A call has been made for more students at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, to not only learn Chinese, but study the country’s culture too. And, China’s Ambassador to Barbados Wang Ke believes being able to speak the foreign language will give the students a competitive edge.
Speaking at today’s Barbados preliminary round of the 14th Chinese Bridge –– Chinese Proficiency Competition for foreign college students at the Cave Hill Campus, Ke said she would love to see more students sign up for the programme.
“If you learn to speak Chinese, you will have friends from all over the world. Also, if you can speak Chinese, not only will you have friends all over the world, but you will have the competitive edge in your future careers.
“We need more Barbadians, especially youngsters who can speak Chinese and who can use Chinese as a tool, to contribute to our bilateral relationship,” she acknowledged.
Ke revealed that as part of efforts to encourage students to learn the language, the Chinese Embassy was thinking of setting up a scholarship to assist those university students who chose to.
While noting that the main aim of the competition was to “stimulate enthusiasm and interest in learning the Chinese language and to enhance knowledge and understanding of China”, pro-vice-chancellor and principal of UWI, Cave Hill Campus, Professor Eudine Barriteau, said she would like to see a similar competition held in China.
“The Cave Hill Campus also fully supports Chinese women and men gaining and pursuing a greater understanding of Barbadian and Caribbean culture,” Barriteau noted.
“And I can think of no better way to activate the Barbados-Chinese-Caribbean metaphoric bridge than to organize a similar competition in some part of the vast country of China, perhaps of area of a province.”
Six competitors took part in the competition, which was organized by the Chinese Embassy, as well as the Confucius Institute, and which included three categories: Speech, Talent Show, and Question & Answer.
In the end, Anya Lewis, who has been studying Chinese for five years, was the predictable winner with convincing performances in all three sections.
Saskia Mosley placed second, while Parvatie Persuad finished third.