Bowdoin students competed in The Chinese Bridge Speech Contest for University Students in New England held at the Confucius Institute at University of Massachusetts (UMass) Boston on April 19 for the first time in the competition’s six-year history. Bowdoin students ranked highly at the competition, with Eduardo Jaramillo ’17 placing third among advanced level contestants and Louis Frumer ’18 placing second at the beginner level. Jaramillo was also chosen as one of six contestants to be a Cultural Ambassador, resulting in an all-expense-paid trip to China, taking place in June.

Twenty-one students from the New England area competed across three different levels of Chinese proficiency—beginner, intermediate and advanced. Students were judged on two performances, one for their speech and language proficiency through a self-written composition piece and another in an entertainment category, featuring cultural performances. 
Visiting Senior Lecturer in Chinese Language Lisa Ahnert emphasized the students’ achievement. 

“Bowdoin students are always busy, so we only had the chance to rehearse together three times before the actual competition,” said Ahnert. “The entertainment piece was especially challenging, as we do not have the resources of a larger department, such as the Confucian studies center at UMass, in the form of costumes and music.”

Ahnert hopes Bowdoin’s strong showing will entice more students to take courses with the Chinese department, and also encourage current Chinese language students to take part in next year’s contest.

Bowdoin students also performed very well at this year’s Japanese Language Contest, held at the Consulate General of Japan in Boston. Of the nine available essay prizes, Melissa Miura ’19, Poy Pholcharee ’18, Heidi Cao ’16 and Claudia Knox ’19 won four. Bowdoin students have now placed first and second in the essay portion of the competition for three years in a row.