Take Chinese as Bridge to Promote Exchanges—France Preliminary Round of 17th “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students

[Source]    People’s Daily [Time]    2018-06-07 13:34:43 

Gao Yanyan, who wears Hanfu and speaks ancient Chinese, An Sulan, who likes Ma Long and Zhang Jike, Yang Kaimei, who uses WeChat to improve Chinese, Mei Luo, who makes Chinese friends on “WeSing” application, and Luo Dawei, who likes Wang Xizhi’s calligraphy. All these authentic Chinese names are named by French students or foreign students studying in France for themselves. Chinese learning and love for Chinese culture bring them together.

A few days ago, the France Preliminary Round of 17th “Chinese Bridge” Chinese proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students was held in Aix-Marseille University, located in southern France. With “One World, One Family” as the theme, the contest had four parts, written examination, keynote speech, Q&A on Chinese culture, and talent show. A total of 28 students from 5 universities and 12 Confucius Institutes in France participated in the contest.

“You and me, from one world, we are family...” Du Haozhe from the Confucius Institute at Université d’Artois integrated singing into the speech to elaborate his understanding of “One World, One Family”. “I live in the world and this world is my big family”. Nathan, who comes from Iran and studies in France, can speak five languages and has the experience of living in many countries. “One World, One Family, Love Each Other” is Nathan’s sincere hope. In the speech, the contestants used their own stories to interpret their understanding of “One World, One Family” and hoped to build a bridge between China and France, and even the world.

In the talent show, the contestants brought a variety of shows such as martial arts, painting and calligraphy, Tai Chi fans, guzheng (Chinese zither) performances, sitcoms, talk shows, and Chinese songs, winning rounds of cheers and applause from the audience. Su Kening and Da Shan from the Confucius Institute des Pays de la Loire d’Angers performed a humorous sketch, in which a Russian and Spanish stay in China and communicate with each other in Chinese, setting gales of laughter. Chen Ming from the Confucius Institute at Université Paris Nanterre brought the atmosphere to a climax by singing the song Listen to Mother.

Li Gunan from the Confucius Institute at Université de la Rochelle Li Gunan playing The Legendary Swordsman

After fierce competition, Luo Gaoting, a Chinese major student at Aix-Marseille University, took the lead. In the keynote speech, he said, “We should respect cultural and linguistic diversity.” In the talent show, he presented the talk show “Life for Foreigners in China” combining his life experience in the country. He told jokes about non-standard pronunciation at the beginning of learning Chinese and also imitated the announcement on bus stop. He displayed the high level of proficiency in Chinese his performance and won rounds of applause. Luo Gaoting said he really wanted to inspire his compatriots to go to China and see the country from a different perspective.

“This year, students presented more diversified performance in a higher level,” said Huang Xiaomin, the French Director of the Institut Confucius Côte d’Azur, who served as a judge for the French region for two consecutive years. She expressed in an interview that “Chinese Bridge” is not only a language competition, but also the display of students’ talents, which promotes Chinese culture. Huang Xiaomin said French students have always been intrigued by China. With the increase of Chinese influence, the interest of French students in learning Chinese grows stronger.

It is reported that over 110,000 people in France are studying Chinese. “Friendship, which derives from language communication and close contact between the people, holds the key to sound state-to-state relations.” said Yang Jin, Minister Counselor of the Education Section of the Chinese Embassy in France. Since ancient times, China has embraced the philosophy of “universal harmony” and “one World, one family”. This world view bears the common hope of the people for a beautiful homeland. Its realization depends on the exchanges of language and mutual understanding between civilizations.

(Story and photos by Gong Ming, People’s Daily, Page 22, June 4th, 2018)

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