Korean Speech Contest held
Korean Speech Contest held
  • Hong Jee-won
  • 승인 2008.12.04 10:12
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Mikawa Yukiko, the grand prize winner in the Ewha Language Center's Speech Contest

 Mikawa Yukiko, the grand prize winner of the Ewha Language Center’s 18th Korean speech contest held on November 21 at the Ewha-Samsung Education Building, inspired and captivated the audience with dazzling charisma, eloquence, and passion.


Mikawa has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and in a world of deep cleavages, prejudices and stereotypes, Mikawa’s disability was seen as a major disadvantage.

“You must be joking.” “Don’t push yourself too hard.” That was what Mikawa’s friends would tell her when she told them about her dream of becoming a professor. However, in her speech, Mikawa illustrated her belief in herself and in her God-given ability to overcome all handicaps and challenges. 

The Korean speech contest, conducted annually by the Ewha Language Center (ELC), provides a chance for foreign students to show off their Korean skills. The contestants are divided into two groups: beginner and intermediate. First and second prizes were given to each group with one grand prize among all the contestants. This year, all 59 participants were in close competition to become one of 10 finalists, before Mikawa was chosen as the eventual winner. 

“In this year’s contest, the Korean level of the students were very high. It was really tough to designate the winner of this contest,” said Kim Hyun-jin, a staff member at the ELC.

In the beginner division, Wang Jin Fu (Peking University), won first prize and Seitz Sarah won second prize. Wang, who majors in Korean, shared his story about the secret to his name. Seitz, who just arrived in Korea this August, entertained us with her speech “Korea, Korea, and me.” She elaborated on her life, being raised half Korean, and her unforgettable and painful experience of being sent all alone at the age of ten of Korea to learn Korean.

In the intermediate division, Wantanabe Makiko and Zhao Qian Lin won first and second prize respectively. Wantanabe, who shared a humorous story about meeting a scary supermarket ajumma (middle-aged, married women) filled the room with laughter. Wantanabe said that, because she was not fluent in Korean, the ajumma always made her buy 500 grams of meat instead of the 300 grams she really wanted. Zhao, the second prize winner, wore a traditional Chinese outfit and stood on the platform to share reminiscences about her most unforgettable memories of Korea.

A special prize was also given to 70-year-old Fujii Tomiko one of the oldest women studying at the ELC. Her endless passion and love for Korea helped her overcome the hardships of studying at such an old age.

In between eloquent speeches, students at the ELC prepared spectacular shows. There was a student who recited a poem in Korean and English, three dance teams that danced to the music of popular Korean dance groups, and a student who played “Autumn Leaves” with an alto saxophone.

“We practiced this dance for a month ? two hours every Wednesday. We even invited a dance instructor to teach us,” said Yen Chin Han, who danced with eight other girls to the Korean idol group ‘The Wondergirl’s,’ “Nobody.”

Professor Choi Hyung-yong (Korean), one of the judges, said, “through this contest I realized that Korean is not only a valuable means of communications, but also a mechanism for bringing together people from various different backgrounds. I listened to ten different speeches and every single one was both entertaining and touching.”

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