The "Chinese Bridge" speech contest, organized by the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles, and hosted by the Confucius Institute at the UA, took place on April 26th on the UA campus. Contestants in this year’s competition were college and university students currently enrolled in a Mandarin Chinese program during the 2013-14 academic year in Arizona, New Mexico, southern California, Hawaii, or selected Pacific islands. Students competed at one of two levels: Intermediate (for students who have studied Chinese for less than three years), and Advanced (for students who have studied Chinese for three years or more, or who have resided in China for more than 6 months). All contestants had to compose and deliver a short speech and answer judges’ questions pertaining to Chinese language, history, geography and culture.
Brandon James Barnett, a student in CHN 202 majoring in East Asian Studies and Linguistics at the UA, won first place at the Intermediate level.
Sharla Ruiz, a student in CHN 517 at the UA, won the first place at the advanced level. Sharla is likely to be invited to further rounds of competition nationally and internationally. Sharla’s performance was so impressive that after the ceremony she was surrounded by Chinese newspaper reporters. One judge asked what she knows about Chinese wedding customs. She said Chinese people sometimes invite government officials to their weddings, but this would never happen in the States. That made everyone laugh. Sharla will enter the M.A. program in East Asian Studies this fall and will focus on Chinese linguistics.