Feature: Auckland students showcase talents at wondrous Chinese Bridge language competitions-Xinhua

Feature: Auckland students showcase talents at wondrous Chinese Bridge language competitions

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-05-25 18:46:30

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, May 25 (Xinhua) -- A series of exhilarating Chinese language proficiency competitions were held on Saturday by the Confucius Institute in the New Zealand city of Auckland, bringing together students from various age groups and backgrounds.

The Chinese Bridge branded Auckland Regional Speech Competitions 2024 showcased the participants' linguistic talents, cultural appreciation and passion for the Chinese language.

Students from over 30 schools across the wider Auckland region gathered to demonstrate their Chinese language skills and cultural understanding. From Chinese songs to Chinese crosstalk and tongue twisters, from Chinese paintings and calligraphy to Tai Chi and Wushu demonstrations, talented students were able to put together a rich Chinese culture exhibition for onlookers. The applause echoed through the auditorium, celebrating their talents and bridging cultural boundaries.

Caleb Jenkins, a 12th-grade student from Selwyn College, emphasised the importance of learning Chinese in his speech. "Chinese opens doors for me to understand China's history and culture," he said, "As China's economic and cultural influence grows globally, fluency in Mandarin becomes essential."

Jenkins also prepared a Chinese pop song with guitar accompaniment, which lyrics he self-learnt from online. "Learning Chinese is like having wings to soar between different cultures and languages," Jenkins said in Mandarin confidently.

Having learnt only four months of Chinese, 10th-grade student Henry Tran from Northcote College was encouraged by his teacher to participate in the competition.

While busy taking photos of her son in traditional Chinese costume, Yuna Tran was very proud of her child and believed that learning Chinese is important for communication. "There are many Chinese people in our neighborhood, and everyone speaks Chinese. It is good to learn some Chinese," she said.

Julie Mana'o, the lead teacher at the New Lynn School, enthusiastically watched her six pupils' culture performances, Colorful Clouds Chasing the Moon, at the competition. She was very supportive of her school's Chinese teaching and learning activities.

The competition gave students from different backgrounds, especially disadvantaged groups, a good opportunity, believed Mana'o.

"We love our students learning Chinese and participating in such competitions. It is a good opportunity for our students, two of them from refugee backgrounds, to perform and showcase their talent to a wider audience," said Mana'o.

Zhang Suhang, a graduate student from East China Normal University's Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages program, has been working in Auckland as a Mandarin language assistant (MLA) for four months by now. The New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement supports the placement of MLA in New Zealand schools to facilitate the teaching and learning of Mandarin and to raise the quality of Mandarin language provision in New Zealand schools.

Zhang tirelessly helped her students prepare for the competition and was overwhelmed by her students' enthusiasm for learning the Chinese language and culture.

"The students practised a lot during their spare time. They really like Chinese cultural activities," said Zhang.

Participants at the Chinese language competitions on Saturday were grouped into three competitions for primary, secondary and college students.

Top students selected from the Auckland Regional Speech competitions will have the opportunity to represent Auckland with winners from other parts of New Zealand for the final competition in China.