The 11th “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Secondary School Students Ireland Qualifiers was held in Cork on March 11th 2018. Sponsored by China’s Hanban, and co-hosted by the education section of the Chinese Embassy in Ireland, UCC Confucius Institute (CI) and the UCC School of Asian Studies, the competition attracted 119 secondary school students from Dublin, Cork, and other cities and regions. Candidates representing the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland (CII) took 1st prize on the day.
Among the guests present were Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr. Fergal Dennehy, First Secretary of the Education Section of the Chinese Embassy in Ireland Mr Dawei Zheng, UCD CII Co-Director Mr Wei Zhang, UCC CI Co-Director Ms Xiaohong Xu and Hanban Project Officer Xiaodong Hu.
In his opening address Mr Dawei Zheng said that the ‘Chinese Bridge’ competition acts as a bridge between China and Ireland; it encourages Irish students to learn Chinese and enhances their understanding of the Chinese language and culture.
Guests (from left): Wei Zhang, Xiaodong Hu, Dawei Zheng, Xiaohong Xu
At the end of February, UCD CII’s nine candidates started their coaching with Ms Xuan Yang, who was in charge of ‘Chinese Bridge’ competitions. They did a mock competition which included public speeches, talent shows and quizzes. Ms Jin Xu and Mingyi Tang coached the contestants of public speech skills and contents in the one-to-one sessions. Another teacher Ms Qing Yang, who led last year’s contestants to China for the final round of the ‘Chinese Bridge’ competition, shared her experience gained from her observations and gave the contestants invaluable advice. The contestants’ class teachers Ms Siliang Zhou and Ms Qiqi Zhou helped them with the quizzes and talent shows. The candidates benefited greatly from the mock contest and one-to-one coaching, which boosted their confidence.
Contestants representing UCD CII
Led by UCD CII co-director Mr Wei Zhang, a team of 30 contestants and teachers arrived in Cork on March 11th. An afternoon of keen competition resulted in one 1st place, two runners-up and three 3rd places from the UCD CII. Conor Hensey spoke of his Chinese learning experience in fluent Chinese; his guitar solo ‘Letter to Home’ demonstrated his deep affections for China. His fluent Chinese and musical talent won a unanimous vote from the judges for a 1st prize. Alanna McManus described her experience in Shanghai and the cultural shock she experienced in fluent Chinese; she said her dream was to perform with Chinese musicians Lang Lang and Yudi Li. Leon Reilly immersed the audience in a beautiful Chinese song Legend, which he played on the harp. Helen Zhang’s lively kuaiban (a pair of bamboo clappers) performance and Moreblessing Chigwedere’s touching Chinese sign language performance won the audience’s applause.
1st prize winner Conor Hensey
Runner-up Alanna McManus
3rd prize winner Leon Reilly
Runner-up Alanna McManus
“Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Secondary School Students in Ireland increases Irish secondary school students’ interest in learning Chinese; it also promotes the cultural exchanges between China and Ireland. The UCD CII will endeavor to provide more opportunities and support for Irish secondary school students, and will also encourage more students to participate in ‘Chinese Bridge’ competitions, through which they can show off their knowledge and talents.