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