by Yao Bing, Marwa Yahya
CAIRO, May 25 (Xinhua) -- "The Chinese Bridge contest was a very important experience in my life," said Aya Ibrahim, an Egyptian girl who won the top prize in the recently-concluded Chinese language contest in Cairo.
"Through the stages of the competition, I gained knowledge, cultivated friendships, and improved my capabilities," said Ibrahim, who is studying at the Chinese Department of Cairo University.
The girl, along with seven other winners of the contest, met with Chinese Ambassador to Egypt Liao Liqiang on Tuesday and shared their stories of learning Chinese.
Ibrahim said she found Chinese very difficult to learn at the beginning, but then she participated in various Chinese activities at the Confucius Institute at Cairo University such as cutting paper and weaving Chinese textile and overcame all the difficulties.
Learning the Chinese language changed me from an introvert into a self-confident and socialized person with a broader vision, she added.
The Egyptian girl highlighted her wishes to boost the friendship between the two countries, and to have the opportunity to complete her post-graduate studies in China.
Aya Magdy, another top prize winner in the competition, also said the Chinese language has changed her character building and life.
"Every time I participate in this contest, I gain more energy. Every time I stand on stage, I experience a special feeling," she said.
Magdy hoped to become a language instructor to provide deeper insights into China and its culture.
As for Sandra Ghattas, a second-prize winner, her story with the Chinese language was centered on her passion for Chinese songs.
"Singing Chinese songs helped me a lot with my pronunciation and understanding of the Chinese culture," said Ghattas, a student from the Chinese Department of Suez Canal University.
"Choosing to study the Chinese language was one of the best decisions in my life," she added.
Meanwhile, the Chinese ambassador said he was moved by and felt proud of their stories, noting May 30 marks the 66th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Egypt and China.
"The development of the China-Egypt comprehensive strategic partnership needs participation and devotion of the two peoples, especially the inheritance and innovation of the young people of both countries," Liao said.
"I hope you can make more contributions to China-Egypt friendship," he added.
The Chinese Bridge contest, which was held at Ain Shams University in Cairo on May 14, attracted 23 students from 18 Egyptian universities.