Our Students Earn Top Honors in 2014 Jiangsu Cup Chinese Speech Contest

Jiangsu Cup winners 2014
The four winners from left to right: Angela Sako, Samuel Klein, Eric Beeler and Marguerite Wedeman
November 05, 2014

Four GW students who are currently studying the Chinese language and culture in our department received the top awards in the 2014 Jiangsu Cup Chinese Speech Contest on November 2, 2014. The four GW contestants gave excellent performances and received the following awards:

Gold Award: Eric Beeler (温海涵)Majoring in International Affairs (currently taking Chinese courses in our department.)

Silver Awards: Angela Sako (安怡洁) Double majoring in Chinese and International Affairs and Marguerite Wedeman (吴晓曼) Double majoring in Chinese and International Affairs

Bronze Award: Samuel Klein (柯连山) Majoring in International Affairs and minoring in Chinese Language and Literature

As a gold award winner, Mr. Beeler said he was surprised he won. “I never thought I would get to where I am now - standing on a stage before a hundred guests and reciting a speech in Chinese. But, I did it!”  As an intermediate-high level learner of Chinese language, Mr. Beeler said George Washington’s Chinese language and literature program in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures helped him cultivate his interest in Chinese language and culture. He encourages new Chinese language learners to build a strong foundation in the spoken Chinese language and take advantage of the rich Chinese language learning resources at GW. “While learning Chinese can be hard at first, getting a strong foundation (learning tones, practicing writing, and gaining confidence in the language) is really important to future success. My advice to all new Chinese language learners: don't give up because it gets better! Chinese is a difficult language, but it is also one of the most rewarding ones to learn because it is less commonly spoken among foreigners. Utilize the GW language center's free tutoring, visit your professor during office hours, or even find a language exchange partner. The GW Chinese department (and your fellow students) are here to support you as you embark on this incredible journey of learning Chinese, so never be afraid to ask for help!” Eric Beeler is currently taking CHIN4107 Advanced Readings in Modern Chinese in our department and he is also considering minoring in Chinese.

Marguerite Wedeman said that participating in the Jiangsu Cup at GW last Sunday was “a very fun time”. This competition was a great opportunity “to test the Chinese that I have worked to master over the past three years by crafting a speech based on my own experiences in China and learning Chinese.” For her, it truly is a “satisfying” experience. “Having only very broken Chinese three years ago, it was very self satisfying to be able to stand up in front of an audience of my peers and Chinese teachers and be able to write and present a 5 minute speech and answer follow up questions. Going even further than the mere presentation, it was very rewarding to be awarded the Silver Award and have the opportunity to return to China on an eight day fully funded trip. Participating in the Jiangsu Cup gave me a tangible example of my progress and showed me that my steadfast efforts to study such a hard language are indeed worth it and will payoff in my career and long term future.”  In addition to testing her Chinese, Marguerite feels that the competition “was also a cool way to meet other Chinese language learners within the greater DC region and discuss our motivations behind and goals for studying the language. I would encourage all GW Chinese language learners to participate in this unique experience!”

Samuel Klein said:  "Studying a language is not an easy undertaking–and Chinese is no exception. To do well, one must be patient, persistent, and positive; it will not come easily, nor will it come quickly. But it is worth it. Being able to converse with someone in their native language opens up doors to new topics of conversations, new cultures, and new ideas. Language is not just a means of communicating, but also a means of getting to better know another individual, culture, and country. Although Chinese is one of the most difficult languages that I have studied, it has been a great experience and I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to learn it."

Our heartfelt congratulations go to all our winners who brought honor to GW as well as to themselves, but also to our extremely devoted Chinese language faculty. Additional information about this competition can be found at: http://gwtoday.gwu.edu/four-gw-students-win-awards-chinese-speech-compet...

Sponsored by GW's Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the GW Confucius Institute, the Language Center, Jiangsu Foreign Cultural Exchange Association, Jiangsu International Cultural Exchange Center and Institute for International Students of Nanjing University in China, the contest was open to undergraduate students studying Chinese in colleges and universities in the greater Washington Metropolitan area.