1 April 2015 15:23

A first-year student has won first prize at the Chinese Bridge UK Competition.

Cameron Patterson, a first-year student studying Natural Sciences, won first prize in the UK final of the Chinese Bridge competition, a prestigious Chinese proficiency competition for non-Chinese speaking university students.

The competition, which is now in its fourteenth year, saw 30 contestants from 17 universities travel to the British Library for the UK final.

The contest had three components: a demonstration of Chinese language proficiency, a test of the participants’ knowledge of China and a three-minute artistic performance. Cameron gave a speech about Chinese New Year and his performance was a mixture of comedy and calligraphy.

Cameron will go on to compete against the winners from other countries in the international final in Changsha, Hunan province, this summer, a televised event which is watched by millions in China and around the world.

Cameron said: “I used to live in China when my parents were English teachers there, so it’s been great to build on my understanding of the language and culture while at university.

“Winning this prize is one of my biggest achievements, and the chance to represent the UK in the world finals of the competition is a great honour – I will do my best to win!”

Cameron’s coach, Professor Sarah Zhang, Chinese Director at Lancaster University’s Confucius Institute, said: “The Chinese Bridge is the highest level of competition for non-Chinese speaking university students out of China.

“Cameron gave an amusing talk and his performance was so impressive that he won a long applause. His answers to the questions about the language and culture were perfect.

“We prepared for this competition for two and a half months. He worked as a volunteer in the Chinese Café to strengthen his Chinese and refresh his awareness of the culture. He also attended weekly tutorials for the speech and performance elements of the competition. He was very dedicated and hardworking.

“As his coach, I felt that he and I were a team – we aimed high, had an effective action plan, and worked efficiently towards the target.”

Founded in 2011, the Confucius Institute is a major hub for Chinese language and culture at Lancaster University. The Institute offers credit-bearing, and non-credit, Chinese language courses, and organises cultural and academic programmes for students and staff throughout the year.