Haiyang (middle), a Contestant in the German division, introducing himself in the recorded video of the competition
Gongsun Nicole, a Contestant from Austria, sharing her experience of learning Chinese in the recorded video of the competition
Just a couple of days ago, the list of the top 30 finalists of the 19th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students and the list of the top 30 finalists of the 13th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Secondary School Students were released. In the upcoming games, the contestants will continue to compete and challenge themselves.
Affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the "Chinese Bridge" competition was launched online from September to December. According to Zhao Guocheng, Deputy Director-General of the Center for Language Education and Cooperation, this year's "Chinese Bridge" competition, in conjunction with CCTV Video, adopted 5G "cloud recording" (an innovative program production model) and built a novel language exchange platform. Starting from the qualifier, contestants from five continents have been telling their own stories of how they began to learn and love Chinese on the "Cloud Arena."
Chinese Has Rewritten My Life.
" Jūn bù jiàn, huáng hé zhī shuǐ tiān shàng lái, bēn liú dào hǎi bù fù huí (Don’t you see, the water of the Yellow River comes from the sky, and runs to the sea without returning...)" In a 3-minute short video, Sang Yingjie, a contestant from Egypt completed the recitation of the poem Invitation to Wine, tongue twister Linglong Ta, Guankou (a kind of fast-speaking rhyme) Madcap and brought a brilliant Chinese Performance Show to the audience.
Can you imagine that the girl who is now speaking Chinese so fluently used to be afraid to speak due to stuttering in her childhood? “Chinese to me is like a magic wand, which can turn a hard stone into gold. It is Chinese that has rewritten my life, giving me the courage and determination to pursue my dreams." Looking back at her Chinese learning process, Sang Yingjie said, "I am so lucky to meet Chinese and my lovely Chinese teachers, who patiently help correct my pronunciation and practice speaking Chinese. Meanwhile, in order to change my shy personality, they also encouraged me to actively participate in various Chinese competitions to strengthen my courage. Fortunately, with my Chinese being improved, my stuttering has gradually improved."
Not only has Chinese changed Sang Yingjie's life, but it also opened a new door for Gongsun Nicole. As a contestant in the Austrian division, the 17-year-old Gongsun Nicole has been very curious about faraway China because she often heard stories related to Chinese since she was a child. Because of this curiosity, she took up learning Chinese. "Learning Chinese has opened a new door for me. Far as China is away from me, since I started to learn Chinese, the language communication has crossed geographical distance, bringing me numerous new friends and enabling me to have a deeper understanding of China through watching Chinese films and television programs, and reading Chinese books. "
To Gongsun Nicole’s delight, she is able to learn Chinese in the school she is now attending. "Last year, I had the opportunity to go to Wuhan for a two-week exchange study. During that period, I lived with a local host family and also took classes with Chinese classmates so that I gained a good chance to closely observe China," Gongsun Nicole said.
Hot Pot Made Him Fall in Love with Chinese Food
Eric, a Contestant from Brazil, entered the list of the top 30 finalists in the 19th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students. He still clearly remembered how he felt when he first came into contact with Chinese. "I felt that I was facing a huge challenge and each page printed with Chinese characters was more like a wall standing in front of me. But every time I recognized one of these characters, the Chinese character would fall off from the wall like a brick. With more and more Chinese characters I know, they form a road, leading far to a beautiful new world. The farther I learn in Chinese, the longer the road becomes; the farther I go, the better my learning experience becomes.” Along the way, Eric has not only met very good teachers, but also made friends from all over the world. “Although I haven’t reached the end of this road yet, I never regret going so far."
Haiyang, a German contestant who also entered the top 30 list of the 19th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students, has been on the road of Chinese learning for a long time. Now he is a sophomore at the University of Essen in Duisburg, Germany, but he still returns to Bole High School, his alma mater, every Saturday to learn and sing Chinese songs with his friends in the Chinese choir.
"There is a saying that the Chinese people in the south love sweet food and those in the north prefer salty food, but it is unified in hot pot, which perfectly combines different tastes of different areas in China. ..." In the video, Haiyang guided his friends to a local Chinese hot pot restaurant after they ended the choir rehearsal. Hot pot is not only his favorite food, but also makes him a chatterbox. "This is needle mushroom. This is cattle stomach, which to eat you have to follow the principle of 'seven ups and eight downs' (the cattle stomach is to be boiled for only 15 seconds)..." Haiyang expressed his love of hot pot and familiarity with Chinese food culture in fluent Chinese and vivid explanation. In his own words, it was hot pot that made him lose his heart to Chinese food and China.
Tiantian, a contestant from Canada, who ran into the Top 30 finalists of the 13th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Secondary School Students, is 15 years old this year, but has had 12 years of Chinese learning experience. "Native Canadian as I am, I have been embracing a dream of learning Chinese. I have been studying in a Chinese school since I was 3 years old. I sincerely hope that one day I can study in China because it is a place most close to my dream." To encourage Tiantian to learn Chinese, her parents often take her to travel to China. Tiantian, who advocates “reading thousands of books and traveling thousands of miles,” is so fascinated by the "Northeast Dialect" during her trip in China. By the end of the contest video, she said: "Laotie(guys), I'm struggling to share my stories with you ... please applause for me!"
Build a Bridge to the World
On the "Cloud Arena" of “Chinese Bridge,” contestants all over the world interpreted the charm of Chinese and Chinese culture in their own way. This is also the purpose of the "Chinese Bridge" series competitions----to stimulate the enthusiasm of young students around the world to learn Chinese, and to enhance the world's understanding of Chinese language and Chinese culture.
"In the past 20 years, “Chinese Bridge,” upholding the original intention in the trend of the times, with an audience all together over 1.4 million from more than 150 countries, is widely known as the 'Olympics' of Chinese. The “Chinese Bridge” is a language bridge to the world, a culture bridge, a friendship bridge, as well as a bridge of the soul. The original intention of the "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Competition for world college and middle school students is to build a language exchange platform for young people all over the world to communicate, understand and learn from each other," Zhao Guocheng explained.
The video of Gui Weisheng, a contestant from the United States, who sang "Chengdu" while playing guitar, has received a lot of support online. His major in university is international studies and Chinese. He is obsessed with the cultural relics in the Sanxingdui Museum, deeply impressed by the cute pandas. He loves extensive and profound Chinese culture, so that what he wants to do most is to enhance the understanding of Chinese and American people through language and cultural communication. "This year is a special year because we have encountered the COVID-19 pandemic, but the sustained and healthy development of Sino-US relationship is still the common hope of the two people," Gui Weisheng said.
As Zhao Zhixing, from Sudan, who won the championship in the 16th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students, said: "Every year, students from different countries participate in the "Chinese Bridge" contest. Although our nations, races, religious beliefs, mother tongues are all different, when we communicate in Chinese, we are all deeply moved... My greatest wish is to use my own efforts, by using Chinese as a bridge, to eliminate prejudice and strengthen understanding between countries, so as to promote friendly development between nations."
(People's Daily “Overseas Edition,” October 16, 2020, the 11th edition, reporter Zhao Xiaoxia)