#2 Good Friends Overseas - Arrival and National Costumes

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Dec 24, 2016 21:26
The competitors arrived in succession. They were real powerhouses. They didn’t look exhausted at all after their long flights. A few students had already been in China for a couple of days. I even saw a female Irish student in another group enter with a bulky backpack. She said that she had just finished a two-week train trip across China. How brave was she!

My group had around 30 students from all over the world, including eight native English speakers. They were as follows: Peter from the UK, Jenny and Mary from Australia, Gary from the US, Harry from Ireland, John from South Africa, Stephany from Canada, and Cathy from New Zealand*. Interestingly, they were all white; the other groups included other ethnicities from English-speaking countries. I was very glad that the competitors in my group seemed very easy to get along with. I gave them the phone number of my room, in case they needed help.

The reception process lasted a whole day, because the contestants arrived from different time zones. It was definitely interesting to meet people from different cultures. For example, a Cuban female said that she loved the American culture, which quite contradicted the stereotype I’d previously had that all Cubans were anti-American. As soon as I went back to my room after I’d finished my reception work, my phone started ringing nonstop. Some of their requests were unexpected. For instance, a student called in to make sure the room she’d checked into was cat-fur-free, because she was allergic to cat dander. A student complained that she couldn’t find deodorant in any stores. (Only big supermarkets sold it.)

The next morning, all competitors were required to sit for portraits dressed up in their ethnic costumes. It was amazing to see people from all around the world wearing their national costumes in a single setting. As you can imagine, Japanese women wore kimonos, Vietnamese women put on ao dais, a German female donned Bavarian dress, and two Brazilian guys simply had on their national soccer team’s jerseys. However, the Americans simply dressed in ordinary T-shirts, saying that America didn’t have national costumes, except Gary, a guy in my group, “bedizened” himself in cowboy dress and posed in front of the camera as if he was in a rodeo. That was hilarious; this guy really knew how to stand out.

* The names have been changed.

[Revised]
(2)海外存知己 - 抵达与民族服装

选手们相继抵达。他们真可谓是精力充沛。坐了数小时的飞机,居然看不出一点疲劳的样子。还有一些学生甚至已经在中国待了好些天了。我看见一个其它组的爱尔兰女生进门背着一个大包,据她说,刚刚结束在中国的两周铁路之旅。真勇敢!

我们组大约有30个学生,包括8个英语国家的学生。他们是英国的Peter,澳大利亚的Jenny和Marry,美国的Gary,爱尔兰的Harry,南非的John,还有加拿大的Stephany(以上均为化名)。有趣的是,他们都是白人,而其他组英语国家的人有其他族裔。我很高兴我们组的人看起来很好打交道,然后给了他们我房间的电话号码,如有需要,可随时联系我。

接待工作持续了一天,因为选手们从不同的时区乘机赶来。看见来自不同文化的人相聚是一件很有意思的事情。比如,有一个古巴女生说,她很喜欢美国文化,和我固有的观念不一样,我原以为所有的古巴人都反美。我完成接待工作,回到房间后,电话就没停过,有人提出一些我未曾料到过的请求。比如,有一个女生打电话过来确认她房间里没有猫毛,因为她对猫毛过敏。还有一个学生抱怨说她在商店里面买不到香露,(只有大超市才有卖,中国人一般不用。)

第二天早上,所有的选手都要求拍摄定妆照,穿民族服装出镜。一次性目睹来自世界各地的青年穿着民族服装照相,是很有意思的事情。你也大概能猜出来,日本女生都穿着和服,越南女生穿奥黛,一位德国女生穿巴伐利亚裙,两个巴西人穿巴西足球国家队队服。美国人就只穿着普通t恤,说他们没有民族服装,但我们组的Gary却穿着一套美国西部牛仔的套装,在镜头前面摆POSE,好像是在做马术表演。很有意思,这家伙知道怎么博得出彩。

#1 Good Friends Overseas – Reception & Reunion

There’s a well-known TV show in China called “The Chinese Bridge.” Native English speakers may think this is a Chinese card game competition. In fact, this is a language proficiency competition, sponsored by the Confucius Institute, for non-native Chinese speaking university students around the world. The show has lasted 15 seasons (one season per year). The first few shows were simply speaking contests, but over the last few years, the show has expanded into various forms. It can be either a game show, a quiz show, or even a reality show. The form is changed every year, with the intention of attracting more viewers and thus raising the ratings.

The winner of the show this year is a male Canadian university student from Quebec. I watched the finale online. When I first saw him speak on the show, I presumed that he could win. He spoke in almost perfect tones, and very fluently. Moreover, he was good-looking. Remember that the show has become entertainment. Want to win the show? If you possess appealing attributes, flaunt them! For example, humor, amiability, intellectual, etc.. The reason I keep track of this show is that, five years ago, I was a volunteer crew member who led competitors through the whole process.

It was in 2011, when I was a university student. I signed up during the recruitment of volunteers for the show. After a couple rounds of interviews, I made it! I was so excited because I was going to be a guide for one of the four groups. On a summer morning in Beijing, I started sitting at a reception desk in a five-star hotel to await competitors from all around the world. Since I was employed as an English-speaking volunteer, when I looked through the name list, I paid extra attention to students from English speaking countries. I found most of them were from prestigious universities. They came from the UK, America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Ireland. Wow, it sounded like a huge reunion of English speaking people with a mysterious connection with each other, but were scattered to the four corners of the world.

It turned out that it was.