Newsletter: Support Your Dreams with Chinese
—France Preliminary Round of the “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students

[Source]    Xinhua News Agency [Time]    2017-07-05 18:23:43 

“I want to be a Chinese teacher”, “I want to be a high-level translator”, “My ideal career is to be a journalist who introduces China to Europe and also helps Chinese people know Europe” … On June 11th, contestants from the France preliminary round of the 16th “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students were telling the judges and audience in perfect Chinese about their own future ideal careers.

The competition was held in the University of Orléans in central France. Twenty contestants from the Chinese departments of five French universities and seven Confucius Institutes participated in the competition. Centering on “Dreams Enlighten the Future”, the competition contained four sections: “written examination”, “keynote speech, “knowledge Q&A” and “talent show”.

The contestants covered not only beginners who have studied Chinese for only one year, but also “almost China hands” who have been to China many times for exchange studies or sightseeing. In the speech part, these energetic contestants shared their own Chinese learning process and deep love towards Chinese literature, traditional music, movies, food, and other things under the theme of “I love Chinese”, “Have you eaten meals?”, “Beijing Opera Enlightens My Chinese Dream”, “The Discovery of a Remote Country”. Among all the contestants, some were humorous, some thoughtful, and some impassioned, and all of them left deep impressions on the judges and audience.

Eman, a lad from the Confucius Institute in La Rochelle can speak four languages including French, English, Arabic and Chinese. In his view, every language is endowed with the cultural characteristics of the nation and learning a foreign language well can make one gradually blend the cultural characteristics into his nature.

If each language corresponds to a specific color, then “Chinese must be red”, said Eman. “Chinese can be widely used, and it has become part of my life and also changed my life. Learning Chinese makes me fly higher and see further”.

During the knowledge Q&A section, the contestants needed to answer questions related to the history, geography or national conditions of China that were randomly drawn. This part examined their language level as well as inspected their knowledge on China. And during the talent show, they elaborately prepared wonderful performances such as Chinese song singing, reading poetry, Dai nationality dance, cross talk, and musical instruments playing, wining waves of applauses.

After keen competitions, the girl Teeva Rey from the National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations won the championship by virtue of her excellent presentation skills of Chinese, her fantastic monologue comic talk Reporting the Names of Places, and her knowledge on the national conditions of China.

Rey came from the famous resort Tahiti, one of French Polynesia Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. Owing to the deep recognition of Chinese traditional culture, her parents sent her to a middle school in Wenling City, Zhejiang Province, China, to study when she was 16. From then on, she started her Chinese dream from which she could not tear it away. After graduating from high school, she applied decisively to the Department of Chinese and Literature in college. Facing graduation, she planned to apply to a master degree of Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language, so as to become an excellent Chinese teacher soon.

Rey felt both excited and somewhat blank toward the championship. She said she needs to calm down and then plans the preparation for the final held in China. She traveled to Shanghai, Chengdu and Xiamen before. But the city she most wanted to go to is Beijing and the spots she would like to visit are the Forbidden City and the traditional Chinese courtyards.

It is reported that about 100,000 people in France are learning Chinese. Ma Yansheng, Minister Counsellor of the Education Office at the Chinese Embassy in France said in his speech that the “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition is of great significance for promoting Chinese in French campuses and letting more young French people understand China and Chinese culture. He believes that those young people who love China and Chinese culture will surely make contributions to the China-France people-to-people and cultural exchanges and the cooperation in all areas and the in-depth cooperation in education between China and France will provide endless impetus for bilateral relations.

Story by Zhang Xuefei, Xinhua News Agency, Orleans, France, June 11th