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American NTU student wins Mandarin speech contest in Taiwan

Swarthmore student inspired to enter contest during quarantine

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Adam Boxer. (National Dr. Sun Yan-Sen Memorial Hall photo)

Adam Boxer. (National Dr. Sun Yan-Sen Memorial Hall photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An American student who has only been in Taiwan for a little over two months took first place in a Mandarin public speaking contest.

On Tuesday (Nov. 16), 33 foreign students from Vietnam, Japan, the U.S., the U.K., Australia, Peru, Thailand, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, South Korea, South Africa, and the Czech Republic took part in the National Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall 2021 Foreign Students Chinese Public Speaking Competition. Out of the top four finishers, Adam Boxer (柏安達), an economics and Mandarin language student from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, took first place, according to the Ministry of Culture (MOC).

Participants were asked to speak one of the following five topics: "Taiwanese politeness culture," "Mandarin buzzwords that can't be learned in textbooks," "reflection on a news article," "what the coronavirus taught me," and "how do I deal with loneliness." Boxer's winning presentation was drawn from an Economist article that predicted how the COVID pandemic could end based on other pandemics in history.

American NTU student wins Mandarin speech contest in Taiwan
Boxer delivering speech. (Facebook, National Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall photo)

One of the judges, Chen Yen-hao (陳彥豪), explained to the MOC that speeches are evaluated on three basic elements, including language, content, and expression. After a theme is selected, Chen said that attention should be paid to the use of words, pronunciation, grammatical structure, semantics, and pragmatics to connect with the audience.

After six hours of intense competition, three professors announced the winners. In addition to Boxer's first-place finish, second place went to Tsering Tharchin (慈仁塔青) from India, while Maemoto Kenshin (前本兼辰) from Japan took third.

Boxer, 21, told CNA that he arrived in Taiwan on Sept. 20 to take part in the International Language Chinese Program at National Taiwan University. He is slated to return to the U.S. at the end of the semester.

He told the news agency that when he was first informed of the competition, he was intrigued and said that he "kept thinking about it in quarantine." He eventually decided to register for it as a "great challenge" to test his Mandarin speaking abilities in front of a large audience.

American NTU student wins Mandarin speech contest in Taiwan
Top 10 finishers. (Facebook, National Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall photo)


Updated : 2022-01-26 02:26 GMT+08:00

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