This weekend, TWOC was present at an annual speech competition for visiting US students.
Held at Beijing Normal University (BNU), the event gathered together participants from the Harvard-Beijing Academy (HBA), Princeton in Beijing Program (PIB), Columbia in Beijing Program (CIB), and the University of Chicago Program, as well as those enrolled in the Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies of Tsinghua University (IUP).
The aim was clear: contestants had five minutes to give a talk on a subject of their choice in Chinese. Due to the differences in skill level and heritage, the students were split into different groups. Those not ethnically Chinese were placed in beginner, intermediate, and advanced level groups. Those with Chinese ethnicity were split into intermediate and advanced categories.
Students performed exceedingly well, which was all the more impressive considering that the competition started at 8am on a Sunday.
A healthy dose of academic pride raged during the award ceremony, with each section fiercely cheering for their classmates if they won. After the awards were received, winners were required to reenact their speeches in front of the attending friends, teachers, and other miscellaneous audience members.
Topics ranged from Chinese education and communication and China’s slow green train rides, to racial issues and the philosophy of fishing—all in eloquent, entertaining Chinese. What’s more, participants showed their individuality with their differing methods of rhetoric delivery. Some were towering orators, commanding the attention of the audiences with their words and delivery. Others utilized movement and vocal acrobatics to help illustrate the points that they were making.
Improve your Chinese speaking and presentation skills with these handy tips.