Memrise aka How to make Korean friends

Since I was a teenager I have loved watching K-dramas and listening to K-Pop.

My plan was always to actually learn the language ‘someday’, but being the non-committal blob of a human that I am, I never got around to it! Enter: Memrise

For a lady of leisure such as myself, an app that promised to ‘unlock my superpowers’ (teach me any language I wanted to learn) sounded perfect. I could do whatever amount of time that suited me and the notifications were enough to keep me logging in each day and doing the course bit by bit (can’t stand those unread notifications).

Now let me break down the features for ya…

Free Features

Learn – You can begin any number of courses you wish to (there is no limit on the free account)! There is a huge selection to choose from within the Memrise (quality assured) courses and then even more options through the user-generated courses (although not checked by Memrise – so could be a bit iffy). The focus is definitely on language learning for beginners, but there are plenty of other topics to learn all about as well! With languages, you must start from scratch and unlock more difficult words etc as you progress. If you are already slightly proficient in a language you can always skip the foundation course.

Review – This is where you get tested on the words you have learnt. There are several different and very effective methods in which the app tests your memory, so it isn’t simply memorizing a flashcard.

My favourite, by far, is when you get little videos of locals saying the words. You also unlock some of the pro features, like Difficult Words, from time to time, which really keeps things fresh and engaging.

Pro Features

Grammabot (selected languages only)- Grammabot will chat with you to  improve your grammar in the language of your choice. It teaches you rules and gives you tips and tricks to assist with accuracy and fluency. I didn’t try this feature myself, as it wasn’t available for the Korean courses.

Speed Review  (Is free on the android app) – This is a fun and slightly stressful way to review the words you’ve been learning. Time limits really make you choose on instinct and see what you’ve actually taken onboard!

Difficult Words – The memrise algorithm marks words you have been struggling with as ‘difficult’ and then makes sure you practice them enough in the ‘Difficult Word’ sessions. Probably the most useful Pro feature by far!

Listening Skills – You get tested with voice clips in the Free mode as well, but listening skills focuses solely on your oral comprehension. I found this suuuuper helpful with Korean, because characters can be pronounced so many different ways!

Meet The Natives (is only available on the app) – I really love this feature. Seeing locals bring the words to life and give you a taste of what conversing with a native speaker would be like is very helpful.

Chatbots (selected languages only) – This is a conversation test and learning format which seems pretty fun! This wasn’t available for the course I was doing, so I don’t have personal experience with it.

Offline Mode – You can download courses for offline learning, which is pretty dang handy if you’ve run out of data and still want to be productive in the Doctor’s waiting room (or wherever you need to kill time without Wifi).

Basically, Memrise is an awesome learning app for beginners. You get HEAPS of content for free and the pro features are a worthwhile investment if you have the money to spare.  It gave me the confidence to join a Korean class with other students and has become a great revision tool to go alongside those classes. So if there’s something you’ve been meaning to start learning, get yourself a Memrise account and put in as little or as much time as you can each day! Have I really made Korean friends thanks to Memrise you ask? Yes! I have met and introduced myself to my elderly Korean neighbours who hardly speak any English – now they wave and come and say hello whenever we see each other out for a walk. I’ve become a favourite at my local korean sushi shop and it gives me an extra connection point with my awesome Korean colleagues Brian & Dal.

Check out the Memrise app here!

Memrise is also introducing a Pronunciation Mode, which looks pretty awesome! I didn’t get to try it out myself, but will include a video about it below for you to check out:


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