Because I had previously won 1st place and the best speaker award in the East Japan Area, I earned the right to join the 2nd Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competition for Overseas High School Students in Beijing and Chongching in China from 16th until 31st in October. And, luckily, I got 3rd place in this world-wide competition and received a full scholarship to study at Chinese University for six months. I am so glad about it and first of all, I would like to thank all of my teachers and friends at SMUS who supported me.
This world-wide competition was the best place for me to study and make connections with other competitors across the world. Included in the competition, along with public speaking in Chinese, were singing, dancing, martial arts, fine arts and various other cultural competitions as well. Besides speaking in Chinese, I did Taichi, Taichi with a sword, and dancing. Every country got a chance to show its own culture, so I wore my kimono, the Japanese traditional dress, and I sang a Japanese classical song. The competition was on a tight, hard schedule. For two weeks, almost every day we practised from the morning until night and had three semi-finals and one final. We were followed by paparazzi and got interviewed by TV studios and writers for newspapers all the time. We had to concentrate on our work and manage with only four or five hours of sleep.
Now thinking about it, it was really demanding. However, I made many friends. I experienced the everyday life of Chinese people in my Chongching homestay for three days. I went to university city and planted “a friendship tree.” We also visited many famous places. In Beijing, we went to The Great Wall, Forbidden City and in Chongching, we went to Dazu Rock Carvings which is a famous Buddhist shrine. Much of what I learned cannot be told by words, but it was impressive and amazing. I can now see the following:
(1) The importance of languages
I was surprised how important languages are in this competition, especially English, Mandarin and Japanese. I made many friends through the use of several languages. I thank SMUS from deep inside of my heart, I was very glad of the studies at SMUS in Canada where I could polish my English.
(2) The largeness of the world
Most of the competitors of this competition were high school students who got 1st place in their countries. Then we gathered to do three semi-finals and one final to find out who was the 1st in the world. All the competitors were highly educated with superb skills. We needed not only Chinese, but also music, arts, martial arts and all those skills, and the competitors were high-level. There is a saying in Chinese that “Outside of the mountain, there is a mountain. Outside of the sky there is the sky.” This means that there are a lot of people in the world who have more skill than you do, and I had to realize this again and again. Compared to other high-level competitors, I need to learn more and I need to try. I decided to myself that I would do my best to get more new skills and knowledge.
(3) Realizing of cultures and my own culture
Through this competition, I came to understand more about Chinese culture. But I also learned that it is really important to understand and to study about our own culture too. I knew that we can actually start thinking about our own culture when we feel another culture. And after the first semi-final and I saw everyone wearing different cultural clothes and showing original points of the countries, I was surprised how many cultures there are in this world. There are a lot of different races and different habits but our smiles were the same and as bright as the sun. Understanding other cultures can make us polite to other cultures, give us wider insight, make us to have a kinder heart and seek the possibility of a world without war.
(4) Why I joined this competition
Last April, I heard that the semi-finals and finals of the Chinese Proficiency Competition would be held in Beijing and Chongching in China, I decided to compete in Japan first.
About 10 years ago, I traveled to Si-chuan and Chongching on the longest river in China, Yangtze River, Changjiang with my parents. Since I was young at that time, I could barely remember anything but I still remember the beautiful scenery. In 2008, there was a huge earthquake there and a lot of people lost their lives. I was so shocked that I could not say anything. At that time, I was still studying in Japan, but I talked with my teacher and decided to make a group which name is “Love of one yen” and I worked for it as a leader. We started a charity. One yen is the smallest amount of money in Japan, but the love we give is infinite. I thought so and named the group accordingly. After two weeks, there were hundreds of students joining. Everyone gave a little bit from their pocket money and wrote a letter to high school students in Sichuan. Many teachers, parents and students supported this charity and it was really a good event to have. However, there were some people who couldn’t understand our work; they were against it and scolded us sometimes. But at the end, we got over those difficulties and we sent the funds we gathered and a letter to Sichuan through the Chinese embassy. It might be hard to imagine, but this is what I experienced.
Through the charity, I grew up and I started to believe in myself. Love of others gave me courage and belief. I started to understand the importance of volunteering. In September last year, I came to SMUS and started my study life in Canada. At SMUS, students love to volunteer. Seeing the students and joining the volunteers, I knew that what I have done was right.
It is impossible for all the humans to live by themselves. We all are supported by someone else so that we should think not only about ourselves but also about others. We all should give something to others. Not a strong one or a weak one, but standing on the same line helping someone can also help ourselves. Society needs a person who can study, but also who can love people and who can make sacrifices for the society. I was thinking about the charity, and I want to go to Sichuan and Chongching again, to see the scenery and people. Joining this competition, made my dream into a reality.
The world is wide. I still need to learn more and more. I told myself that I will seek more knowledge and be friends with people all over the world. And as a global person, I will work for people, making a contract to do my best.
I don’t have borders in my heart. My friends are the world!