The Irish Final of the 13th International Chinese Bridge Competition for College Students
On the 26th of April 2014, sixteen Irish university students gathered at the Gresham Hotel, Dublin to compete in the Irish finals of the International Chinese Bridge Competition and battle it out for a chance to represent Ireland in the World Finals in China this summer. The students came from University College Dublin, University College Cork and Dublin Institute of Technology.
The venue was thronged with an excited crowd of Irish and Chinese who had gathered to see the talent on show. Mr. Xu Jianguo, the ambassador of the Chinese Embassy in Ireland, Mr. Wu Xiaochuang, first secretary of the Education Section of the Chinese Embassy, Prof. Siobhán Ní Laoire, head of Languages and Language Studies DIT, Prof. Liming Wang, director of the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland (CII), and Prof. Yongqiang Cai, deputy director of the UCD CII attended the key event.
The competition has two parts: the preliminary round and the final round. The final round is composed of a 1-minute Chinese speech and a Chinese-themed talent show. The contestants’ standard of pronunciation, fluency of expression, sense of humour, creativity and sincerity won bursts of applause from the audience. During the talent show section of the competition, the contestants performed an array of Chinese themed skills: Chinese painting and calligraphy, Chinese traditional instrument (Hulusi) demonstration, Chinese tongue-twisters, Chinese songs, Chinese dance and even a table tennis game.
In the end, one special prize, three third place prizes, two runner-up prizes and one first prize were awarded. Five out of the eight students from the UCD CII won prizes, including first prize, one runner-up prize, and two third prizes. Ms. May Wong from UCD got the first prize and will represent Ireland in the world final of the Chinese Bridge in Changsha, China.
Mr. Xu Jianguo, the ambassador of the Chinese Embassy congratulated all the contestants and said, “The best way to understand a nation is to learn its language and experience its culture. With the contribution of all the people present, there will be an even brighter future for the cooperation and communication between China and Ireland.”
The International Chinese Bridge competition aims to offer a platform for students learning Chinese from all over the world, especially the younger learners, to demonstrate their Chinese skills and Chinese talents. The competition has been organised in Ireland for 5 years, with more than 100 students from 20 colleges participating to date. The Chinese Bridge competition helps the students improve their Chinese skills and experience Chinese culture, and has become a bridge of culture, a bridge of friendship, and a bridge of spirit which connects Ireland and China.