College Students from 122 Countries Gather in Changsha to Compete Chinese Proficiency and Make Friends to Expand Their International “Friend Circle”

[Source] [Time]    2019-08-06 16:30:02 

Contestants competing for the top 30 places

In August, the 18th Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students was launched in Changsha, Hunan. 157 college students from 122 countries around the world will compete Chinese proficiency in the one-month quarter-finals and semi-finals, and eventually fight for the global championship.

Contestants Expand Their International “Friend Circle” With Chinese Language as Bridge

This year’s “Chinese Bridge” was sponsored by the Confucius Institute Headquarters and the People’s Government of Hunan Province, and themed “One World, One Family”. It emphasizes friendship and makes efforts to form an international “friend circle” in which college students around the world can know better about China and make friends, indicating that we are all families living in one world.

First-time contestant Dai Xiaomei from the Dominican Republic

Yang Ziyang, Cheif Director of the “Chinese Bridge”, said that this year’s competition has carried out many innovations in question designing and answering, for example, the competition has introduced questions through the popular VLOG short video, and created a new form of competition named “Chinese Character Nine Squares”. These innovations not only reinforce the tension, excitement and unknown of the competition, but also allow the contestants to experience the profoundness of Chinese culture and understand the real China full of vitality while answering questions.

“The contestants are all well prepared. During the “crossing the bridge” competition, the audience was awed by their eloquence and inspiring ideas. The talent show included various performances, including singing while playing guzheng, Tai Chi, playing cucurbit flute, Dai dance, rap, clapper talk and so on”, said Yang Ziyang. This fully reflects the contestants’ deep love for Chinese language and traditional culture.

Dai Xiaomei is a fan of China from the Dominican Republic. She is learning Chinese language in order to communicate with Chinese people. It is her first time to participate in the “Chinese Bridge” Competition and she hopes to build a bridge of friendship between China and the Dominican Republic. “There is a Chinatown in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, where I often go shopping and try delicious Chinese food”, said Dai Xiaomei.

“The charm of Chinese language lies in the tones”, says Liu Zhengxi from Egypt

Egyptian young man Liu Zhengxi made many Chinese friends while learning Chinese language, and also met his fiancee at Nankai University. “Chinese language is not only a bridge of friendship between me and my Chinese friends, but also a Magpie Bridge”, said Liu Zhengxuan. He often made embarrassing incidents due to misunderstanding the tones. “For example, I used to say ‘I want to kiss you’ while I actually meant ‘I want to ask you’”.

Contestants Undergo Fierce Competition to Chase “Chinese Dream”

After fierce competition, top 30 contestants have been announced, with 7 from Asia, 6 from Africa, 7 from Europe, 6 from the Americas and 4 from Oceania.

Egyptian girl Shi Yu has been studying Chinese language for four years, and volunteered to teach in the mountainous area of Jiangxi last year. After this experience, she has confirmed her dream as a Chinese teacher. She will enter Beijing Normal University in this September as a postgraduate to study international education. “I will keep learning Chinese language no matter how hard it is”. Due to her solid skills in Chinese language, she is the first African contestant to advance to the top 30.

Egyptian girl Shi Yu, the first African contestant to advance to the top 30

A Wei from Kazakhstan is also one of the top 30.He said, “My interest in learning Chinese language and culture stems from my grandmother who has been admiring China since she was a child.” With his grandmother’s expectation, A Wei has been majoring Chinese at Kazakh Ablai Khan University for three years. “I hope I can realize my grandmother’s and my own ‘Chinese dream’ through the bridge of Chinese language”.

Costa Rican contestant Meng Yutang made many new friends and experienced the history and culture of China though he failed to advance to the top 30. “This is a great culture exploration. I really like Chinese calligraphy. I will continue to study Chinese language and plan to apply for Chinese universities next year.”

Costa Rican contestant MengYutang answering questions carefully

It is reported that contestants who failed to advance will go to Liling of Zhuzhou city, Yuelu Academy and Hunan Museum for a study tour. The top 30 contestants who passed the quarter-finals will face the first semi-final on August 1, which will cover all-round tests such as words, phrases, poetry and contemporary life.

Number of Contestants Reaches Record High and Contestants Gather Together To Express Their Affection to China

The Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students consists of two stages: overseas preliminaries and competitions in China. Since 2002, it has been held annually. Many foreigners use this platform to know more about China, learn Chinese language and make friends from all over the world. This year’s competition includes “crossing the bridge” (written test, speech, and talent show), quarter-finals, semi-finals, and final.

Compared with previous ones, this year’s competition covers a wide range of topics, including Chinese history, contemporary life, encyclopedic knowledge, folk culture, and basic skills of Chinese language. It mainly examines the contestants’ listening, speaking, reading and writing ability of Chinese language and the understanding of Chinese culture and national conditions.

A Wei from Kazakhstan, one of the top 30 contestants

It is worth mentioning that this year’s “Chinese Bridge” launched a new form of test named “Chinese Character Nine Squares”. Contestants need to select characters from the nine squares, which indicates that they will face more options and possibilities. Therefore, how the contestants release their potential to make the right choice is a major attraction of the event.

“This year, the number of contestants as well as countries involved has once again broken the record, and the contestants’ Chinese proficiency is better than previous years. The competition itself is also more exciting”, said Yang Ziyang. He revealed that the global championship, continent champions and a number of single championships will be announced at the final in Changsha on August 22.The show will be broadcast on Hunan TV from every Monday to Thursday at 19:30 starting from September 2nd.

(Story by Tang Xiaoqing, Wu Jialing, Su Zhiyan,, Changsha, August 1st, photo by Chinese Bridge production team)

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