A team of seven students from the University of Wisconsin–Madison performed best overall in the 2013 Chinese Speech Contest of U.S. Summer Programs in China. The students, participants in the 2013 UW Intensive Chinese Language program in Tianjin (China), took the top two positions – and, in one case, the top three positions – in all categories in which they competed.
“We are extremely proud of our students,” says Hongming Zhang, associate professor and coordinator of the Chinese Language Program in UW–Madison’s Department of East Asian Languages and Literature. Zhang directs the UW Intensive Chinese Language program in Tianjin (China)—an 11-week program of Mandarin language study, in which students of all proficiency levels can earn a year’s worth of credit.
The UW–Madison students competed August 4 with peers from eight other North American summer programs in Beijing and Tianjin at this year’s competition, hosted by Columbia University’s Beijing Summer Program at Minzu University of China. Other participants included programs from Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, University of Chicago, University of Mississippi, The Inter-University Program (IUP), Council for Educational Travel (CET), and Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).
The 96 contestants vied in six categories: non-heritage beginner (first-year level), non-heritage intermediate (second-year level), non-heritage advanced-1 (third-year level), non-heritage advanced-2 (fourth/fifth-year level), heritage intermediate, and heritage advanced.
The UW–Madison students (listed below with hometowns and major) won awards in non-heritage intermediate – which was divided into two groups because of the number of competitors – and non-heritage advanced-1:
- Michael Josephson, of Marshfield, WI, biochemistry, first in group A, non-heritage intermediate
- Trager Metge, of McLean, VA, undeclared, first in group B, non-heritage intermediate
- Brendan Dowling, of Carpentersville, IL, Chinese, first in non-heritage advanced-1
- Cody Kour, of Rochester, MN, psychology and English, second in group A, non-heritage intermediate
- Addison Winger, of La Crosse, WI, Spanish, political science and Chinese, second in group B, non-heritage intermediate
- Mark Lower, of Rochester, MN, Chinese, second in non-heritage advanced-1
- Jinwoo Lee, of Seoul, Korea, economics, third in group B, non-heritage intermediate
“The success in this event reflects the high teaching standard and overall strength of our summer program,” Zhang says. “This result could not have been achieved without the joint efforts of our students, teachers, and program assistants. Our local instructors and TAs devoted huge amounts of time and resources to work with our students.”
He also credited the after-class tutoring provided by graduate students of Nankai University and Tianjin Normal University.
The competition was sponsored by the prestigious Commercial Press, which will publish the scripts of the first-place winners in its magazine, The World of Chinese.
– by Kerry G. Hill
Videos of the student speeches are posted on YouTube:
- Brendan Dowling: 舌尖上的中国 (A Bite of China)
- Michael Josephson: 天使之城 (City of Angel)
- Trager Metge: 中国在哪里 (Where is China)
- Mark Lower: 两树相邻 (Between Two Trees)
- Addison Winger: 失之毫厘，差之千里 (One false step will make a great difference)
- Cody Kour: 三国的和平演义 (Romance of Three Kingdoms)
- Lee Jin Woo: 小筷子，大智慧 (Small Chopsticks, Great Wisdom)