By Patrick Bray
DLIFLC Public Affairs
MONTEREY, Calif. – A fun time was had by all at Asian School II as it held the 14th Annual Korean Speech Contest June 23 at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, Presidio of Monterey, California.
The contest provides students with an opportunity to showcase their Korean language ability and cultural awareness.
U.S. Army Spc. Andre Abassi won first place for his speech “My angel, Yaelim Kim” about a popular singer and Abassi’s newfound devotion to Korean music.
Abassi began his speech by talking about how his girlfriend broke up with him while he was studying at DLIFLC.
“I decided to study Korean fervently instead of having a girlfriend and I hoped I could heal the wound in my heart with Korean. At that time I found Korean music,” spoke Abassi in his speech almost fluently.
Meanwhile in the audience his classmates cheered him on with signs written in Korean and chanting his name.
“The lyrics of the songs that Yaelim Kim sings are so moving that when I first heard them I nearly cried,” Abassi continued.
Afterwards, Abassi said it was an unreal experience to win first place since he has only been at the institute for about six months.
“My motivation to learn Korean before was 110 percent. Now its 120 percent,” said Abassi.
U.S. Army Pfc. Parker Blood won second place for his speech, “The forgotten victory,” referring to the opportunity he had to attend an event honoring Korean War veterans in Salinas, California.
“Previously, the Korean War was referred to as the ‘Forgotten War.’ Recently this terminology has changed. Now it is referred to as the ‘Forgotten Victory,’” Blood said as he spoke in Korean about how the U.S. and U.N forces preserved the Korean way of life in the 1950-1953 war.
“It’s a rewarding experience studying Korean even though it’s a challenging course. We put a lot of effort into this. To make it all come together is a drafting and revising process that took several weeks,” said Blood about researching and studying for his speech.
Airman 1st Class Devin Enright took third place for his speech entitled “North Korea’s nuclear program.”
All of the contestants were commended by Chul-soon Choi, education director for the Korean Consulate General in San Francisco, who visited Monterey to observe the contest.
“I hold you in highest regards,” said Choi to the students. “I hope events such as these will continue to stimulate your interest in Korean language and culture.”
After the speeches and while the judges were determining the winner, students performed various Korean pop songs on stage. Students who study Korean are not only encouraged to learn about traditional songs but also modern music such as those performed during the contest.
Building on a foundation of language and cultural knowledge is a concept taught at DLIFLC and the institute has found that it aids in language improvement.
“We always talk about reaching higher proficiency goals,” said Detlev Kesten, associate provost for academic support. “After today’s event I have no doubt we’ll get there.”
Asian School II has been holding the Korean speech contest every year during the week of the anniversary of the Korean War.
DLIFLC provides resident instruction in 23 languages at the Presidio of Monterey, California, with the capacity to instruct another 65 languages in Washington, D.C., graduating more than 200,000 linguists since 1941.
In addition, multiple language training detachments exists at sites in the U.S., Europe, Hawaii and Korea spanning all the U.S. geographic combatant commands, to support the total force.
Posted Date: 24 June 2016