This past March 11, we were asked to cover the Korean Speech Contest held at the University of Toronto, St. George Campus. This year’s event was located at the Earth Sciences building, starting officially at 12:00 pm and lasting until 5:00 pm.
The contestants for the speech contest are primarily non-Korean (there was one Korean participant in the advanced category) and they are marked by a panel of judges on their grasp of the Korean language. For the first time, the contest was opened up to the high school level, when traditionally the participants had to be university students. With the contest being hosted in Toronto, most of the participants are from schools in the GTA. However, there were a handful of contestants hailing from Alberta, British Columbia, and even Prince Edward Island.
The event makes one feel like they’re visiting South Korea, since most of the staff and volunteers are Korean. Below you’ll see some of the volunteers who kindly posed for our camera.
The speech contest was broken down into tiers ranging from high school level, to beginner, intermediate, and finally, advanced levels. Each tier received 30 seconds more per speech, starting at 2 minutes and 30 seconds at the high school level, and capping at 4 minutes per speech at the advanced level. Following each speech at the advanced level were a series of questions asked by the judges in Korean, which the contestant must also answer in Korean.
As with most speech contests, each contestant has to come up with a topic of their choice and develop a speech around it. Most contestants touched on K-pop and music, dramas, or food, with a notable few handling more sensitive topics such as North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, choice of occupation, and a family who lived through an earthquake. The full list of topics are presented in the other tabs in this article for your convenience.
Each tier had prizes for first to third place, with a separate grand prize. The second and third place awards are identical across the tiers. Second place would be awarded a certificate and Bose in-ear wireless headphones, while third place would be awarded a certificate and a backpack. The first place prizes were also mostly identical, with each winner being awarded a certificate, a Samsung Galaxy Tab, as well as the opportunity to study in Korea. For the high school level, the opportunity is awarded by the Ministry of Education, while the university levels as well as the grand prize were all awarded by specific universities in Korea. The beginner level was awarded by Ehwa Women’s University, the intermediate level was awarded by Sogang University, and both the advanced level as well as the grand prize were awarded by Seoul National University.
There was a break in after the end of the Beginner tier speeches, where Galleria Supermarket provided lunch for everyone. They also organized kimbap-making workshops just outside the lecture hall.
Following the speech contest proper was a 1 hour quiz open to the public, before the awards ceremony. The quiz covered topics ranging from K-pop to Korean dramas and film, as well as some traditional culture and modern infrastructure. Similarly to the speech contest, the quiz also had prizes for the top 4 contestants. Two people in third place were awarded Samsung Galaxy Tabs, the second place contestant was awarded a pair of concert tickets to see Shinee (a K-pop group) in Toronto, and the first place winner was awarded a Samsung Galaxy Tab plus the opportunity to study in the Summer Language Program at SungKyunKwan University in Seoul.
Registration for the quiz happened outside the lecture hall, and was open to everyone attending the event. As a result, the number of people who participated in the quiz was greater than the number of speech contestants.
|Angela Xiang||Richmond Hill Secondary School||KPOP은 음악, 그 이상이다||KPOP is more than just music.|
|Gloria Luk||Richmond Hill Secondary School||진정한 아름다움||Calm beauty|
|Nevart Terzian||Ray Lewis Elementary School||내가 본 한국||My view on Korea|
|Yunqi (Michelle) Qiu||Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School||언어의 매력||The charm of a language|
|Myla Carlos||Senator O’Connor College School||한 영감을 주는 그룹||The most inspirational KPOP group|
|Keith Paulite||Senator O’Connor College School||내가 배우고 싶었던 이유||The reason I want to study|
|Tala Arnaout||Rick Hansen Secondary School||데이트 프로포즈용 김밥||How to ask someone out on a date with kimbap|
|Cindy He||Rick Hansen Secondary School||교실 내 간이시장||Simple market in classroom|
3rd Place:Tala Arnaout from Rick Hansen Secondary School
2nd Place: Nevart Terzian from Ray Lewis Elementary School
1st Place: Angela Xiang from Richmond Hill Secondary School
|Hinny Lam||Korean Education Centre||부산 사투리||Busan Dialect|
|Lina Nguyen||Seneca College||술 문화 그리고 게임||Drinking culture and games|
|Mariah MacDonald||University of Prince Edward Island||제가 한국의 언어를 좋아하는 이유||The reason why I like the Korean language|
|Kyla Munden||University of Toronto, Scarborough||살아있는 캔버스||A live canvas|
|Melanie Closa||Seneca College||한국을 너무 너무 좋아해 요||I really really like Korea|
|Sheena Grace Villegas||University of Toronto||해피 투게더||Happy Together|
|Risa Feng||Cornell University||영화처럼 살기||Live like a movie|
|Shuyan Guan||University of Toronto||연애의 고수가 되는 법||How to be a relationship expert|
|Amran Ali-Yare||University of Toronto||나의 세 번째 언어||My third language|
|Tashna Chae Ramanah||York University||부모님도 못 말리는 한국어 사랑꾼||Not even my parents can stop me from loving the Korean language|
|Calvin Sage||University of Toronto||나의 친구 지훈이와 떡볶이||My friend Ji-Hoon and tteokbokki (rice cake)|
|Hei Tung Chik||University of Toronto||청춘||Youth|
|Kan Irina||York University||똑같아요||Same|
3rd Place: Melanie Closa from Seneca College
2nd Place: Shuyan Guan from University of Toronto
1st Place: Hinny Lam from the Korean Education Centre
|Gabrielle Phua||University of Toronto||지진을 이겨낸 가족||A family who overcame the earthquake|
|Guangyan Li||University of Alberta||한국과 중국의 문화차이||Cultural differences between Korea and China|
|Ka Bian||University of Toronto||헌팅이 만들어 준 내 사랑||My love began with hunting|
|Sharissa Szelei-Miko||York University||한국어 수업이 짓궂어요||Korean class can be tough|
|Ya Gao||University of Toronto||첫 사랑||First love|
|Zewei Zhang||York University||친구와 함께 한 한국여행||A trip to Korea with a friend|
|Jericho Allick||University of Toronto||한국학교에서의 첫 경험||First experience in Korean schools|
|Tarah Lemours||Carleton University||제가 가장 열성적일 때가 언제 일까요?||When was my most enthusiastic moment?|
|Yahui Liu||University of Toronto||김정은이 아닙니다. 김정은 동지 입니다.||It’s not just Kim Jong-un. It is Comrade Kim Jong-un.|
|Inah Erni||Manitoba Korean School||얼마만큼 우리가 한국말을 공부해야할까요?||How much/long should we study Korean?|
3rd Place: Yahui Liu from University of Toronto
2nd Place: Gabrielle Phua from University of Toronto
1st Place: Guangyan Li from University of Alberta
|Joyce Woo||University of Toronto||콩글리쉬에 눈을 뜨다||Opening eyes to Konglish|
|Zexin Fu||York University||그 맛이 알고 싶다||I want to taste|
|Frances Darwin||Korean Education Centre||강원도 재방문||Re-visiting Gangwon|
|Tony Jeong||University of Toronto, Mississauga||재미있는 한국의 음주문화||Fun part of Korean drinking culture|
|Clarisa Madilao||University of British Columbia||한 한국드라마 팬의 이야기||One K-drama fan’s story|
|Fengjing Chen||University of Alberta||직업의 선택||Choice of occupation|
|Anastasia Galanova||University of Toronto||초코파이||Choco-pie|
|Susan Choe||Seneca College||결혼||Marriage|
3rd Place: Zexin Fu from York University
2nd Place: Joyce Woo from University of Toronto
1st Place: Clarisa Madilao from University of British Columbia
Grand Prize: Fengjing Chen from University of Alberta