SKKU: International Student from Uzbekistan, Akhunboboeva Azimakhon, Won the Grand Prize in the ‘23rd World Korean Language Speech Contest’

Akhunboboeva Azimakhon (20 years old), who won the grand prize at the 23rd World Korean Language Speech Contest held on July 15th, is a freshman in the Humanities and Social Sciences of Sungkyunkwan University.

Azimakhon, from Fergana, Uzbekistan, said, “I didn’t expect to win the award because all the participants had good pronunciation and excellent messages. However, I made sure to put all my passion into the challenge.”

Due to the influence of her brother, who was studying Korean first in their hometown, Azimakhon naturally became interested in Korea and Korean language.

She studied Korean every day since she was 13 years old, but she said that she still has difficulties. There were many differences between her native language and Korean, such as the grammar system and pronunciation structure; so there were many mountains to overcome. She stresses that the best way to learn a language is to learn it repeatedly.

“I read a book with chopsticks in my mouth because I wanted to use a pronunciation and sentence similar to the native Korean speaker,” she said. “Even though it was painful and boring, I read the whole book to the end. I often listened to video clips of lectures in Korean on YouTube. When I talked, I focused on how the other person spoke, and my ears opened at some point.”

The result of nearly seven years of hard work led her to the grand prize of the contest. The judges gave her the highest score for her writing where she used the phrase, “You and I are different.; however, we are one!” and the theme regarding a world free of discrimination.

Azimakhon received high marks in most evaluation categories, including novelty and composition of content, accurate pronunciation and grammar, and delivery.

“I’m sure I’ve fixed it dozens of times since the first draft,” she said. “I put interesting examples and metaphors throughout the sentence to attract the attention of the listener, and boldly cut out unnecessary parts. I showed the manuscript not only to my parents, but also to the people around me, including my school seniors and professors, and got advice.”

The five fingers, including the thumb and index finger, are all different in shape, but this is the secret to the message that they are eventually one hand when they gather together.

“The 30-year old reporter who gave me a congratulatory speech today said, ‘It’s really hard to write, isn’t it?’” he said. “I agree with what he said because I can continuously spot parts to revise.” In addition, there is a real reason why she does her best when studying abroad. This is because of her life goal of going back to her hometown and establishing a school with what she learned in Korea.

“Now I can meet various people and experience many things in Korea thanks to education. I believe learning is the best way to enrich everyone’s life. I want to help children in my hometown to achieve their dreams through education.”

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