Last year, the first KBS World Korean Speaking contest took place, welcoming participants from 44 countries who submitted a total of over 200 videos during the initial round of elimination. During that stage, participants had to showcase their Korean skills by filming themselves speaking in Korean around a particular topic (mine was “How I Study Korean“). The semi-finals included an interview with a professional Korean radio announcer to test the Top 10 contestants’ Korean skills, and the final round of elimination required the Top 3 participants to submit a second video of themselves speaking in Korean. For the last two rounds of the competition, KBS judges evaluated the applicants and votes from netizens were also taken into consideration.
As the Grand Prize Winner of the contest, I was invited to spend a week in Seoul in September 2014, where I participated in various broadcasting events, including on national radio, to showcase my knowledge of the Korean language and culture.
The video you see above is me promoting the second KBS World Korean speaking contest, and if you visit the contest’s main page, you’ll see that K-POP stars have also been active promoting it, including Super Junior and 4minute!
This year’s contest is open to any non-Korean living outside of Korea and interested in showcasing their Korean speaking skills, so I hope you’ll be participating! The list of prizes to be given away this time around is pretty exciting: indeed, three winners will be invited to visit Korea on a 6-day trip, during which they will experience various Korean cultural activities and get to tour around Seoul and visit KBS headquarters. The Top 20 participants will also be given souvenirs.
How can I apply, and when?
For full contest information, simply click here. The time window for submitting your application is from June 12 to July 05, 2015, so there’s no time to lose! To participate, simply pick one of the two given topics, write a speech in Korean on your chosen topic, and film yourself giving the speech. Then upload your recorded video to YouTube, and submit both the link to the video and the script of your speech to KBS, and off you go!
Applicants will be judged on their vocabulary, pronunciation, attitude, grammar, and the contents of the speech.
Tips to Increase Your Chances of Winning
For the first and third rounds of elimination, you’ll be recording yourself speaking in Korean and you’ll get to write your own script. So make sure you practice as much as possible, choose a suitable spot for filming your submission, and re-record yourself as many times as needed! Also make sure your sound quality is decent; if needed, borrow some recording gear from a friend or from your school/university. If people can hardly hear you speak, it’ll make the judges’ job a bit more difficult.
In terms of content, I would encourage you to try to be as creative as possible. You want to stand out from the crowd, so think about how you might want to do that. Personally, I peppered my submissions with a bit of humor and I spoke in a regional (Busan) dialect in parts of my videos. It’s up to you to come up with some interesting ideas and to turn the topic around which you will frame your speech into an interesting narrative. Feel free to use analogies, anecdotes, interesting stories, and humor. Don’t be afraid to go out of the beaten path. Try filming yourself in unusual locations, or grab the attention of your viewers with something out of the ordinary – clothes, background, accent, speech, you name it. Above all, be confident and have fun!
Good luck in your application, and if you have any questions about the application process or about how you could make your submission better, feel free to ask me, it’ll be a real pleasure to help.
By Sam Gendreau