I wrote in my previous blog post that I had started watching the much-hyped drama 별에서 온 그대. I’m now halfway into it, and I am amazed on so many levels. I simply just love the story, the characters, and the chemistry.  I had known of this drama for a while, but somehow the idea of a non-aging alien living on earth for 400 years and finally falling in love with a modern-day movie star kept me off. I honestly don’t know why, as this does not seem all that peculiar compared to all the other stories that unfold in Korean Dramaland. On top of that I had never really been a fan of Kim Soo Hyun, I actually always thought him a bit of a flowerboy.

Oh, but would I soon come to change that perception!! He is in fact portraying this awesome character of Do Min Joon (alien, turned Joseon guy, turned banker, turned doctor, turned college professor) in a super masculine way. I caught myself thinking throughout all of the first episode: “Wow, he’s actually a very fine-looking man!” Welcome into my male K-star top 5, Sir! I’ve even added a few pics for your enjoyment.

Looking sharp
Looking thoughtful and sharp in that suit. (He wears a suit a lot in this drama!)
Deep in thoughts by his desk in the most amazing home library ever!
The main couple. They look amazing together and have the greatest chemistry. A real Noona-romance indeed, as she is in fact 7 years older than him. 
In the company of me in a TheFaceShop in Canada. (Can’t help but feel slightly underdressed next to the tuxedo)

Okay, I know I’ve rambled on for a bit now, and as the title reads this post was actually going to be about something completely different: Korean subtitles! Until now I’ve always watched Korean dramas with either English subtitles or none at all. It never occurred to me that Korean subtitles could be this effective for my learning. In a way it’s kind of strange because that is exactly how I used to improve my English when I was younger. I can’t begin the count how many English subtitled “Friends” episodes I have watched as a teenager.

I discovered that viki in fact has Korean subtitles on quite a few of their dramas, and to my knowledge they are the only streaming service that offers this option. But why is this method so effective? There are several reasons for this:

  1. You increase your reading speed, as subtitles change quite fast
  2. You improve your pronunciation as you hear words pronounced while reading them
  3. You understand more of the dialogue because you may rely on both reading and listening
  4. It is much easier to look up new words and phrases since you can see how they are spelled
  5. You remember words more easily when you hear them in a context and see them spelled out at the same time

So far I have seen 11 episodes relying only on Korean subtitles and I’m pleased to find my comprehension rate around 90%. I don’t even feel that reading the subtitles is particularly tiring but I also never watch more than two episodes per day. I write all new and interesting vocabulary down in my notebook, but I leave out the English translation to force my brain the memorize the meaning of each word. Since all words are learned in a context, memorizing them becomes a lot easier.

Anyone else learning with Korean subtitles? Or did you watch this drama? What do you think?


  1. They have acted together before. They were a semi-item in 도둑들, which was hilarious. It’s definitely worth watching – not only because of them, but because it’s just happens to be a good movie overall.
    (Avoid the dramacool version, though, since the subtitles are just plain confusing and you cannot remove them so you spend a disproportionate amount of time thinking “that’s not what he said!!!”)


  2. I typically watch web dramas with the Korean subtitles only, because I think it has easier/ more everyday language because it is very much more like a slice of life. As opposed to their tv drama buddies, which can sometimes have quite technical or higher order language; as more of a beginner web dramas are easier to catch on to 🙂

    When I watched this drama, I quite enjoyed it , but with all the hype and stuff afterwards, I started disliking it, because I definitely feel like it was not as good as everyone was making it out to be. But that may also be because I don’t really like Kim SooHyun XD


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