Rahaf named winner of Korean speech contest


By Samar Yahya

Rahaf Almohaimeed was named the winner of the 2nd Korean Speech Contest which was held at the Korean Embassy here on Monday.

Rahaf, a high school student, told Saudi Gazette: “I have been learning the Korean language by myself for the past four years through books and Youtube. I had applied last year too but was not lucky to be in the final list. During the whole year, I studied hard and was so keen to excel and here I am the 1st winner.”

Ali Almohefedh, named third winner in the contest, studied computer engineering in South Korea and took the opportunity to study the Korean language during his stay there. “I also have Korean friends where I have the chance to practice the language with them.”

Obeid Al-Sebai, a civil engineer who studied in Korea, said he was excited to participate in the contest and it was a great opportunity to show his Korean language skill.

Sixteen-year-old Heba Shams Eldin, the youngest contestant, learned the language from the Korean drama during the last seven years. “I knew about the contest from the Korean Embassy website. I believe that the Korean culture is very interesting and the language itself is catchy. Now, I have friends who learn Korean language and Korean friends which makes it easier to learn and practice the language.”

In his welcome speech, Korean Ambassador Jo Byung-wook said Korean language is the 20th popular language in the world and is spoken by 80 million people. It is a second language in Japan, China, Russia, United States of America, Southeast Asia and it has also spread in the Middle East as well.

“I think there are difficulties in learning the Korean language, but do not let these difficulties stop you from studying Korean and keep studying it through the love of Korean culture. I hope you show your ability to speak Korean.”

The ambassador told Saudi Gazette: “The main purpose of the contest is to spread the Korean culture. Korean language is one of the popular languages that foreigners learn these days. I attended the BTS concert few days ago and I was amazed to see a large number of Saudi youngsters could sing along with the BTS.

A panel of four judges included principal of the Korean School in Riyadh, representatives from the embassy and Korean community.