by Marzia De Giuli
TURIN, Italy, April 29 (Xinhua) — A particularly heated round of the “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, was held in Turin on Friday.
Fourteen Italian students learning the Chinese language, selected from the country’s best universities took part in the contest. Chinese Ambassador to Italy Ding Wei, directors of Italy’s 10 Confucius institutes and some local officials joined the event.
The contestants, coming from all over Italy, demonstrated their language skills and cultural understanding during the competition, including a speech contest, a cultural knowledge test and a talent show.
Valentina Bruccoleri, a student from Venice university, recalled in her speech her unforgettable exchange experience in China, when she stayed in a family in Henan in central China. Her “Chinese mother,” she said, was so caring that, at the beginning, she felt she was being treated like a baby.
“But, after a while, I realized that she was so thoughtful because she considered me a real daughter. Before I left, she wrote me a caring letter, and I realized her home will be open to me forever. That is my second beloved home,” she said, visibly moved.
Walter Ferrante, a student from Milan University, surprised the audience by playing the “erhu,” a two-stringed bowed traditional Chinese music instrument.
The winner of the Italy round, Fabio Nalin, who is to take part in the final competition in Changsha, China, gave a stunning show of Chinese martial art, Wushu.
“Wushu taught me three important things: respect everyone, deeply understand others, and search for interior peace,” he said, adding his unexpected victory has made him feel a deep and new sense of responsibility in representing Italian students in the final round in China.
Thanks to the Chinese Bridge, another student, Fabrizio Fumagalli, had an opportunity to improve his Chinese language skills and knowledge of China.
“I was not a very good student,” he said in his speech, “but after I watched a friend of mine successfully taking part at last year’s Chinese proficiency competition, I realized I also needed to work hard to get good results and happiness,” he said in fluent Chinese.
Chancellor of Turin University, Ezio Pelizzetti, said he wished the competition would help further strengthen the friendship between the two countries.
“The Chinese Bridge represents a valuable opportunity for all these students to be like ambassadors of Italy in China,” he said.
An increasing number of Italian young people are studying Chinese, Marco Ceresa, a member of the jury and professor of Chinese at Venice University, told Xinhua.
“I am impressed by the fact that, only 30 years ago, I was a student of Chinese in Venice together with other 30 students. Today the same university has over 1,500 students studying Chinese, and the number is still rising,” he said.
Editor: Deng Shasha