Language proficiency contest encourages Cambodians to learn Chinese

Updated: May 13, 2024 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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PHNOM PENH, May 11 (Xinhua) -- The Confucius Institute of the Royal Academy of Cambodia on Saturday organized the 23rd "Chinese Bridge" Chinese proficiency competition for Cambodian university students.

A total of 10 Cambodian finalists, shortlisted out of dozens of candidates from various universities and institutes in the Southeast Asian country, were contested in the final round held at the Royal Academy of Cambodia in Phnom Penh.

Among the tests set for the participants were a quiz, delivering keynote speeches and a talent show with each participant presenting performances related to Chinese culture including songs, music, dancing, drawing and martial arts, among others.

As a result, the top winner was awarded to Kol Sovathanak, a 22-year-old student from the Confucius Institute of the Cambodia-China University of Technology and Science.

Speaking to Xinhua after the contest, Sovathanak said this annual event has become an important platform for young students across the world to learn Chinese language and culture.

"The contest helps improve our knowledge in Chinese language, Chinese culture and civilization, and it is also a platform for Cambodia-China cultural exchanges," he said.

He added that the program is really good for Cambodian students because it provides them new experience, making them overcome fear and anxiety and feel self-confidence.

"I'm really excited and proud to win the first place in the contest because although I'm a Cambodian, I can do well in the Chinese proficiency contest," he said.

Sovathanak, who has studied Chinese for more than three years, said Chinese language has gone popular in Cambodia thanks to close ties between the two countries in politics, economics, trade, investment, tourism, culture and education.

"Learning Chinese is not only easy to find a job, but also helps us to gain insights into Chinese culture, civilization and daily life," he said. "I recommend that Cambodian students, if they have time, should learn Chinese because there will be more Chinese people coming to Cambodia."

Looking into the future, Sovathanak said he wants to pursue his master's degree in China.

Koem Keamheang, a student at the Confucius Institute of Cambodia-China University of Technology and Science, who won the second place in the competition, said the contest is very useful for Chinese-learning students because it allows them to better understand about Chinese arts and literature.

"Currently, more and more people have learned Chinese," she told Xinhua. "I think Cambodian students can learn Chinese if they have time because it will help them get good jobs in the future."

Keamheang said she wants to become a teacher of Chinese in the future, so she can share her knowledge about Chinese literature, culture and civilization with others.

The 20-year-old student is also eager to pursue her study in China, saying that she has fallen in love with China since she was a child.

Joseph Matthews, a senior professor at the BELTEI International University in Phnom Penh, said the "Chinese Bridge" Chinese proficiency competition has not only helped students improve their Chinese proficiency, but also served as a bridge of friendship among Chinese-learning college students.

He said more and more Cambodian students have sought university degrees in Chinese literature as the Cambodia-China relations have been expanding rapidly in all areas.

"China has been emerging as a global economic power and is a very important player in the region, so learning Chinese will help further strengthen economic and trade ties between the two countries," he told Xinhua. 

Editor: Tian Shenyoujia