King Sejong Speech and Essay Contest winners receive 10-day trip to South Korea

Published: May 24, 2021

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Every spring semester the Korea Center-King Sejong Institute in the Office of International Programs hosts the King Sejong Speech and Essay Contest for participants of the KC-KSI Korean language courses. The winners of the contests are awarded a scholarship to travel to Seoul, South Korea, for 10 days to attend a hands-on cultural camp at the King Sejong Institute and explore the Korean culture through language, cuisine, festivals and more.

“Taking one of our Korean language courses and participating in the King Sejong Speech and Essay Contest offers participants an incredible opportunity to learn about the Korean language and possibly receive a fully paid Korean cultural experience,” said Ellie Lee, Korea Center-King Sejong Institute deputy director.

The spring 2021 King Sejong Speech and Essay Contest winners are Carmen Stowe and Garrett Whitson. Stowe, the winner of the speech portion of the contest, graduated from Auburn in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in software engineering. In her speech she discussed the Korean sentence structure, particularly the word ordering of Korean sentences in which the verb, and consequently any corresponding grammatical structure(s), is placed at the end of a sentence. The speech is titled 'Until the End' to reference both the sentence structure and the importance of waiting until the end of a sentence to truly understand its meaning.

Whitson, the winner of the essay portion of the contest, recently graduated from Auburn in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management. In his essay, he shared where he would like to visit most if afforded the opportunity to travel to South Korea. Originally, he was thinking Seoul would be the place he would most like to go, but ultimately he decided on Jeju Island because it has incredible food and deep culture that is very specific and unique to South Korea.

This fall, Stowe and Whitson will travel to Seoul and stay there for 10 days to attend the King Sejong Institute cultural camp and explore the Korean culture firsthand. While in Seoul, they will get to experience the street food and visit the Hangukbakmulgwan—Korean Language Museum, as well as many other historic locations.

“Besides trying loads of traditional foods, I am most looking forward to language immersion,” said Stowe. “Even though I am a longtime learner of the Korean language, this will be my first trip to South Korea, and I am eager to put everything I have learned to practical use.”

For more information on the Korea Center-King Sejong Institute events and scholarship opportunities throughout the school year, visit the Korea Center website.

Submitted by: Kalani Long