‘What I want to be’ in two minutes and in English

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‘What I want to be’ in two minutes and in English


Eleven contestants pose with British Ambassador Scott Wightman, center left, in the back row, after delivering two-minute speeches on “What I want to be” at the British Embassy, central Seoul, on Jan. 25. Provided by Park Sang-moon

A group of elementary school students aged 6 to 12 were getting ready to stand in front of an audience of around 50 people and give speeches in English on their dreams.

The event, the Cambridge Young Learners Contest, was organized by Cambridge English Language Assessment, a nonprofit department of the University of Cambridge, and was held on Jan. 25 at the at the British Embassy in Jung District, central Seoul, for the first time.

The students who ascended to the final round of the contest were 11 elementary school students with no overseas experience. They proudly talked about what they want to be when they grow up.

“I want to be a police official because I will be able to drive all those fancy-looking cars,” announced 6-year-old Yu Jeon-jae during his two-minute speech.

“It was difficult at first to memorize new words and learn how to pronounce them correctly,” Yu said afterward with a big grin.

“A total of 180 students applied for today’s contest and through an assessment process we narrowed down the number to 11,” said Lee Hannah, manager of the Cambridge assessment program in Korea.

Despite the description of the event as a competition, all 11 contestants received prizes for their efforts to hone their English skills.

“Today’s event is especially meaningful as it doesn’t rank the contestants but rewards everyone for their ongoing efforts to learn the foreign language,” said Park Hye-ok, a professor at the International Graduate School of English, who participated in the event as a judge. “It is also noteworthy that all the participants came to learn the language without the experience of living in English-speaking countries.”

British Ambassador Scott Wightman attended the event and gave opening remarks in which he briefly introduced the history of University of Cambridge.

“It was established in 1208 and is one of the oldest universities of English-speaking countries,” noted the ambassador.

By Kang Jin-kyu [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]
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