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The Hanyuqiao (Chinese Bridge) is an international competition and Catherine was chosen to represent the ANU at one of two Australian national finals.
Competing against 5 other speakers from South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, Catherine won all three categories of the competition, and was awarded the overall prize of a trip to China to compete in the international finals in July.
Competitors complete three separate tasks. The first is a written test about Chinese language and culture, the second a speech prepared on a set theme with a Q & A from the judging panel. Finally, each contestant delivers a cultural performance of their own choice.
Catherine chose to perform on the pipa, a traditional Chinese instrument which she began learning while on her semester in Asia at Peking University in second semester last year.
‘The Semester in Asia really boosted my Chinese language skill and it was a great preparation for the competition,’ said Catherine.
For her speech, on the theme of ‘Dreams enlighten the future’, Catherine used the example of Chinese-born Australian heart surgeon Victor Chang.
‘I proposed that his dream of helping heart transplant patients enlightened the future of many others. In this way having a dream is a constant cycle and the dreams of one person can make many more possible,’ explained Catherine.
Her reward will be to travel to Changsha in China this July to compete in the international finals. This competition will be filmed in a reality TV show format and broadcast on television in China.
‘It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet other students of Chinese language and culture from around the world,’ said Catherine.
On her return Catherine is preparing to begin a Masters of Finance to achieve her goal of working in China in business.
‘I started in a Bachelor of Philosophy majoring in Chinese and finance, but the flexibility of the program has allowed me to take my Bachelor degree and begin a Masters to gain more expertise in that area,’ she explained.