News: US soldiers share passion for Korean language
Story by Cpl. Sung Il Choi
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea - U.S. soldiers who love Korean and Korean students who love English showed off their enthusiastic and talented speaking skills during the final round of the Korean English Speaking Contest at Yongsan's Movie Theater Oct. 5.
For the 13th Annual Speech Contest, seven U.S. soldiers who went through competitive preliminary rounds in each area boasted their fluent Korean speaking skills. Nearly a dozen Korean students who learned English from U.S. soldiers competed in the English speaking portion.
Republic of Korea Army Support Group Commander Col. Kwon Young-kil gave welcoming remarks before the competition began.
“I want to express my gratitude and respect to the finalists and those who have prepared for the preliminary rounds by continuously and heartily studying Korean and English,” Kwon said. “I hope all the participants demonstrate their best Korean and English speaking skills that reflect their hard work and practice.”
Korean and English Speech Contest carried a deeper meaning beyond the simple annual competition. Each person shared their unique stories about their experience in Korea or their opinions on the Korea and U.S. relationship.
Staff Sgt. Justin Carnell from Charlie Battery, 2nd Infantry Division was one of the participants in the Korean Speech Contest. His witty Korean in a dialect he learned from one of Korea’s famous comedy shows set the audience roaring with laughter.
“I’m still nervous, but I am happy it’s over,” said Carnell. “My KATUSAs talked to me and helped me out, so all I needed to do was to translate. I get along with them really well, and I'm glad everybody came today.”
After the speech of the U.S. soldiers, Korean students from elementary school all the way up to college revealed the English skills they’ve learned from U.S. soldiers.
“It is said that true trust and friendship can only be strengthened through conversation on the basis of mutual understanding of counter parties, cultures and customs,” Kwon said. “For this reason, I'd like this event to be an opportunity for the ROK and U.S. Army to reaffirm their unchanged friendship, enhance the understanding of each other and share all our thoughts together.”