The 6th Annual Five College Korean Speech Contest, sponsored by the Five College East Asian Language Program, was held in Reese 302 at Mount Holyoke College (MHC) on April 5, 2019. The contest has been held at University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) for the past five years, since it was first held in 2014. This was the first time that MHC hosted the event.
This year, approximately 120 people attended, which is a twofold increase from last year. The event consists of the competition and performances. The competition has three levels: beginning, intermediate, and advanced. This year, 25 students from Five Colleges and Wesleyan University participated in the competition. The MHC Korean language program had three contestants at the beginning level (Yiwen Bao, Xike Zhao, Xiaoyu Zhou, ASIAN 161), three contestants at the intermediate level (Unwana Abasiurua, Clare Ysabella Heywood, Linh Nguyen, ASIAN 263), and one contestant at the advanced level (Amelia Ostling, KOR 302). Thirteen students (eleven from MHC) gave performances that included K-pop dancing, singing, poetry recitals, and a violin solo. Michelle Liu (ASIAN 263) at MHC and Michael Kim at UMass served as the masters of ceremony.
The contest’s organizing committee was three Five College Lecturers of Korean: Kyae-Sung Park at MHC, Suk Massey at Smith College, and Chanyoung Park at UMass. All professors who teach Korean at Five Colleges and Wesleyan University attended. We had three invited external judges, Professor Hyunju Ha from Brown University, Professor Joungmok Lee from Harvard University, and Pastor Moon Young Whang from Amherst Korean Church. We also had two honored guests, the Consul General Yonghyon Kim and Consul Sung-min Ko, from the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Boston. The Consul General addressed a congratulatory message to faculty and students.
“I really appreciate the judges, professors, and lecturers for their tireless effort to teach Korean language...I can really feel your Korean language fever...As Consul General based in New England, I am very much encouraged and I’d like to provide further support for this kind of contest...I hope this will develop into further studies about Korea in general.”
The Consul made an overall review of the students’ speeches.
“All of you have very interesting stories and very strong passion to share with others...Some people say that translation and interpretation technology will develop so fast that, in the near future, you won’t have to waste your valuable time learning foreign languages. But I am confident that such development in technology will never replace your desire to learn something new about this world. I am also confident that your passion will make this little planet a better place to live.”
Awards were given for first, second, and third place in each level. It was a very tight competition with excellent speeches. Students in the MHC Korean language program won 3rd place at the beginning level (Xiaoyu Zhou, ASIAN 161), 1st place at the intermediate level (Clare Ysabella Heywood, ASIAN 263), and 1st place at the advanced level (Amelia Ostling, KOR 302). The competition was followed by a reception party where all participating students and the audience enjoyed Korean food and K-pop music. The event was an unprecedented success both quantitatively and qualitatively thanks to all contestants, performers, audience members, volunteering students, judges, honored guests, and faculty. Kam-sa-ham-ni-da!