Australian teens learn Chinese to broaden horizon |
News and Events
Home > News Center > News and Events

Australian teens learn Chinese to broaden horizon

facebook twitter linkedin
Xinhua | Updated: Jun 07, 2024
One contestant of the Australia final of the "Chinese Bridge" Chinese proficiency competition gives a speech in hanfu costume in Sydney on May 27. MA PING/XINHUA

For many teenagers in culturally diverse Australia, mastering a new language other than English opens up an avenue to bond with friends of a different background in the same community, explore alternative ways of life and view the world with a broader horizon.

The Australia Final of the 17th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Secondary School Students wrapped up in Sydney on May 27, with 12 young contestants from all across the Oceanic country.

After taking a written test on basic knowledge in the opening round, the Australian teenagers walked onto the stage, delivering speeches that echoed the theme of "Fly High with Chinese".

In the final round, a spectrum of talent shows brought the competition to a climax, where the contenders dressed up in elaborate Chinese traditional clothing, such as hanfu, qipao and an entire set of Peking Opera costumes, to demonstrate their understanding of Chinese culture.

Among these skilled polyglots, some sang classical Chinese songs, like Tian Mi Mi (Cherie, originally by Teresa Teng), while others showcased their gifted musical instrument skills. They were not only adept at interpreting Chinese music with instruments such as the violin, flute and piccolo but also excelled in playing the cucurbit flute, known as a hulusi.

The final round also featured performances of both traditional Chinese dance and modern hip-hop, and some contestants displayed their calligraphy abilities.

Hallie Richards from Methodist Ladies' College eventually emerged as the winner of this year's Australia final.

With the support of her mother, Richards has been studying Chinese since the age of five.

This year marks her second time competing in the Chinese proficiency competition.

Another shows his skills in calligraphy. MA PING/XINHUA

"That was crazy. After all this time I finally did it. I always thought maybe I could get first place but when it happened, it was kind of a surprise," the lively 15-year-old girl said post-match.

Richards says that what drew her toward Chinese culture was not only because she's been studying the language for the past decade.

"Once you can have a conversation with people in Chinese, you're more encouraged to keep learning the language, because you can actually converse with people," she says, noting that the language helped her experience the rich culture and history of China.

Growing up in Australia, a melting pot of diverse cultures, Richards has numerous Chinese friends and often visits their homes, during which she can speak with their parents and familiarize herself with Chinese customs.

"Learning about their lives gives you a broader perspective on the world," says Richards, who aspires to become an ambassador to boost communication between Australian and Chinese cultures.

During the event, China's acting Consul General in Sydney Wang Chunsheng pointed out that the Chinese language embodies the extensive and profound history and culture of China, with the number of people learning Chinese in Australia having surged to 190,000.

He hopes that more Australian friends will learn Chinese, pay more visits to China, share their firsthand experiences of China-Australia exchanges, and help enhance mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples.

"To understand a culture and its people, it is important to have cross-cultural experiences. This includes not only language but also knowledge of customs, history, geography and arts," says Robert Kok, deputy mayor of Sydney.

"I think all of you are the best ambassadors for Australia when you represent us in China," Kok adds.

According to the Chinese Consulate General in Sydney, the organizer of the event, top performers will travel to China for the global championship.