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