Jiangsu Cup Winners Photo
Jiangsu Cup

The Jiangsu Cup is a Chinese Language Speaking Competition held across the world, from Tokyo to San Francisco. The Competition asks contestants to prepare and present a two to three minute speech on Jiangsu with amazing prizes up for grabs. The Jiangsu Cup was launched four years ago by Nanjing University to promote the Jiangsu Province and its culture.

In 2014, the competition was held in Australia for the very first time, and it was a welcome addition to the then 35th anniversary celebration of the sister state relationship between Jiangsu and Victoria. Despite the backdrop of the Victoria-Jiangsu sister state relationship, the competition is open to contestants from all across Australia.

China-watchers and Chinese learners were in the running to win an array of prizes ranging from a full three year scholarship at Nanjing University to an all-expenses paid nine-day tour of Jiangsu Province.

Check out below the opportunities that the Jiangsu Cup opened for past contestants as they share their stories with Asia Options

Brett Stone – Contestant in the 4th Annual Jiangsu Cup


At the Jiangsu Cup asked you to make a presentation on Jiangsu province. How was the competition structured and what did you talk about?

The competition required us to give a 2 to 3 minute speech on Jiangsu and why we wanted to visit. I chose to speak about Suzhou’s ancient canals.

It was easy for me to choose. Simply put, I think the canals are awesome and I’d love to have a chance to see them.

I talked about the beauty and historical significance of the canals, and highlighted the enticing things I heard about the canals from backpackers and friends when I first visited China.

I was impressed by the quality of the speeches. It was obvious that the contestants put a lot of effort into choosing a topic that resonated with them, and, as a result, the speeches were varied and fascinating. We all knew that it would be tough for the judges to narrow down the winners. I was certain that I would walk home empty-handed.

“The speeches were varied and fascinating. We all knew if would be tough for the judges to narrow down the winners….”

But then, something unexpected happened…everybody won!

The judges announced that there would be two 1st Prizes, five 2nd Prizes and seven 3rd Prizes. Everyone was happy with the result; I myself was lucky to receive a 2nd prize, which scored me a trip to Jiangsu.

 
What windows did scoring second place open? And did it change your perception of the region?

Before going there I knew very little about Jiangsu or its history. But, after going to museums and historical sites in Jiangsu, I realised the pivotal role Jiangsu and its capital, Nanjing, have played in China’s history. For a formidable time, Jiangsu was the cultural and commercial epicentre of ancient China.

This importance was well represented in Jiangsu’s countless galleries and centres of China’s historical heritage. The tour led us expertly through these sites, linking the history to the present day as we went. If you’re a Chinese history buff travelling in China, Jiangsu needs to be front and centre of your itinerary.

The tour of Jiangsu was rewarding and it taught me that, whether I’m on the ground in China or at home, at every turn there is something more to uncover about China’s languages, cultures and history.

“Before going, I knew very little about Jiangsu… but after, I realised the pivotal role [it] played in China’s history”

The trip showed me Jiangsu’s beauty. Since returning it undoubtedly encouraged me to apply for other Jiangsu-based study programs, like the Hamer Scholarship.

Finally, it has given me a new talking point with my Chinese classmates, friends and colleagues. All of them know Jiangsu so it has given me common ground to understand Chinese culture and history just that little bit more.

Moyi Zheng – Contestant in the 4th Annual Jiangsu Cup


At the Jiangsu Cup, you were asked to make a presentation on the Jiangsu province. How was the competition structured and what did you talk about?

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Jiangsu is Victoria’s longest standing sister-state relationship – established in 1979. At the time, I was the Senior Policy Adviser for China in the International Engagement Branch of the Department of Premier and Cabinet. One of my major projects at the time was to organise the Victoria-Jiangsu Festival to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the sister-state relationship.

As a student of both the Confucius Institute at the University of Melbourne and Nanjing University (in Jiangsu), I was encouraged to enter the competition by teachers from both institutions. I was also very excited by the prize, which was the opportunity to go back to Jiangsu.

In 2012, I was fortunate enough to be awarded the inaugural Victorian Government Hamer Scholarship and studied in Nanjing for 6 months. This was an amazing experience, which enabled me to explore Jiangsu quite extensively and build long-lasting relationships that have helped me a great deal in my professional career since my return.

For the Jiangsu Cup presentation, I spoke about the impact my time in Jiangsu – as part of the Hamer Scholarship – had on me both personally and professionally, as well as how much I enjoyed studying at Nanjing University. In the end, I was very fortunate that, the holding of the Jiangsu Cup in Australia for the first time during the 35th anniversary of the Victoria-Jiangsu sister-state relationship, there were so many prizes awarded!

What windows did scoring second place open? Did it change your perception of the region? And has your Jiangsu experience bled into your Melbourne life?

It was great to tour Jiangsu, just two years after my receiving the Hamer Scholarship, in the company of an friendly and like minded group of people. The opportunity to revisit places and discover new ones together with an excellent personal tour guide, relaying the history of the city and its monuments, was very rewarding.

“It was also very opportune to visit Jiangsu… and reconnect with colleagues and contacts that I had made”

It was also very opportune to visit Jiangsu after the success of the Victoria-Jiangsu Festival and reconnect with colleagues and contacts that I had made. In addition, it was also a chance to visit China as a tourist rather than a business woman, which definitely helped rekindle my passion for China. The timing was also perfect, as it was just before starting a six-month placement as the Assistant Director for Policy and Research at the Australia China Business Office, and also beginning my other role as the Melbourne Co-Director of the Australia-China Young Professionals Initiative.

I’m still very much connected in the China-space and a keen advocate and promoter of Jiangsu and the Hamer Scholarship, and would strongly encourage everyone to visit Jiangsu!

The Jiangsu Cup has yet to be announced for 2016. Watch this space for updates, or contact the Confucius Institute in your state for more details.

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Will Breedon

Will graduated from Monash University with degrees in Economics and Arts (Mandarin) and studied at Soochow University as a Hamer Scholar.

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