12 In Korean learning journey (:/ korean textbook reviews

[Review] 유학생을 위한 대학한국어 1 (말하기|듣기)

Ask me what textbook series I recommend for self-studying Korean and I would definitely tell you to get the Ewha Korean series.

I have such a favourable impression of that series (textbooks + workbooks + study guides) that I was pretty eager to check out other books published by them.

Received these books and immediately took a liking to them. As much as I love new edition textbooks with pretty graphics and designs, I have a fondness for slightly old-style textbooks where it’s just good content, without all the frills or deco.

And this is it.


I have only flipped through the green one in passing, so today I’m focusing more on the blue book.

As the title suggests, these books are mainly geared towards foreigners who want to study in Korea and hence focuses on academic Korean.

Which I love.

I have been looking for such a book (a good one) for so long and glad I finally found it!

Review under cut


There are so many reasons why I love this book and I shall try to list the major ones.

1. Academic Korean phrases

When it comes to writing reports or giving presentations, most of the time you would find yourself needing to cite facts, present numbers, give evidence etc. Even in English, there are set phrases being used, such as “According to XX’s report on YY..” etc. You know what I mean.

I still remember wanting to learn these phrases so badly that I went to compile a Google doc list for stats reporting, trends description etc.

This book has everything you need!!!


And that is enough reason to buy the book. Really.

Every chapter introduces a substantial number of such expressions, grouped in different themes and they are extremely useful.

(note: For TOPIK 2 there is a writing question on stats description – this book would be great for preparation!!)

2. Dictation exercises

Call me a nerd but I love dictation! As this book is focused on listening and speaking, there are quite a number of listening exercises, one of which is fill-in-the-blanks after hearing the sentence being spoken. It’s a fine way of learning vocabulary, constructing sentences and also training your listening skills.


3. Long listening practices

The listening practices here are of substantial length, which I absolutely appreciate. Sometimes it’s not the content that stumps learners, but rather the duration. Transcripts are available at the back of the book, so it’s great to check your comprehension.

The exercises that comes with it are varied, I usually do the MCQ ones and leave out open-ended ones.

Personally I would use this as a pronunciation practice too to check my intonation and flow against the audio.


As this book wasn’t perhaps meant for self-learners, there are quite a number of those open-ended discussion style questions for classroom usage. But that doesn’t make the book irrelevant to self-learners because there are loads of ways you can use the book and it’s really about getting creative and making the content work for you.

To share a little of how I’m using the book (besides the err normal way..), I try to test my 받아쓰기 dictation skills by writing out the transcript for those short listening practices (see above picture). I would listen to the audio a few times and write down what is being said . It is fine practice, because sometimes I get my 뛰어쓰기 wrong and at times it just helps me reinforce sentence construction etc.

You will be surprised at how much you can learn from just writing out stuff. You might be able to understand the dialogues but perhaps your 맞춤법 might be wrong once you start writing stuff.

I’m also currently very focused on trying to refine by 이/가/은/는 knowledge. So I’ve taken to highlighting all these particles in the book and paying special attention to them!


Not sure if you guys can see but I’m using a green highlighter for normal notes / stuff I wanna focus on and a grey one for all the 4 particles! (:

Overall, I love love love this book and would definitely recommend it for anyone who is really interested in business/academic Korean or basically just being good in Korean!

As this book requires a certain level of Korean proficiency, I would recommend it best for people who is around a TOPIK 5, but I guess if you want to challenge yourself, you can use the book as long as you are around an intermediate level! 😀

Like I always say, you can only get better once you start doing it and not wait for that elusive day when you are “finally good”.

I’ll be reviewing the green book at a later time so if you are curious, here’s how it looks like!!


Potentially great, I love long reading passages 😀


What I love:

  • Great introduction and explanation of set phrases used in academic Korean
  • Long listening practices
  • Dictation exercises
  • General feeling that there’s loads to learn
  • Great structure, easy to understand and not boring (even though there’s no fancy colours / graphics / design)

To be improved:

  • Nothing much
  • There can be quite a number of open-ended exercises but there’s always a way to work around them and apply them to your own learning!

All in all, super highly recommended for intermediate learners and above, especially to those who are serious about learning the language beyond conversational and daily stuff!

Twochois currently doesn’t carry the books but I’m sure you guys can email them if you want to purchase them together with other books! ^^ If you are in Seoul, these books are available in Hangulpark bookstore. Or you can always try G-market or other sites!

Please leave a comment if you found this review helpful! Or share your opinions too!

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  • Reply
    26 February, 2016 at 3:01 PM

    Thank you for the informative review as usual.

    Do you maybe have any tips on saving money when ordering books from Korea? Books are usually rather heavy and EMS shipping, which seems to be the only option for Gmarket, gets prohibitively expensive when ordering from Europe. Not to mention that using EMS usually means one has to pay import taxes.

    And while twochois does offer Airmale mode of shipping, it seems they require 15% service fee for any book they don’t have in stock?

    • Reply
      26 February, 2016 at 3:16 PM

      Woah I didn’t know it will be really expensive in Europe. I usually order via EMS so I don’t really have any advice D: Sorry!
      Best to check with twochois on their shipping modes (:
      (sorry I’m not being very helpful hereㅠㅠ)

      • Reply
        28 February, 2016 at 12:48 PM

        It’s alright, thank you for the effort.

        (I just noticed how I spelled Airmail. I can’t stop laughing)

  • Reply
    27 February, 2016 at 3:10 AM

    This would have been so helpful when I was preparing for the TOPIK! I’ll check it out when I have the chance. Thanks for the review 🙂

    • Reply
      27 February, 2016 at 9:04 AM

      Thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    27 February, 2016 at 3:14 AM

    Hi Shanna, just wondering if all these books you review are sponsored/ given by twochois for free? 😮

    • Reply
      27 February, 2016 at 9:04 AM

      The books I own now are a mix of those I bought and those I get for free (: but in any case, my reviews are entirely my own honest thoughts! ^^

  • Reply
    5 March, 2016 at 9:44 PM

    Thanks! I love workbooks so def getting this after I’m done with my TOPIK books.

  • Reply
    Princess Scotton
    1 April, 2016 at 7:39 AM

    Is there any way i can order this off of amazon?

  • Reply
    1 April, 2016 at 7:40 AM

    Is there any way i can order this off of amazon? Or a website like that?

    • Reply
      1 April, 2016 at 1:16 PM

      you can try gmarket or twochois (:

  • Reply
    24 April, 2017 at 3:39 PM

    Is the whole book in korean? The heading and the questions?
    I would prefer if the heading is in English so I can understand what it’s about!
    Do you recommend it for beginners?

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