21 March 2013
SOAS students have taken the top prizes in the UK final of a Chinese language proficiency contest.
SOAS has an outstanding record of success in the Chinese Bridge Competition, a prestigious international contest in Chinese language and culture proficiency for non-native speakers. For the last four years, a SOAS student has taken first or second prize in the UK final of the competition, demonstrating SOAS' leading position in the teaching of Chinese language and culture.
This year, the top grand-prize place went to BA Social Anthropology and Politics student Anna Fay Brunner, second prize was awarded to Richard Van Der Gees, BA Chinese (Modern and Classical) & Ecomonics joint degree student, and Joshua France, studying BA Chinese (Modern and Classical). Third prize went to Clarissa Langley, also a BA Chinese (Modern and Classical), student.
The students have secured a place in the final, which will take place in China this summer where Anna Fay, Josh and Richard will represent the UK to compete with the world.
Grand-prize winner Anna Fay commented: “When thinking about how best to describe the Chinese Bridge competition, the word ‘adventure’ comes to mind. I had no idea there would be so much to prepare, but I learned a great deal in the last few weeks, mostly because of the excellent support and mentoring provided by Lik Suen, who is the principal lector in Chinese department, also the deputy director of the Confucius Institute at SOAS.
“The meaning of my ‘special prize’ only became clear to me a split second after I had received it, I was swamped by a crowd of journalists clamouring to ask questions! It was an experience I wouldn’t want to miss! As for the future, I have a feeling the adventure has only just begun.”
The chair of judges Dr Yuan Boping, from the University of Cambridge, added: “The standard of this year’s Chinese bridge competition has improved dramatically. The contestants’ understanding of Chinese language and Chinese culture are solid and thorough, I am really impressed. The number of contestants competing also seems to increase each year. This is testament to the growing popularity of the Chinese learning in the UK and SOAS’ leading position in the field.”
SOAS Professor of Chinese Michel Hockx, who was also on the judging panel, said: “Everybody was extremely impressed by our students' performance, as was I. It was a great success for SOAS!”
Held at the British Museum on 16 March 2013, this was the 12th Chinese Bridge competition to take place in the UK. Professor Paul Webley, the director of SOAS, was invited to give an opening speech to represent universities in the UK and the contestants were presented by Rebecca Miller, a fourth year BA Chinese Language student.
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