Sources of Information on South Korea

Korea has a history dating back about 3,000 years, and a past century more tumultuous than most countries. The pace of development here is so fast you can certainly get by in Korea without paying too much attention to the past. To live someplace without knowing its history though, is an insult to your hosts and a wasted opportunity for yourself. There are several great ways to learn more about Korea, both while you’re here, and before you arrive. There are dozens of books to read, websites to explore, and dependable online news outlets to peruse. Check these out!

Korea Old and New: A History is a fairly academic take on Korea’s old and recent history. Compiled by 5 leading Korea experts and thus reads a bit more like a textbook than a history narrative.
Korea’s Place in the Sun is written by an American expat (Bruce Cumings) who has lived in Korea for decades. He has a slightly more personal take on Korea’s recent history.
The Two Koreas focuses more on the relationship between North and South. This subject is covered in the other two, but not nearly as in depth as Oberdorfer does here.

News Outlets
Yonhap News Agency is the largest news organization in Korea, with about 550 journalists on staff. It has a great English language site. One of the best places to get news as most Koreans do.
The Chosun Ilbo is another large news organization in Korea with a good English language site. Not quite as professional as Yonhap but still great.
The Korean Herald is Korea’s English language newspaper. It is a much smaller organization and reports on a much narrower field of news, but it is also geared more towards the expat community. A must read for those in Korea or hoping to come here soon.
The New York Times also has a South Korea “Topics” page that has a short overview of South Korea and links to all is articles on the country.

North Korean Economy Watch is an interesting blog dedicated tocovering developing issues in North Korea, especially economic ones. An interesting place to go for those interested in what happens north of the DMZ.
Ask a Korean is my favorite Korean blog. Its actually written by a Korean American living in New York who responds to questions about Korea, mostly from expats currently living in Korea. This is a great placeto go for information on Korean customs, pop culture, and things you might not want to ask your Korean co-teacher.
The Daily Kimchi is a blog written by a Canadian couple that used toteach in Korea. It is a little outdated now but has lots of interesting and informative posts about what its like to live in Korea.
Korea Blog Aggregator is a useful collection of posts put together my The Marmot’s Hole (another Korean blog). It has lots of updates and is very current.

Korean Pop Culture
Mysoju is a great website if you want to watch Korean dramas. These dramas are a bit like American soap operas, but much more hip. They are the most watched TV shows in Korea and one of the anchors of Korean pop culture. This site allows you to watch them over the web with English subtitles.
All Kpop is a site devoted to the other anchor or Korean pop culture….Korean pop music, aka Kpop. The site is devoted to news on all things Kpop.
Youtube is a great place to go if you want to watch/listen to kpop. A quick search for “kpop” will give you more than you need.

Korean Language
Youtube is also a good place to go to start learning Korean. Search for "learn Korean" and you'll find a number of video lessons on reading and speaking.
Learn-Korean is a useful free site with lessons on learning to read and speak Korean.