On March 30, ANS students taking Chinese classes at differing levels went to the Centro Cultural Chino Nicaragüense to participate in the “Competencia del Idioma Chino Mandarín 2019” Chinese language competition, hosted by the Taiwanese Embassy, where the outstanding skills and talents of Nicaraguan Chinese speakers of all ages and backgrounds were displayed. There were three main categories: speech, character recognition and karaoke.
While ANS did incredibly well, it excelled particularly in the “speech” category, where ANS junior Isabella Deshon won the first place award. Her body language, pronunciation and charisma on stage, where she gave a 3-minute oral response to a prompt, allowed her to gain this prestigious honor and a money prize.
We decided to briefly interview Isabella one-to-one to learn more about her accomplishment, and to truly understand how deeply Chinese has influenced her life!
Wei-Ting Shih: Congratulations on your accomplishment, Isabella! What did you talk about in your winning speech and why?
Isabella Deshon: Thank you! I talked about why I wanted to learn Chinese. With help of my teacher, I was able to prepare a speech where I talked about how my parents first enrolled me in Chinese classes so I could help them in their businesses in the future. Then, I proceeded to state why I stayed on my own merit, which is because I developed a passion for the language and the culture.
WS: Sounds fantastic! So, how did you prepare for the competition?
ID: I prepared for the competition by practicing a lot. I would practice with my teacher every Chinese class I had. However, the key and most important factor was not only understanding what I was saying meant, but also showing the feelings that came along with the words. Even if I wouldn’t have been able to memorize every single sentence in the speech, by just having an understanding of the topic and the feelings that came along with it, I knew it would be enough to then speak and share my speech with everybody.
WS: And you made it! Now, how do you feel about your success?
ID: I feel very satisfied, and I know I would still feel this way even if I wouldn’t have won first place. The reason is because I was able to redeem myself, since about two years ago I attended the same competition, but that year my nerves got the best of me and I forgot my whole speech when I stepped foot on the stage. It was an experience that I was able to learn from and overcome in this year’s competition. So, no matter the outcome, I would have still succeeded by having pushed myself and done my best.
WS: You should be more than satisfied: you did great! On that note, you have been in Chinese for a long time. What do you think about the school’s Chinese program?
ID: I feel that the school’s Chinese program is hard, but worth it. Through the years, it does get more challenging, and more and more effort is required from one’s part in order to succeed in it. However, it’s been interesting so far. I have been able to learn about the language and the culture, including celebrations like 春節 (spring festival), which I like.
WS: Amazing! Overall, what impact has Chinese as a language had on your life?
ID: The impact Chinese has had on my life has been enormous. It has opened doors for me and allowed me to gain experiences that otherwise I know I wouldn’t have obtained if I weren’t studying it. Not only have I been able to discover my liking for studying this language and the culture that goes along with it, but also learning Chinese has helped me grow as a person in various different aspects. I simply love it!
Congratulations to Isabella and all of the ANS participants in this competition! Chinese is a fascinating language, but not an easy one to learn. Your hard work and passion has been inspiring to us all. You have made us very proud!