Netherlands "Chinese Bridge" Contestants: "My Future Is Closely Related to Chinese Language"

[Source]    Confucius Institute at Zuyd University Maastricht [Time]    2020-06-30 16:54:29 

In the 19th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students in Netherlands Division, which ended not long ago, NolDuindam from University of Groningen, Guo Jiachen (Adam Bootes) from Zuyd University of Applied Science and DaniëlVuyk from the University of Groningen won the first, second and third prize respectively. After the competition, the three contestants shared their reasons for learning Chinese and described their indissoluble bond with China.

A Casual Start

All the three contestants were exposed to Chinese at a very young age. Daniel discovered the "mysterious" Chinese language when he was 8 years old. He wanted to learn Chinese very much because he could communicate with more people and make more new friends through Chinese language. So, since then, he has a habit of practicing Chinese for 15 minutes every day, which has been maintained until now.

NolDuindam from the University of Groningen, the first prize winner of the 19th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students

Jiachen came into contact with Chinese by accident when he was 15 years old. He was fascinated by Chinese songs on YouTube and began to pay attention to Chinese language and China. He said: "I am completely in love with China, and it has become my dream to have a deep understanding of Chinese language, culture and history." He took the first step to realize his dreamafter a trip to China and later chose Chinese as his major in the Department of Oriental Languages of Zuyd University of Applied Science.

Jiachen from Zuyd University of Applied Science, the second prize winner of the 19th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students

NolDuindam, who won the first prize in the competition, also started to learn Chinese from middle school. In the extracurricular class of Chinese language, the teacher was very enthusiastic and the course was very interesting, which further stimulated his interest in Chinese language. He has been learning Chinese all the time in high school and university.

Although China is thousands of kilometers away, the three contestants, curious about Chinese language, started their own trip to China.

Close Contact with China

What the three contestants have in common is that they have all traveled to China. Daniel came to China with his teacher when he was 12 years old. Although he was young at that time, Daniel still remembered the experience vividly. He said: "What excited me most was to live in local people's home, got along with them day and night, tasted all kinds of food together, and felt the way people communicate directly."

NolDuindam made a two-month trip to China through the Netherlands-Asia Honours Summer School. He not only acquired Chinese knowledge, but also experienced Chinese culture in Sichuan Province. The experience inspired him to practice his language skills every day, and he has been striving to perfect the details to keep improving.

Jiachen went to China as an au-pair, and lived in a local homestay. He really experienced the richness and diversity of Chinese culture in person.

About Learning Chinese

Learning a language is not easy. The most difficult part is to spend a lot of time practicing language expressions. Making mistakes and correcting mistakes are also part of the learning process. NolDuindam shared an embarrassing thing of himself. "I told a friend that I wanted to go to Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, but I didn’t say “xióngmāo” (panda), but “xiōngmáo”, which means 'chest hair', and my friends pondered for a long time and didn't understand what I was saying.." NolDuindam said, "I have remembered it since then, and I will never say panda in Chinese wrong again!"

Living in a foreign country and in a native language environment, language learners may be exposed to some sentence patterns and vocabulary that are not found in textbooks. Jiachen gave an example: the word "xing (行)" roughly means "ok/sure". Daniel cited "that/this ..." is equivalent to "um" in English. NolDuindam said that he was often asked, "Have you already eaten something? "

DaniëlVuyk, from University of Groningen, the third prize winner of the 19th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students

Keep Learning Motivation

During the competition, judges, contestants and the teachers at the Confucius Institute were impressed by the natural and fluent Chinese expression of the three contestants. How did they do this?

NolDuindam, Jiachen and Daniel all said that they tried to integrate Chinese learning into their daily life, including reading HSK materials, listening to Chinese music, writing Chinese characters, using language Apps, chatting with Chinese friends and so on. The most important thing is to make an overall plan for learning Chinese, and use a variety of methods systematically and effectively.

As excellent Chinese speakers, the three contestants are willing to share their experiences and lessons with beginners. NolDuindam said, "My first suggestion is to pay attention to pronunciation and intonation, and strive for accuracy from the beginning. Of course, my Chinese teacher reminded me at the beginning when I started to learn Chinese, but I was too stubborn to understand it well. "

Jiachen emphasized the importance of Chinese resources. "It is necessary to create an environment that can speak Chinese, for example, by listening to music and watching TV. It is even better if there is a Confucius Institute nearby. You can often go there to chat with teachers. "

Daniel believed that the motivation for learning language is the most important. "If you only learn Chinese for career development, it is good, but if you learn Chinese to communicate with people and make friends, it will really help your study in the long run."

About Future

All the three contestants have integrated Chinese into their future career plans. NolDuindam plans to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry, and he will interact with colleagues and other researchers in Chinese; Jiachen is looking forward to completing his studies in Chinese language and working and living in China in the future; Daniel will begin his MSc in supply chain management in the fall, and he will reflect on the changing role of China in the business world in Chinese.


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