This year marks the 10-year anniversary for the "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign High School Students, organized by the Confucius Institute’s Headquarters (Hanban). The Preliminary Rounds for national qualifying was in April, took place in Szeged and was organized by the Chinese Embassy in Budapest. It was won by the student of the SZTE Confucius Institute; Ekler-Szabó Botond Alexander – student of Karinthy Frigyes High School, Budapest. The runner-up was Máté Kollmann – student of the Chinese – Hungarian Bilingual School. Both of them got the chance to travel to the finals between 17th and 28th October, held in China, in Yunnan province, city of Kunming.
In the final 105 teams, from 96 countries were competing against each other. The contents of the competition included Chinese language proficiency, knowledge about China, Chinese cultural talents and comprehensive learning abilities. Each day of the tournament brought new qualifiers, where the least qualified teams came in line. The qualifiers were extremely tiresome, due to the fact, that the tasks for the next day were given to the contenders late-night, and they had to compete against each other in forms of tests, speed contest or theatrical scenes. Since almost all of the high school contestants had proficient knowledge of the Chinese language, it perfectly showcased the significance of the Chinese language education as well as created a fierce competition. As the competition got harder and harder, the contesters from the different countries had to come to the realization, that their opponents will be their colleagues in the future, when it comes to being an expert about China.
Our competitors spent months preparing for the competition, with the help of our teachers, Song Fang and then Tao Shangfei. The youngsters were accompanied by Alexandra Tóth, the office manager of the SZTE Confucius Institute, who among helping our students, also tried to boost their morals throughout the competition. This three-week trip was also an excellence opportunity for her to further strengthen her Chinese knowledge.
Although our students were the youngest among the participants, they placed 7 out of 105 teams, which is an incredible accomplishment. As the students got further into the competition, their fan base also increased, so it was even stunning for them to see their own faces from huge screens.
Among the competition our competitors have not just received some well-deserved recognition, diploma and trophies, but a 6 months’ scholarship to China. Our institute is incredibly grateful for this amazing accomplishment and congratulate to our competitors. We hope that their accomplishments will convince more and more youngsters about the importance of learning Chinese language, and also that the SZTE Confucius Institute can be a great partner in that journey.