USF World News

Marsha Louis – En Route to China
May 15, 2011

USF’s top contestant, Marsha Louis, who competed in the southern region finals of the 2011 Chinese Bridge Competition in Houston made USF proud as she placed second among eight university students.

One of only two women contestants, Marsha says the experience was worth all the preparation. “It was exciting and there were a lot of nerves. Each part was one after the other, trying to remember speeches, performing, answering questions. But it was great,” she says.

At this stage, Marsha will travel to China as a substitute in the competition. In China, 116 contestants will participate to impress audiences and judges with their Chinese language skills. Though she may not be one of the 16, Marsha has no regrets. Her summer is a well-planned, intense mix of Asian culture that is likely to bring her back to the United States with the experience she is looking for and skills that will take her to the next step in life, a graduate program.

After her involvement with the competition, Marsha will spend a year making the most of her Confucius Institute scholarship. Taking courses at a university in China, her scholarship will provide her with accommodation and 1200 in local currency. During her time at the university, she intends to take political science courses to complement her major at USF and Chinese language for foreigners. She will also do an internship in spring geared toward Chinese language.

After she returns, Marsha plans to go to Harvard Law School to study international business law. Harvard, she says, has collaborations with universities in China making the program all the more tempting to pursue.

Round One of the Chinese Bridge Competition Sends Three Students to the Next Level
March 23, 2011

Thirteen students from around the state competed in the second annual USF Chinese Bridge Competition. Ten high school students and three university students impressed judges, teachers and community members with short performances and speeches delivered entirely in Chinese.  The Competition is hosted by the USF Confucius Institute and sponsored by Hanban, the Confucius Institute Headquarters in China; the contest allows students to practice and perform using the techniques and information learned in the classroom.

USF declared two college winners, Marsha Louis and Dylan Parmenter. Taking first place, Marsha is a third year student in USF’s Chinese program and wowed judges and audience members with a kuai ban shu story about the ancient Chinese Monkey King. Dylan Parmenter, the second place winner, preformed a solo on the pipa and a tongue twister.  Of the high school participants, Maggie Higgins of Pine View School in Sarasota won the first place prize for her speech and phenomenal poetry recital. Maggie is a third year student of Chinese. The trio will travel to Houston for the regional competition on April 24, with their expenses covered by the Chinese Consulate General in Houston.

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2011 Chinese Bridge Competition
March 23, 2011
The Chinese Bridge Competition that gave Victor Florez his claim to fame is back. Hosted for the second time at the University of South Florida by the USF Confucius Institute, the competition gives college and high school students the opportunity to put their Chinese language and culture skills to the test.

The top two high school and college students in the competition will move to the regional level held in Houston, Texas on April 24th, 2011. Supported by the Consul General at Houston who will cover costs related to participation, students who prove themselves at this level will move to the final leg of the competition in China. Last year, students from over 70 countries participated at the final level. “This is a very serious competition,” says USF Confucius Institute Director, Kun Shi.

Sponsored by Hanban (Confucius Institute Headquarters) in China, which incurs all costs to students at the final level, the primary goal of the competition is to motivate students to learn more and enhance their language capabilities. “I think this is true of any language competition,” says director Kun Shi.  “Simply by preparing, students increase their learning.” Moreover, he says, the competition is an excellent tool toward personal development as it helps students overcome common fears related to learning a new language like engaging in conversation with native speakers of the language.

Every stage of the competition is designed to improve students’ knowledge and skills. Students display their language skills and knowledge of Chinese culture through performances, talent rounds and question and answer sessions.

This year at USF, the participation is up over last year. A total of five college students comprised of four USF students and 1 student from New College of Florida in Sarasota, and 13 high school students will participate in the competition. Every participant will receive a certificate of participation.

Apart from gaining an incomparable cultural experience, the competition has proven to have several additional benefits. One of six winners at last year’s competition and the only American student to reach the final level, USF junior Victor Florez received a three year scholarship to study at a university of his choice in China. Director Kun Shi says he will most likely use the funds to earn his master’s degree.

In the time that he has spent in China, Victor has hosted two shows on the China tourism channel, has been broadcast on several local shows and is having his story published by a local publisher. “All of his experiences are definitely leading toward a great career,” says director Kun Shi.

The 2011 Chinese Bridge Competition will begin on Friday, March 25that the USF Kiran C. Patel Center for Global Solutions and is being co-sponsored by USF World and department of World Languages.