Guests and contestants pose for photos after the final round of Northern Vietnam of the 11th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese proficiency competition in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Aug. 24, 2018. (Xinhua/Wang Di)
by Tao Jun, Bui Long
HANOI, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) -- "My student has already secured a berth to the Chinese Bridge final in China," read a status posted on Friday on a social network by a Vietnamese man.
The post from Do Trinh, a teacher of Chinese language at Hoang Van Thu Specialized High School in Vietnam's northern Hoa Binh province, immediately received hundreds of responses from both friends and strangers.
One of his 12th grade students, Nguyen Thi Ha Ngan, on Friday won the first prize at the 11th Chinese Bridge, a Chinese proficiency competition for Vietnamese high school students held in the capital city of Hanoi.
Ngan and the special prize winner named Nguyen Ha Dung, a 12th grade student at the Foreign Language Specialized School in Hanoi, will attend the final round of the international Chinese Bridge in China in October.
Do Trinh's endless efforts of giving Chinese lectures for years at his school and at free short training courses have eventually paid off. "I feel very proud now. Please come to our school to see our achievements in Chinese teaching and studying with your own eyes," he told Xinhua on Friday.
Many Vietnamese people, both elderly and young, have expressed their deep interests in the Chinese language. For them, having a good command of Chinese brings them not only joy but also opportunities.
Most of contestants and their supporters at the competition on Friday told Xinhua that they like Chinese naturally, mostly due to great similarities between Vietnam and China in many aspects, and that the language's proficiency will open up big opportunities for them to win scholarships to further study in China and have good jobs after graduation.
"The special prize today has made not only my daughter happy, but also my family and her school happy. She started to study Chinese late, in her 10th grade, while her elder sister began learning Chinese earlier, in the 3rd grade," Pham Thi Ha, mother of Nguyen Ha Dung, told Xinhua on Friday, failing to hide her pride in her eyes and voice.
Ha said she hopes her daughter to attend a university in Vietnam first, and then pursue further studies in China and to be successful in her career like Dung's sister.
"Dung's sister today successfully defended her thesis for her master's degree. She is teaching Chinese at the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam," the mother said proudly.
Like Dung and her sister, many young people in Vietnam love studying in China.
Nguyen Dang, an 11th grade student at Bac Giang Specialized School in the northern province of Bac Giang, said the Chinese Bridge is one of the driving forces for him to study Chinese well and then to pursue higher education in Beijing.
"My class has 36 students, of whom 20 specialize in studying Chinese and they are keen on further studies in Beijing. I specialize in studying English, but I can speak Chinese too," Nguyen Anh Dinh, a 12th grade student at the Foreign Language Specialized School in Hanoi, told Xinhua on Friday, while cheering the Chinese Bridge's winners.
Not only high school students but also university students are fond of attending the annual competition and receiving scholarships to study in China. On Friday, many university students came to the University of Languages and International Studies (ULIS), which hosted the 11th Chinese Bridge, to support and cheer contestants.
"I came here to support contestants from the Tran Phu Specialized School (in the northern city of Hai Phong). I started learning Chinese three years ago. Now I am studying international business economics at the Foreign Trade University," Nguyen Hoang Khanh Lam, a freshwoman at the Foreign Trade University in Hanoi, told Xinhua.
"I have been to Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou and realize that the Chinese cities are very civilized and modern, while people there are very friendly. After graduation, I want to get a master's degree in China or work in the field of import and export between Vietnam and China," said Lam, who believed that investment and trade ties between the two countries are becoming better and better.
Vietnamese students' thirst for knowledge and good command of Chinese, and their aspiration for further studies in China have been verified by local educators and experts.
"I was surprised at many contestants' proficiency of Chinese language, their knowledge of China, and their cultural talents shown through their answers, speeches, singing, dancing and other performances," Nguyen Hoang Anh, director of the ULIS-Sunwah Chinese Teaching and Research Center under the University of Languages and International Studies, a member of the competition's judging panel, told Xinhua after the competition.
According to the director, more and more Vietnamese students are studying Chinese because many people speak the language, which offers them a wide range of opportunities to make connections and eventually make life better.
"The Chinese Bridge is a good playing ground for young lovers of the Chinese language to make friends and make stable steps in their career paths," Anh said, pointing her hand to the backdrop of the competition stage, which featured a short sentence written in both Chinese and Vietnamese: "Studying Chinese - having friends everywhere."