when I shifted from my first week in Busan to my second week in Seoul, the Seoul campus had already received all my details from Busan and I didn’t even have to do anything at all. I just went on to class!
I am so glad I got the chance to study in both Lexis Korea’s Seoul and Busan campuses, and experience the best of both cities. And that’s exactly what I told my Seoul classmate.
My Experience with Lexis Korea
So what has happened between the two months since my experience learning the Korean language with Lexis Korea? I have to admit that due to work commitments and the constant traveling — I haven’t actually been able to continue my studies back home despite planning to do so in the beginning. But I have been revising what I have learned while in South Korea (basically speaking to myself because none of my close friends understand Korean) — the workbooks and my notes are pretty comprehensive; and constantly watching my favourite K-dramas, of course.
On my next long break (hopefully soon), I do hope to return to South Korea to continue my studies again, and stay a little longer this time. I am missing the 2-weeks of fun I had in a country that has always intrigued me, and I am really so thankful to Lexis Korea for the opportunity to study the language while exploring and living in both its biggest cities. Now the question is, which city should I head back to? Seoul? Busan? Probably both. Again.
Click below for more information, and to experience the fun of learning Korean in South Korea:-
*She Walks the World went to learn the Korean language in South Korea, thanks to Lexis Korea. However, as always, all opinions and suggestions stated here are my own.