University of Sheffield student takes gold at UK Chinese language finals

A University of Sheffield student, who is also the student of SCI, has won first place in the UK final of the acclaimed Chinese language proficiency contest the Chinese Bridge.

Xinqun Hu

David Geary, who is studying Chinese and Russian, was announced as the winner of the Grand Prize at the UK Chinese Bridge Competition held in London on Saturday (22 April 2017).

His language performance, which impressed the judges and members of the Chinese Embassy, included a rap in Mandarin Chinese, Chinese dialects and English.

In his rap, he spoke of how hard work is the key to mastering the Chinese language.

He also gave a presentation titled My Football Dream about his ambition of setting up a football training school in Guizhou, where he lived as a child. He talked about how football can bring together people of different nationalities, cultures and beliefs and how it inspires a positive attitude towards life.

David - whose Chinese name is 吉伟仁 Ji Weiren - will now represent the UK at the competition’s international final in China.

The Chinese Bridge competition began 16 years ago and has become the world’s most prestigious Chinese language proficiency competition for foreign university students.

David was awarded the Grand Prize by Minister Qin Zhu from the Chinese Embassy. The event was also attended by Ambassador Xiaoming Liu and Education Council General Yongli Wang.

Professor Sir Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield - himself a Chinese speaker - said: "I am delighted that David has won this accolade and that he has shown such accomplishment in the Chinese language. The University of Sheffield has outstanding links in China through our work in both research partnerships, teaching and student exchange.

"It is very fitting that this competition is called 'the bridge' as being able to communicate is the first step to any people's coming to understand one another and to work together. Now David will take all he has learned to the international finals. We wish him all the very best as he represents his university and his country in China."

David’s tutor Aina Jiang, a Confucius Institute teacher from Nanjing University, also won the ‘Best Tutor’ Prize of the competition. Nanjing University has a longstanding partnership with the University of Sheffield in key areas of research such as science and engineering, as well as through its Confucius Institute.

David said: “All the contestants taking part were very talented, so it was an honour to win the competition. I would like to thank my tutor, Aina Jiang, first and foremost for all the hard work she put in tutoring me and for her patience, and all my friends and family who helped me through it with their support and encouragement. I would also like to thank the Confucius Institute for their support too. I could not have done any of this without all of you, so thank you.”

He added; “I actually quite enjoyed the competition, normally I hate being on stage, but being able to share my dreams and to rap in Chinese was fun.

“I feel a lot of expectation and pressure now from everyone for me to do well at the finals in China. I'll be giving my all, doing the best I can – not to win, but to be honest. To share my dreams, try to make a difference in the world and do my boys in China proud.”

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