Contestants deliver speeches at the final of the 19th Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students via video link (COURTESY PHOTO)
"My city, Wuhan, has reopened. I hope you will be able to come and see the cherry blossoms at Wuhan University and the Yellow Crane Tower," Zhang Dingyu, President of Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital, extended the invitation to all contestants via video call at the grand finale of the 19th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students on December 27, 2020.
Zhang spoke high of the friendship between China and other countries across the globe during the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, as well as the reciprocated aid and support from people all across the world throughout 2020. Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital in Hubei Province, central China, is a hospital specialized in infectious diseases and today finds itself more widely known as one of the key frontlines in the fight against COVID-19.
Inside the arena, the contestants had a "dialogue" with Zhang in the form of speeches on the topic of "same breath, shared fate."
"When the epidemic broke out worldwide in March, 2020, Belgium found itself in short supply of masks. My Chinese friends did not even hesitate to distribute their masks to me and my family,” Dai Luke, a Belgian contestant in the 19th edition of the competition said, "This gesture meant that the friendship between nations lies in the friendship between their people." On March 17, 2020, the medical care supplies donated by China to Belgium featured one slogan written in Dutch, French, and Chinese: Unity builds strength. "This is the motto on the national emblem of Belgium, and a motto deeply rooted in the cultures of both countries," he added.
Ma Mingyue, winner of the 19th edition of the competition in Oceania competition area shared her understandings of a Chinese idiom—"a peach for a plum, reciprocating kindness with kindness" between different countries in the fight against the pandemic. "We all walk on the same planet and stand under the same blue skies so under any circumstances, we are one big family," she explained.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many international events choosing to go online or digital. The 19th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students is no exception. The virus hasn’t curbed the passion and dedication harbored by students all over the world to showcase their talents in the field of Chinese culture. Hundreds of thousands of international college students signed up for this year’s edition.
Additionally, the pandemic has accelerated the application of new technologies in education and driven the reform of language learning, Tian Xuejun, Chinese Vice Minister of Education, said at the opening ceremony of the International Chinese Language Education Week 2020 in Beijing on December 14, noting that schools and institutions, both at home and abroad, have used the Internet, artificial intelligence and other technologies to explore new educational models.
Last October, the world’s first Online Chinese Classroom launched at the University of Aegean, Greece. It combines live broadcasts with group tutorials, and has very participating student equipped with paper textbooks as well as modified software to ensure a swift learning experience.
"What made our joint adventure so challenging, and yet so innovative, was the determination to overcome differences in time and space, even in the throes of a global pandemic. The goal was to realize a Chinese language e-learning system by means of advanced technologies and newly modeled pedagogical methods,” Ms. Chryssi Vitsilaki, Rector of the University of Aegean of Greece, said.
Copyedited by Elsbeth van Paridon
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