Alfred University News

Alfred University student takes second prize at ‘Chinese Bridge’ speech competition

Max Rasilla, an art major and Chinese language and culture minor at Alfred University, won second prize in the College Students Group at the 2024 “Chinese Bridge” Speech Competition for the Eastern United States Region Finals. The event took place on May 18, 2024, at the China Institute in America in New York City.

The “Chinese Bridge” is a global contest that tests foreign students’ proficiency in the Chinese language. Since its inception in 2002, the competition has attracted participants from over 160 countries worldwide.

Last Saturday, more than 30 finalists from 10 states on the East Coast competed on the same stage. The competition included a speech on the theme "One World, One Family," a dialogue with the judges based on their speech, and a talent show related to Chinese culture.

This year's college group competition was highly competitive. Rasilla competed against students from schools such as Carnegie Mellon University and Pennsylvania State University, many of whom are also Chinese language minors. Achieving second prize in such a strong field is a notable accomplishment.

In his speech, Rasilla, a senior-to-be from Moraga, CA, shared his journey of learning Chinese, starting at a young age, spending a high school summer studying Chinese in Taiwan, and eventually becoming an art major at Alfred University, focusing on ceramics. He also spoke about his dream of opening an art gallery in California.

“I am thrilled to be at Alfred University, studying at the world’s top-ranked ceramics arts major. My dream is to open my own art gallery in California,” Rasilla said in his speech. “I want to invite artists from around the world to exhibit their works in my gallery, welcoming people from around the world to appreciate art together. Just like language, art can bring hearts together, uniting us from the same world as one family.”

Rasilla’s impressive performance was not limited to his keynote speech. His talent in playing Chinese folk songs on the guzheng, a traditional Chinese stringed instrument, and his comfortable and fluent conversation with the judges in Chinese demonstrated his strong passion, enthusiasm, and comprehensive ability in the Chinese language.

His participation in the competition was supported by Bernstein Funds for Students and Faculty Development, administered through the Alfred University Office of the Provost. Rasilla’s instructor, Daisy Wu, clinical associate professor of music and language at Alfred University, won the Outstanding Instructor Award at the competition.