Four students from ACG Parnell College took part in the 2017 National Chinese Bridge Speech Competition at Confucius Institute, Victoria University in Wellington in the weekend.
Organised by the Confucius Institute, the competition provides a platform for Kiwi students to develop a better understanding of Chinese culture and improve their Chinese language skills.
This year’s theme was ‘Learn Chinese, Double Your World’.
All four ACG Parnell College students gained a top-three placing, competing against 15 candidates from different schools all over New Zealand in each category. In the junior secondary session Ashani Waidyatillake, Year 9, came second, while Jake Doyle, Year 10, and Saurav Santram, Year 9, placed third equal.
In the senior secondary session, Mitchell Brett, Year 13, came second. His performance won him the opportunity to represent New Zealand in an international speaking competition in Kunming, China, in October, alongside ACG Parnell College Chinese teacher Josephine Chin as coach. [He will be sitting his Cambridge examinations at the time, so is unable to attend.]
Ms Chin said everyone was thrilled by the experience and the outcome for the students.
“Our four students worked very hard and their speeches were of the highest standard. They were very well prepared, spoke fluently and were very enthusiastic in what they were doing. In the performance session, Ashani had a qipao on and she played a Chinese musical instrument, called hulosi. Mitchell sang a Chinese pop song; Jake told a joke in Chinese and Saurav performed kungfu. The cultural performances helped everyone to immerse in the Chinese atmosphere.”
As Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world, learning Chinese not only allows students to develop an understanding of the language, but also provides an opportunity to gain a better understanding of Chinese culture, according to Ms Chin.
“It enables students to converse and make friends with international students. This potentially builds bridges, both culturally and socially.” She said that with China poised to become the largest global economy, learning and speaking Chinese can also enhance job opportunities.