Chinese Consul-General in Chicago Zhao Jian (4th L) poses with guests and award winners after the 2019 Midwest College Student Chinese Speech Contest in Chicago, the United States, on April 27, 2019. The 2019 Midwest College Student Chinese Speech Contest took place at Loyola University in Chicago, attended by 40 students in the U.S. Midwest. (Xinhua/Wang Ping)
CHICAGO, April 28 (Xinhua) -- "This is me, Matt in English, and Wen Anrui in Chinese. Matt is like a father, he encourages Anrui to learn new Chinese vocabulary; when Anrui becomes confident in speaking Chinese, he encourages Matt to change his attitude toward life," Mathew Gilder, a university students from Wisconsin, opened his speech in a contest.
Gilder was one among 40 college students attending the 2019 Midwest College Student Chinese Speech Contest in Loyola University in Chicago on Saturday. Most of them have a good command of Chinese language, even in music.
Afrasiab Mian, a Northwestern University student, even performed rap with the Chinese language during the talent presentation section of the contest.
"I believe it is my destiny to learn Chinese. I firstly chose Spanish as second language in high school, but finally I was allocated to attend Chinese language," Mian recalled his experience.
Now as a Chinese learner of seven years, Mian could freely express himself fluently without accent. He said that after learning Chinese, he decided to study Chinese culture in Peking University in China.
In one year's time, Mian studied Chinese culture, and nearly traveled about half of China. "On my journey from Beijing to Yunan, I never felt lonely, because Chinese people are friendly. Actually, I found there is no divide between different peoples."
Mian concluded that learning Chinese changed his destiny. "At first I thought learning Chinese is unfortunate, but now I feel it is of much happiness. We should grasp every opportunity, maybe it will change our life."
Mian finally won the first prize in the group of advanced class students. As a special guest, Chinese Consul General in Chicago Zhao Jian handed the gold medal to Mian, and had a photo with him.
"So many universities are supporting Chinese language education in U.S. Midwest, I think it reflects how much every one present loves Chinese language and Chinese culture," said Zhao in his speech. "It also shows the schools, students and their parents value people-to-people and cultural exchanges and cooperation between China and the United States."
"This year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States, so I hope people between the two countries continue work together promoting mutual cooperation in different fields," Zhao said.
Gu Licheng, chairman of the organizing committee for Chinese speech contest, highly praised the contestants' performance and thanked their teachers and parents for helping them. "I hope through this contest, more people will know more about modern China, in history, art and culture. I wish more American people can make friends with Chinese people."