We’ve won a Prime Minister Award from the Korean Government!

Hi, everybody. Hyunwoo here from TalkToMeInKorean. Words can’t describe how excited we are to share this news with you. We’ve won an official award from the Korean government that recognizes our efforts to teach the Korean language and share the Korean culture with the world. We couldn’t have done this without all of your love and support so thank you so much! If you’d like to hear the rest of the story, please read on.

So as you know, we started as a small website, with only three people working on it and only a few hundred people knowing about it in the beginning. (And now, the number of people who’ve visited our website more than 100 times? 1.5 million people.) Since the founding members, Kyeong-eun, Hyeonjeong and myself, all enjoy learning languages very much and all understood very well how learning a new language can enrich one’s experiences and make life more fun, we wanted to give something good, something enjoyable yet very systematic and helpful to people around the world who are interested in learning Korean. So we made TalkToMeInKorean.com. I started writing personal blog posts in 2005 and making videos on YouTube in 2006 to answer some common questions asked by friends from other countries, and back then, I had no idea that it would grow into something much bigger, and a full-fledged website and company like it is now and also become my full-time job.

I have met so many wonderful people both online and in person thanks to my activities as an online Korean language teacher and content creator. As you know, running a business online without having a huge sum of capital to begin with (our first office was literally the size of a small car and we worked there for almost 2 years) is not easy – maybe easier to start, but much more difficult to continue. And it’s mainly the people that I’ve met who told me that what we are doing is helping them, inspiring them, and an important(!!) part of their daily lives that gave me the strength and motivation to continue doing this.

Many people ask us “So… through TalkToMeInKorean, what do you want to do eventually, after you make it successful enough?” but TalkToMeInKorean IS what we want to do, and everything else we are branching out to is based on the same passion – to help people learn Korean. So we never tried to do anything just to get other Korean people’s attention and get recognized as “that patriotic company that promotes Korea”. So whenever people asked us “Why isn’t the Korean government sponsoring you?” or “Does the Korean government do anything to help you?” or even said “They should give you an award”, we never really knew how to answer that.

And then, one day back in August 2013, I heard about this annual event called “Korea Content Awards” organized and hosted by a government organization called KOCCA, Korean Creative Content Agency, and they were waiting for applications and recommendations for companies that were making good creative contents. I got curious how the government would actually think about us if they got to know about us, so we sent in an application introducing what we are doing with TalkToMeInKorean. After many months and many stages of evaluation, I got a call from the agency a couple of weeks ago, and heard that we were going to get a Prime Minister Citation in the field of overseas content exportation in the 2013 Korea Content Awards event! (And we are publishing this post right from the awards ceremony venue.)

Getting this award today is not going to affect or change anything we do, since it’s merely a nice, encouraging “pat on the shoulder” from the government to tell us that we are doing something meaningful, but since we never really expected that we would get any official recognition from the Korean government, we are very happy about it and wanted to share our happy feelings with you all.

I know it’s a cliche, but we’ve come a loooong way and we couldn’t have done it with your love and support. Thank you everybody for being there with us – we know that some of you have been with us ever since the beginning of our website, and many people have discovered us more recently thanks to the recommendation of their friends. We will continue doing what we do and continue doing our best. Coincidentally, we have some more great news coming soon, and we’ll share that with you soon too.

안녕하세요 여러분, TalkToMeInKorean의 선현우입니다. 저희 활동을 지켜보고 계시는 한국 분들도 많이 계시는 것으로 알고 있어서 이렇게 한국어로도 소식 전합니다. 이번에 저희 회사가 국무총리표창을 받게 되었습니다! 저희도 그 동안 열심히 해 왔지만, 저희 사이트를 이용해 주시는 전세계의 학습자분들 그리고 저희가 하는 한국어 교육 활동을 응원해 주시는 많은 분들이 안 계셨다면 이런 상을 받을 수도 없었을 거라고 믿습니다.

저희는 처음에 웹사이트를 아는 사람이 몇백명 밖에 안 되는 작은 사이트로 시작했고, 전체 팀원 수는 3명 뿐이었습니다. (지금은 훨씬 많이 성장해서, 지금까지 저희 웹사이트를 100회 이상 방문하신 분들의 수만 150만명 정도예요.) 함께 회사를 만든 최경은 씨, 김현정 씨, 그리고 저 모두 새로운 언어를 배우는 것을 좋아하고, 외국어를 배우는 것이 더 폭넓은 경험을 하게 해 줄 뿐만 아니라 삶을 더 즐겁게 만들어 준다는 것을 잘 알고 있었기 때문에, 전세계에서 한국어를 공부하는 분들에게 뭔가 좋은, 즐겁게 사용할 수 있으면서도 체계적이고 유용한 무언가를 주고 싶었습니다. 그래서 TalkToMeInKorean을 만들게 되었습니다. 저는 개인적으로 2005년부터 블로그 포스팅을 통해서, 그리고 2006년부터 유튜브 비디오들을 통해서 한국에 관해서 흔히 나오는 질문들에 대해서 답변을 하기 시작했는데, 그때는 그렇게 하던 일이 나중에 이렇게 규모를 갖춘 웹사이트로, 또 회사로 성장하게 될 줄은, 제 직업이 될 줄은 정말 몰랐습니다.

저는 그 동안 온라인 상에서 한국어 선생님으로, 컨텐츠 제작자로 활동하면서, 온오프 상으로 멋진 사람들을 정말 많이 만났습니다. 아시다시피, 온라인 상에서 사업체를 운영한다는 것은 초기 자본이 넉넉하지 않다면 정말 힘들 수 있습니다 (저희가 처음 2년간 썼던 사무실은 딱 소형차 한대 정도의 크기였어요). 시작하기보다 유지하기가 더 힘들죠. 그런데도 계속할 수 있었던 것은, 그 동안 저희가 만났던 분들 중에서 많은 분들이 저희가 하고 있는 일이 도움이 되고, 영감을 주고, 생활의 중요한 부분으로 자리잡았다고 말씀해 주신 덕분이 아니었나 생각합니다.

저희를 만나면 “그래서 TalkToMeInKorean을 확실히 키운 다음에는 뭘 하고 싶으세요?”라고 물으시는 분들이 많이 계시는데, TalkToMeInKorean이야말로 저희가 하고 싶은 일이고, 저희가 새롭게 시작하는 프로젝트들은 모두, 사람들이 한국어를 배우는 것을 돕고 싶다고 하는 열정에 기반을 두고 있어요. 그래서 국내에서 뭔가 많은 사람들의 인정을 받거나, “한국을 홍보하는 애국적인 회사”로 평가 받으려는 노력은 한 적이 없었죠. 그래서 주변 분들이 “왜 정부에서 TTMIK 하는 일을 후원 안 해요?”라거나 “정부에서 도와 주는 거 있나요?” 또는 “상 줘야겠네”라고 말씀하실 때마다 어떻게 대답해야 할지를 모르겠더라고요.

그러다가 지난 8월, 한국콘텐츠진흥원에서 진행하는 대한민국 콘텐츠 어워드라고 하는 행사에 대해서 알게 되었고, 좋은 콘텐츠를 만드는 회사들의 접수와 추천을 받고 있다는 것도 알게 되었습니다. 그래서 정부에서 저희 회사가 하는 일에 대해서 공식적으로 알게 되면 어떤 평가를 내려 줄까 궁금해졌습니다. 그래서 저희가 TalkToMeInKorean으로 하고 있는 활동에 대해서 소개서를 작성해서 접수하게 됐습니다. 몇달간의 평가가 진행된 후에, 드디어 얼마 전 전화 한 통을 받았는데요, 저희가 2013년 대한민국 콘텐츠 어워드에서 해외진출포상 부분에서 국무총리표창을 받게 되었다는 소식을 들었습니다. (지금 이 포스팅도 시상식 행사장에서 바로 발행하는 거예요 ^^)

오늘 저희가 이 표창을 받았다고 해서 저희가 하는 일의 방향이 달라지는 부분은 없을 거예요. 그 동안 저희가 의미있는 일을 해 왔다고 정부에서 칭찬해 주는 정도라고 생각합니다. 그렇지만 이렇게 정부의 인정을 받게 될 날이 올 줄 몰랐기 때문에, 이렇게 표창을 받게 된 것이 지원서를 낼 때 막연히 “잘 되면 좋겠다”라고 생각했을 때보다 훨씬 기쁘네요.

정말 그 동안 저희가 여기까지 올 수 있었던 것은 많은 분들의 사랑과 관심, 응원 덕분입니다! 웹사이트가 처음 만들어졌을 때부터 저희와 함께 해 주신 분들도 계시고, 최근에 저희에 대해서 알게 되신 분들도 계시죠? 저희는 앞으로도 열심히, 저희가 할 일을 최선을 다해서 하겠습니다. 그리고 우연찮게도, 조만간 또 한 번, 좋은 소식을 전할 일이 생길 것 같습니다. 이것도 곧 알려 드릴게요! 정말 감사합니다.

 

We’ve won a Prime Minister Award from the Korean Government!
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  • Gili Nale

    Congratulations to all of you! You definitely deserve it!

  • Krishna

    축하 해요!!!! THANK YOU also for your continuous precious time, effort and support to all the Korean learners all over the world!!! You guys deserve more than a “pat on the shoulder”!!!! 호이팅!!!

  • JUN

    선생님들께

    정말 좋은 소식이에요.

    축하합니다 !

  • Nada

    I’m So happy for you, and I’m glade that I’m one of your student. you are doing such a great effort so you are absolutely deserve it.
    cheer up, and may your future holding more successful for you.
    Please keep going on,I can’t wait to listen to the rest of your news .

  • Sarah

    시작은 미약하였으나 네 나중은 심히 창대하리라…

    선생님들 정말 정말 축하해요~~~ <3

  • Congratulation…as one of the student…i’m so proud and happy for all of you…Keep up the great work 🙂

  • Nicole

    축하합니다! ^_^ You deserve it. Thank you for making TalkToMeInKorean :))

  • Dan Strickland

    Outstanding! Well-deserved; your teaching capabilities and techniques are head and shoulders above anyone else out there, and your collective sense of humor helps even more.

  • Yuxin

    Congratulations!
    I’m really happy getting to know your website which aided me in studying korean in such an enjoyable manner ! Please, don’t stop what you’re doing and allow more people to know Korean (which is an awesome language by the way)
    Once again, congratulations ^^

  • Fesenko_Yana

    Congratulations!~^^축아해요!!!~<3<3.^

    • Fesenko_Yana

      P.S. sorry, there was smth with my message
      Congratulations!~^^축하해요!!!~<3<3.^

  • I’ve learned a lot from talktomeinkorean.com. I may not active with all the activities online but I always download lessons. It’s very easy and fun to learn the Korean language and culture with TTMIK..Chukha hae-yo!

  • Rigo

    Wow , that’s great news
    Congratulations and thank you for your efforts
    Oh and have a merry christmas

  • Gal

    Congratulation. You all deserved the award. Keep on what you doing now. And more success in the future: D

  • Fatima

    This is awesome!What a great news! all of you deserve even more and better awards! I am sooooooooo happy for all of you!CONGRATULATIONS teachers:) ^_^

  • Belkova Olga

    My congratulations!!! You are really the best of the best! I always wait for all your new lessons, videos, explanations. You are great teachers, who can combine fun and good explanation in one. Thank you so much for your hard work!!!! ^^

  • Dale

    축하합니다

    TTMIK 짱!

  • 축하드립니다~ 쌤들이 짱이에용 ㅋㅋ

  • Marité Freire

    ¡Qué gran noticia! 축하해요! De verdad os mereceis ese premio y muuuuchos más. Ummm, me tiene intrigada esas otras buenas noticias, ya estoy deseando saber de que se trata 🙂

  • Mary Liu

    Congratulations! Your efforts and hard work paid off, though it may be not enough. Thanks to all of you for sharing your knowledge and making our life more colorful. Thank you.

  • Vlad

    축하합니다

  • Karen

    Congratulations!! Well deserved! I’m a big supporter of you guys and I wish you nothing but continued success. Cheers

  • Rebecca

    That’s amazing! Congratulations to all of you! You guys are awesome teachers, and no one could’ve deserved this award more than you!

  • 아틸라

    좋아요!
    축하합니다!
    파이팅! 🙂

  • Nor Hafizan

    Congratulations!! I’m your student and i’m so proud and happy for you. You guys so amazing!! Thank you so much for making TTMIK.

  • Nicole

    A big congratulations to each and every one of you!!! You all deserve this award and many, many more! I enjoy coming here to learn Korean, and I try to support in every way that I can! Please keep up the good work! The love, hard work, and effort you put in to bringing your culture and language to others is appreciated! My sincerest wishes for your continued success 🙂

  • TTMIK 축하 해요. you guys are 대박. I hope I get to meet you all when i visit korea in 2015. By then my korean should be 대박 thanks to you guys 🙂

  • Wan Imran

    정말로 대박!!!

  • OMNIA

    축하합니다 🙂 I’m really happy for you ^_^ I really love ttmik very much ^_^ you deserve the award more than anyone else ★

  • Tryon

    축하합니다 and well done 🙂
    Keep it up guys and love you all
    cheers 건배

  • Ana آنا

    You really deserve that! You have done such a great job teaching foreigners the fantastic language of Korea. Korea,as a country, must be proud of you guys. Keep doing this awesome job. You can always count on our love and support for TalkToMeInKorean.com!

    Congratulations on that…화이팅!

  • Duke2706

    축하합니다, thanks to you I’m learning korean language and meet a lot amazing people, so It’s a well deserved award