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“Memories in Korea with Tteokbokki” Research Institute of Asian Women’s 16th Korean Life Experience Contest

  • Views 89
  • Writer 커뮤니케이션팀
  • 보도일자 2023-12-27


On Friday, December 22nd, 2023, the Research Institute of Asian Women held an awards ceremony for two contests, “The 16th Korean Life Experience Contest for Married Immigrant Spouses in Their Native Language” and “The 6th Migrant Youth Online Writing Contest”, at the Han Sang-eun Lounge of Sookmyung Women's University's Centennial Hall.


The Research Institute of Asian Women, together with the Hana Nanum Foundation, continuously holds contests to attract the interest of multicultural families and foster a sense of community culture. This is the 16th rendition of the “Korean Life Experience Contest for Married Immigrant Spouses in Their Native Language”, which started in 2008, and the 6th annual “Migrant Youth Online Writing Contest”.


The winner of this year’s Korean Life Experience Contest award was Liu Jing, a Chinese married immigrant who came to Korea 9 years ago in 2015. In her essay “My memories in Korea with a bowl of Tteokbokki”, she wrote about the process of settling in Korea and how she connected with people she met via Tteokbokki. She was open about her entire experience and how she grew from it, from the time she attended a university language school, to getting a Master’s, getting a job, dating, marriage, childbirth, and more.


She said, “To me, those 8 years ago, Tteokbokki was a symbol of Korea. The red color of the gochujang was as vivid as a neon sign when I first came. The streets and alleyways were always so lively and exciting, and the Tteokbokki was spicy but sweet.” She added, “When I was walking around campus with my friend, I saw this little Tteokbokki shop in an alley behind my dorm. I ordered a bowl of Tteokbokki in my broken Korean, and was hit with a wave of homesickness over missing my home, but happiness I had in studying abroad.”


In the Migrant Youth Online Writing Contest, the award went to Yehoshua, a 2nd year student at Yatap High School who came to Korea from Mongolia when she was in 2nd grade elementary school. Yehoshua expressed the conflicts and hardships of being a teenager through efforts to discover herself, her future career, and her identity in three essays entitled “Oasis”, “Childhood”, and “Poems”.


In her review, Kim Ok-nyeo, a social welfare professor at the Graduate School of Public Policy, wrote, “There were so many works with a firm grasp of Korean expressions and vocabulary and logical connections between them, that it's hard to believe the entrants weren’t born in Korea,” adding, “While everyone had a rough start to life in Korea, I was moved by the hope in their works, challenging themselves without settling and working hard to achieve their dreams.”


A total of 142 people applied for the two contests, with 26 participants receiving praise after a 3-round screening process. As the two winners, Liu Jing and Yehoshua’s stories will be introduced through the contest prize-winning casebook.


Shim Sook-young, the Director of the Research Institute of Asian Women, said, “Every contest we hold brings new meaning to togetherness with multicultural families. Through these competitions, we are able to create understanding for and communication with each other.” She further added, “Our goal is to foster a happy and hopeful future for multicultural families based on understanding and respect, so that these families blend seamlessly into our society as respected members.”