By Patrick Bray
DLIFLC Public Affairs
MONTEREY, Calif. – The Korean School at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, Presidio of Monterey, California, held the 13th Annual Korean Speech Contest June 26.
The contest provides students with an opportunity to showcase their Korean language ability and cultural awareness.
Lance Cpl. Ean Johansen won first place with his speech titled “A Marine’s Korean love” where he spoke about his enjoyment of Korean popular music known as K-pop.
“I think that students who listen to K-pop learn Korean better than students who do not listen to K-pop,” said Johansen in Korean during his speech.
Johansen, who is three months into the Korean program, was recognized on stage by DLIFLC Commandant Col. David Chapman and received his first-place certificate.
“I did really well in high school and I came here and thought Korean would be hard but not too bad. At the end of the first unit I was blown away,” said Johansen about studying Korean. “It’s amazing how much we do every day, but after three months I can hold conversations with native Koreans.”
Seaman Martina Wilson won second place with her speech titled “A division of Korea and unification.” Wilson went on an overseas immersion to Korea to gain a better understanding of the language and culture. While there she conducted a survey on reunification of North and South Korea and used the results in her speech.
“I spoke about the changing attitude towards the reunification of Korea,” said Wilson. “My project while in Korea was an opinion poll of what Koreans thought about reunification. I was stunned to find that not everybody wants it.”
Wilson’s speech went into further detail about cultural differences that emerged between North and South Korea since the division and the economic burden that South Korea would face if it had to absorb the North’s economy.
Korea has been a divided country since the end of World War II. The Korean War began 55 years ago on June 25, 1950 when the north suddenly invaded the south. To commemorate the occasion, the Korean School has been holding the Korean speech contest every year during the week of the anniversary.
Shin Joo-sik, representative from the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in San Francisco, gave the opening remarks at the contest. He spoke about how the U.S. and Korea have grown closer over the past 65 years and about the future vision of U.S.-Korea relations.
“Because of Chinese and Soviet support, North Korea’s economy was better than ours until the 1970s, but South Korean democracy is based on democracy in the U.S.,” said Shin. “Because of this model, South Korea’s economy today is stronger than North Korea’s ten times over. This could never have been if the U.S. did not help us in the war.”
The Korean War is said to have been the first military action of the Cold War. The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center has its roots in the Cold War with Russian becoming the largest language program, followed by Chinese, Korean, and German. After the Korean War, the school developed a national reputation for excellence in foreign language education.
Today, the institute provides resident instruction in 23 languages to approximately 3,500 military service members, five days a week, seven hours per day, with two to three hours of homework each night. Generally, students spend between 26 and 64 weeks at the Presidio, depending on the difficulty of the language.
Posted Date: 29 June 2015