15th “Chinese Bridge” language competition held in Bulgaria

Bulgarian national qualifications of the 15th “Chinese Bridge” — Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Secondary School Students, were held here on Saturday.

A total of 12 students demonstrated Chinese language and cultural skills at the first “Chinese Bridge” event held in person since the beginning of the COVID pandemic.

It was jointly organized by the Chinese embassy in Sofia and the Confucius Institute at “St. Cyril and St. Methodius” University of Veliko Turnovo (UVT).

Kristina Ivanova from Sofia’s 138 High School for Western and Eastern Languages won the competition, and will represent the Balkan country at the finals in China.

While addressing the event, China’s Ambassador to Bulgaria Dong Xiaojun said the Chinese Language Bridge has become an Olympics and a kind of cultural carnival for the Chinese language and people learning Chinese.

This was a useful experience for all participants, Dong said.

He also said that many colleges and universities in Bulgaria have opened Chinese language programs. They educated a large number of talents fluent in Chinese language and culture, providing a solid intellectual basis for exchange and cooperation between China and Bulgaria in various fields, the ambassador said.

Prof. Dimitar Dimitrov, Vice-rector of UVT, said that it was an “extraordinary event”.

According to him, Chinese language and culture have been taught at this university for about 30 years, and the Confucius Institute at the UVT has existed for 10 years.

Thanks to the exceptional work of everyone related to the Chinese language and culture, it already had its roots throughout Bulgaria, Dimitrov said.

The “Chinese Bridge” competition was first organized in Bulgaria by the Confucius Institute in 2008 to inspire Bulgarian students between 15 to 20 years old to learn Chinese and enhance their understanding of the Chinese culture. ■