In Chinese competition, first time’s a charm

Lake Forest College students earned a bronze medal in a regional Chinese language competition. It was the first time Lake Forest participated in the event and it was the only small liberal arts college represented.

Ann H. Kong ’17, Benedetta Borri ’15, and Kate Raftery ’14 attended the 13th China Bridge Speech U.S. Midwest Regional Competition for second and third year Chinese language levels. Borri won the bronze medal for Lake Forest, while Kong and Raftery received participation certificates at the competition, which was held at Purdue University. Finalists go on to compete against other U.S. regions in China.

“The event celebrated the success of our students who worked tirelessly on the contest and showcased their enormous achievements in learning Chinese,” said Instructor of Chinese Ying Wu, who coached the students. 

Each contestant gave a speech in Chinese and presented a Chinese cultural talent. Borri talked about different concepts of beauty across cultures and showed her drawings; Raftery sang a popular Chinese song titled “You Exist in My Songs,” and Kong sang a Chinese song while playing guitar.

Competing contestants came from large universities such as University of Chicago, University of Wisconsin, and Northwestern University, all institutions with substantial undergraduate Chinese language programs, explained Wu. 

“Among these institutions, we were the only liberal art college, and it is our first time competing in this regional speech contest,” said Wu. “With almost a month preparation and training, winning a bronze medal is a huge achievement for Benedetta Borri and our school.”

Ms. Borri had a great experience. “An opportunity without equal, participating in the contest has been the highlight of my semester,” said Borri. “In addition to pronouncedly improving my Chinese, this competition has enabled me to challenge myself to speak under pressure, to learn from other fellow participants’ talents, and to gain motivation from their advanced knowledge,” she said.

Ms. Raftery agrees. “This competition was so much fun!” said Raftery. “This competition showed me how far I’ve come with my language studies and encouraged me to keep working in the hopes to one day become fluent!”

Ms. Kong looks forward to next year. “I wish to have Lake Forest College continue to participate in the upcoming speech contest at Norte Dame University in 2015,” she said.