AUGUST 2, 2006

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OU students compete in Chinese speech competition

Efforts to internationalize the University of Oklahoma’s curricula has paid off this year with the university being represented for the first time in a speech competition held in China this summer.

Amanda Garrett, a senior pre-nursing major, and Tristan Adler, a senior business finance major, both of whom are pursuing a minor in Chinese through the College of Arts and Sciences, were recently invited by the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Houston to participate in the fifth annual Chinese speech competition in Beijing. All of the students’ travel expenses were being paid by the Consulate.

The Chinese Bridge-Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students, sponsored by the China National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language, brings together 100 students from 50 countries across the globe. Garrett and Adler are the first OU students ever to be invited to participate in the competition.

Paul Bell, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said he is encouraged that the students are succeeding in the Chinese language program, which offers both a minor and major.

“This is a clear sign of the international respect that our Chinese language program has gained under the leadership of Professor Gui,” Bell said.

In addition to OU’s regular on-campus instruction, students studying Chinese also may participate in an intensive Chinese language program, established by the college, which allows students to live with a Chinese family for two months while attending Yunnan Normal University in Kunming, China. Adler participated in the program last year and currently is in China as the student leader of OU’s four-week long Journey to China Program. Garrett also is spending time in China.

Contestants in the speech competition are undergraduate or postgraduate students under the age of 30, who come from universities and colleges outside of China, and whose first language is not Chinese. During the competition, each contestant must show his or her knowledge and proficiency of Chinese in three areas: Chinese language skills, knowledge about China and Chinese cultural skills.

Numerous prizes and awards are given during the competition. These include three first-place prize winners who receive a full scholarship to study in China, valid within three years, which includes round-trip airfare and the title of Chinese Language Envoy. Five second-place prize winners receive a scholarship for a four- to-six-week study and training program in China during the summer of 2007, which includes round-trip airfare. Seven third-place prize winners receive a scholarship for a 15-day China culture tour during the summer of 2007, which includes round-trip airfare.

Finally, each contestant is awarded commemorative certificates, honorable mention winners are announced and special prize trophies are awarded for Best Presentation, Best Scholarship, Best Performance and Best Charisma.

Contact: Lacey Gray, 405.325.2099