Monday, April 25, 2011

Tim Quinn 丁崑天 Placed 1st in the 10th Annual Chinese Bridge

Story Contributed by Tim Quinn
Videos by Miaochun Wei

At the beginning of this semester, having just come back from study abroad, I was eager to find avenues to keep up with my Chinese and keep honing my language skills. When Wei Laoshi approached me and asked me if I wanted to compete in the Hanyuqiao competition, I agreed without hesitation. I didn’t even know what Hanyuqiao was at the time, all I knew was that it would give me extra opportunity to practice Chinese outside of my literature class with Professor Liana Chen.
When I agreed to participate I didn’t know who I would be working with nor did I know what I would be doing. I got an email from Professor Xiaoning Chen and I still remember our first meeting. We talked and she asked me about what I would like to do for the competition – I hadn’t a clue.

(Photo by Phyllis Zhang)

A few weeks went by and before I knew it I had a piece to practice complete with singing and tongue twisters. Chen Laoshi was strict, but I appreciated every moment of it and I am convinced that she has helped me immensely in maintaining and furthering my Chinese language capabilities. Given her impressive resume and her experience as an emcee, even a native mandarin speaker would be envious of the time I got to spend training with her.

In the weeks before the competition, I never even thought for one moment I had a chance at winning. I had entirely convinced myself that regardless the outcome I had decided to compete solely for the experience. It wasn’t until I got on the stage to give my speech that I fully came to realize just how much a help Chen Laoshi had actually been. Naturally, I was happy when I saw my scores (and I was even happier when I found out I won!) yet the most rewarding part of this experience hasn’t been the outcome, but rather the experience itself.

I am looking forward to going to China to participate in the next stages of this competition. However, what I look forward to more is coming back. Chen Laoshi has agreed to keep practicing with me during her time in Washington DC and it is this for which I am most grateful and excited. Yes, the awards and the recognition have been great. But the best part of participating in this year’s Hanyuqiao competition without a doubt has been the fact that it has given me the opportunity to meet and work with so many of our Chinese department’s wonderful faculty, especially Professor Xiaoning Chen. It was an absolute honor to represent GW and to represent such an excellent staff of dedicated and hardworking people. --Tim

The George Washington University
B.A. International Development/Anthropology
Class of 2012

Caleb Dependahl 戴永凯 Places 2nd in the 10th Annual Chinese Bridge

Story contributed by Caleb Dependahl
Videos by Miaochun Wei

Photo by Jianxin Cui

Participating and placing in the 10th Chinese Bridge Speech Competition was even more enjoyable than last year! I am very happy that I could bring honor to GWU and specifically our Chinese Department once again. One thing that makes our Chinese Department stand out from the rest is our amazing faculty. The amount of support and encouragement I’ve received from every single professor is amazing.

My experience preparing for this year’s competition differed greatly from my experience last year. Due to a heavier workload, I originally had no plans to compete in Chinese Bridge again. However, a few weeks before the competition our Director, Phyllis Zhang, along with several other smiling professors just happened to ask me – repeatedly – if I would be competing in the 汉语桥 coming up. I knew that resistance was futile and decided to jump in and enjoy the ride! Professor Chen Xiaoning was immediately assigned to whip me in shape, and before I knew it I was memorizing speeches and distracting anyone unlucky enough to be down the hall from our practice room!

I give all of the credit to three professors, without whom I would never have competed or done as well as I did. First, I would like to thank Prof. Phyllis Zhang, Director of GW Chinese Program, for urging me to compete these past two years. She has continued to push me to challenge myself and realize my full potential, and for that I am truly grateful. Next, I would like to thank Professor Wei Gengyun again, the visiting fellow from China (2008-10). It was she who helped me prepare for the 汉语桥 last year, and if it weren’t for her I never would have attempted my first “没有快板的快板”. She helped me discover a talent I never knew I had. Finally, I never would have done so well this year without the help of Professor Chen Xiaoning, another visiting fellow from China. Her guidance, patience and encouragement have brought me to the point where I am ready to bring my skills to the next level.

I would also like to thank Professor Wei Miaochun for videotaping our performances, and Professor Dong Hongyuan for driving us to and from the competition.

I sincerely thank you all!

-- Caleb

Caleb Dependahl is a Junior in the Elliott School of International Affairs, double majoring in Asian Studies and Chinese Language and Literature

GW Sweeps Chinese Bridge Speech Competition

(Photos by Prof. Jianxin Cui, Confucius Institute, UMD)

Tim Quinn (GW Chinese minor) and Caleb Dependahl (GW Chinese major) placed 1st and 2nd respectively in the 10th Annual Chinese Bridge Speech Competition preliminaries, Washington DC site. The competition of the DC site was held at the University of Maryland Confucius Institute, with 12 competitors from seven universities. Competitors were required to perform a formal speech, answer questions testing Chinese language and cultural knowledge, and perform a talent related to Chinese culture. The 1st and 2nd place winners of each region are sent to Beijing to represent the USA competing on the International Chinese Bridge on Chinese national television! Look forward to seeing their performances after this summer!

Dr. Julia Chen is currently a visiting fellow from China. Once a TV program host in Hubei TV Station, China, Dr. Chen used her pro skills to coach the two GW competitors. (Photo by Phyllis Zhang)

比赛前一天,我问崑天和永凯,要是没得奖,你们会失望吗? 他们说,我们不会在意,我们更在意这个学习的过程。我的心一下子放下了。现在,我常常想起的不是他们获奖的瞬间,而是在这间不大的办公室里,我们字斟句酌、反复锤炼的一个个场景……
On the day before the competition, I asked Tim and Caleb, if you guys don’t win will you be upset? They told me that winning didn’t even matter, what matters was the experience and what they had learned during the preparation process. I immediately was able to relax. Now, when I reflect on this experience, I generally don’t think about that award winning moment. Instead, I think of the time spent in that small office, practicing over and over, carefully weighing every word......
-- Julia Chen

Prof. Miaochun Wei had taught Tim before Tim went to the ACC program in China.

This is our third year that GW students have participated in Chinese Bridge Speech Contest, and we have the best performance this year. I have felt really delighted to see every contestant contribute tremendous time and efforts preparing for it with our teachers. They all exemplify GW spirit, increasing interest in learning Chinese language and culture, and above all, the mutual understanding of Chinese and Americans. I hope that their victory motivates both Tim and Caleb to continue further studies in Chinese, as well as encourages more of our students to pursue excellence in the global community in the future.
--Miaochun Wei

Prof. Miaochun Wei (left), Tim Quinn, Prof. Julia Chen (center), Prof. Phyllis Zhang (front, served as judge in this competition). Caleb Dependahl, Prof. Hongyuan Dong (right, served as judge in the previous competition).

Monday, April 4, 2011

GW Summer Intensive Chinese Courses

Good news for students who wish to take summer Chinese courses:

May 16-July 7 (Eight Weeks, 8 credits, equivalent of one academic year's work!)
Monday-Thursday 10am-3pm (with lunch break)
Instructor: Hongyuan Dong

CHIN2003 and CHIN2004
May 16-June 25 & July 6-August 16 (4+4 credits)
Monday-Thursday 12-2:30pm
Instructor: Miaochun Wei

Questions? Contact us:

By phone:
202-994-7106 (Department office)

By email: (CHIN1011) (CHIN2003/4)