Kylee Kotula, 16, of City Beach has returned to Perth after being crowned an Oceania champion in the 2017 global final of the Chinese Bridge (Hanyu Qiao) language competition. 

Kylee and her South Australian teammate Sophie Szabo beat more than 200 contestants from 96 countries to win the Oceania division and be placed among the final five teams. One team from each continental region made it through to the final, which was ultimately won by the USA team.

Kylee’s prize was a year-long scholarship to any Chinese school or university to continue her studies. The  Methodist Ladies’ College student, who is currently in Year 10, intends to save the scholarship for her first year at university.

MLC teacher Bonnie Woo, who began teaching Kylee when she was in Year Three, said Kylee’s hard work over many years had paid off – focus and determination were important factors in her success.

The Chinese Bridge (Hanyu Qiao) Chinese Proficiency Competition for Secondary School Students, which was launched in 2008, is the largest international Chinese language competition in the world.  Students aged 15 years and over who do not speak Chinese as a first language take part to demonstrate their language proficiency, knowledge of China, and skill in a cultural performance such as music or art.

The competition aims to be a fun and rewarding experience which will motivate students to continue their Mandarin studies while giving them the chance to meet others learning the language. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that the second most spoken language in Australia is now Mandarin.

The annual worldwide competition is organised by Confucius Institute Headquarters, known as Hanban, which is located in Beijing. The WA final and the Australian regional final were held at the Confucius Institute at UWA earlier this year.

Read more about Kylee's part in the competition.