|A contestant plays the Chinese zither during the final of the 10th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students in Moscow, capital of Russia, on May 6, 2011. The 10th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students in Moscow concluded here Friday. [Zhao Danwen/Xinhua]
Julia Shupta is standing on the stage, reciting a love poem in Chinese with soft music, "See me, Or see me not, I am here, Without joy or tear ..." The Russian girl said she wants to be a Chinese language teacher after receiving graduate degree.
Julia was selected as the "top three" in the 10th Chinese Bridge competition, a Chinese language speaking contest, in Moscow on Friday, and got a chance to "battle" in China with other selected Chinese-learners from various universities in dozens of countries in August.
"I'm so glad I could go back to China," Julia, who has studied in China for one and half year, told Xinhua with smiles. "I missed so much my teachers and friends in China." The girl said she could not forget her impressive experiences in the Asian country.
"I want to go to China for my graduate studies," the girl said.
Julia, who came from Russia's Kazan Federal University, has been studying Chinese language for nearly four years, while Nikita Kuzmin, a boy from Moscow Normal University, has studied in China for one year and learned how to play a zither.
In the competition, Nikita played a piece of well-known Chinese music "Fisherman's Song" and recited a poem written by Tang Dynasty Chinese poet Wang Wei.
"After rain the empty mountain, Stands autumnal in the evening, Moonlight in its groves of pine, Stones of crystal in its brooks .. ." Nikita drew attentions from the whole room when he played zither and recited the poem "An Evening in the Mountains."
After his performance, Nikita told Xinhua he didn't care about the result of the competition. "I just want to learn from other competitors."
The boy, who wooed the audiences and judges, also earned his chance to go to China.
"I have seen his every step in growing up," his Chinese teacher said. "He is fond of Chinese language and culture."
Another boy Paul Burlov, from Moscow State Linguistic University, was also selected as the "top three".
Other competitors also won applause in their performance and surprised audiences by their understanding of Chinese culture.
Their amazing performance also impressed Zhao Guocheng, minister-counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Russia.
"All competitors have reached high levels of Chinese language proficiency," Zhao said.
Zhao noted the competition reflected the situation of Chinese language teaching in Russia and was also a proof of the development of Sino-Russian ties.
Irina Khaleeva, president of Moscow State Linguistic University, the host of the competition, valued the Chinese Bridge competition as "a platform to promote Chinese culture over the world."
So far, more than 40 universities and some 20 middle and primary schools list Chinese as their first foreign language and nearly 20 Confucius Institutes and three Confucius classrooms opened in Russia from the extreme southeast Far Eastern city of Vladivostok to Kazan along the Volga River.
According to Chinese Ambassador to Russia Li Hui, some 2,000 Russian students went to China for advanced study in 2010.
The Chinese Bridge is an annual competition where foreign students could showcase their language proficiency.