Date: August 30, 2016
A young man has just been crowned champion of the 15th edition of the Chinese Bridge Championship, an international competition for young people learning Mandarin. This was the first time a Canadian contestant won!
The Chinese Bridge Competition is organized by Hanban, the headquarters of the Confucius Institute in Beijing, China. The 15th edition of the contest, held in Changsha, Hunan Province, included 146 competitors from 108 countries. This fierce competition consists of 5 phases: the preliminary competition held in the respective countries of the competitors, the competition ‘Crossing the bridge’ in Changsha, the quarterfinal, semi-finals and the final. Testing modules include an oral presentation, knowledge tests on Chinese culture and a talent show. Andrei Zlotchevski excelled at every stage to become the big winner of ‘The Chinese Star’ title.
Andrei is a mathematics student at McGill University in Montreal. The idea of challenging himself to learn Mandarin, a language considered to be one of the most difficult to learn in the world, came to him while in high school. In Secondary IV, he became a pupil in beginner and intermediate language classes at the Confucius Institute in Quebec. Andrei’s intelligence and assiduity impressed his professors. After only one year of studies, Andrei surpassed everyone’s expectations when he attained level 4 scores on the HSK exam, a Chinese language test. Most students must take language courses for least 3 years to reach this level.
Subsequently, Andrei enrolled in the Mandarin course at Jiahua School, one of the highest-ranking Chinese schools in Montreal. Andrei has had several experiences in his courses with Jiahua. For example, in a history course offered by Mr. Xia Tian, Andrei gained comprehensive and systematic knowledge of Chinese history. He was fascinated by the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, poems, etc. He marveled at a long history, a deep culture of China and began to embark on activities promoting Chinese culture. He also participated in concerts of the Confucius Institute in Quebec, having played a role in the New Year of the goat production.
Regarding his vision for the future, Andrei is encouraged by official visits undertaken by the Canada and China and the establishment of bilateral relations between the two nations. He has hope that his training in Mandarin will afford him a wide range of opportunities in his career path after his studies.