Sejong Hakdang Foundation organized the ‘2023 Sejong Hakdang Outstanding Learners’ Invitational Training Program’ in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, in Seoul, South Korea on October 10, 2023. 2477 learners participated in this training program from 67 countries out of which 168 were selected and were invited to Korea. Only 10 participants were able to make it to the final round.
19 years Srija Paul from Amity University Noida and a proud Korean language student from Korean Cultural Centre India won the contest. She is the second Indian student to win this award, following Anubhuti Kakati in 2021. The theme of the speech contest was “My Dreams and Challenges in Korean,” and Srija Paul presented on the topic of “Pursuing a Dream and Overcoming Challenges to Become a Singer in Korea.”
Srija Paul’s journey into the Korean language was sparked by her love for K-pop ballads, motivating her to delve into the language’s intricacies. In February 2023, she embarked on her formal Korean language education by enrolling in the Sejong Hakdang program at the Korean Cultural Centre India. Reflecting on her recent accolade, Srija Paul expressed, “When they announced my name as the winner during the speech contest, I was filled with happiness and a sense of achievement. In that moment, I felt that I had taken one step closer to my dream. I am especially excited about the opportunity for a language study program in Korea next year for the winners.”
Besides the speech contest, participants enjoyed a variety of activities during their 6-day, 7-night stay, including visits to Gyeongbokgung Palace and the Yongin Folk Village, a traditional game performance at Namsadang, and even a visit to the Blue House, along with experiencing contemporary Korean culture like K-pop dance.
At present, the Korean Cultural Centre India provides a diverse range of classes, including Korean language, Taekwondo, and traditional Korean percussion music, Samulnori. In the third semester of 2023, Sejong Hakdang offers 18 offline and 4 online courses, boasting an enrollment of over 1,000 students. The Centre extends its reach by sending Korean language instructors to 32 schools, where they conduct classes in Korean language, Taekwondo, and Samulnori. Their efforts serve to actively promote both the Korean language and culture.