Thirty college students across the country attended the Tenth 21st Century Cup National English Speaking Contest in Beijing on April 10. Eventually, Xia Peng, from Nanjing University was named the champion. The second and third places went to Zhang Jing, a sophomore from China Foreign Affairs University, and Zhang A Xu, from Hong Kong Polytechnic University, respectively. More than 1000 college students in Beijing are lucky birds to listen to the speeches on the spot in Friendship Hotel.
Just make to it the finals, they had to get past 60 others speaking on “The impact of globalization on traditional Chinese values”. That was at the semi-final on April 8-9. What will Chinese college students think about the impact? Each contestant had his own take on the subject. Xia summed up globalization by saying: “It’s just controversial and hard to say whether it is good or bad.” Xia took the old wall of his city, Nanjing, as a metaphor. He spoke about the conflict over whether to protect the old walls or tear them down to represent the conflict of ideas. He suggested that people protect the wall as a valuable relic while tearing down the “intangible walls” of their minds that prevent communication. While some other students are more focusing on the impact of globalization on family relations, attitudes towards love, and job-hunting.
Over the past 10 years, the national English speaking competition has given contestants a chance to speak on a variety of topics closely related to their lives. Chinese students become more open-minded and receive various ideas and thinking over the decade. Diversity becomes more obvious on campus, students have more opportunities to express and show themselves. It’s not an easy task for the contestants to win through the fierce competition. Owning to their passion, hard work and persistence, they finally succeeded in the contest.
Liu Xin, the first champion of the national contest, is now an anchorperson of CCTV-9. Recalling the passion of study on campus, she said: “When you want to express your idea by a foreign language without finding a right way, you’re really upset. Then you have to encourage yourself, and after a long term of bitterness, suddenly you find you get the right way with joy.” With the champion title in 21st Century Cup, Liu attended the International Public Speaking competition in London in May 1996 afterward and got the first prize historically.
The winner in 2003 surprised the audience, since she came from accounting major instead of English major. Gu Qiubei, then 22 years old, was a senior in Shanghai Foreign Studies University. While being asked whether she had some good methods to learn English, she said: “Learn English with passion and enthusiasm.” Attracted by the greatness of English language, Gu even changed her major from accounting to English in her postgraduate study. The most important issue in English learning process she pointed out is personal interests. Only people interested in English benefit a lot from the learning methods and those with passion will finally achieve their dreams.