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December 12, 2019

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Foreign students write of their love for Shanghai

STUDENTS at international schools in Shanghai who were winners in an essay competition received their awards yesterday.

The 2019 Shanghai Schools for Children of Foreign Personnel Students Essay Competition was the latest event in a program that began in 2011 with the aim of promoting Chinese culture in schools with activities including drama and reading Chinese classics. 

The theme this year was “The City I Live in: Shanghai” and it attracted 542 essays from 23 schools in the form of letters, diaries, poetry and prose in Chinese. Sixty-two won first prizes in three age groups.

Thirteen-year-old Sophia Parfonova from Ukraine, a student at the international division of the High School Affiliated to Fudan University, won a prize with “A Poem to Shanghai.”

She came to live in Shanghai this year but speaks fluent Chinese because her family had lived in Jinhua in Zhejiang Province and she had gone to regular schools there.

“I love Shanghai,” said Parfonova. “It’s a big and flourishing city and many people want to come to Shanghai. I also like Shanghai food because it tastes a little bit sweet.”

Parfonova wore a qipao, a typical Shanghai-style traditional dress, to receive her award.

“I like the qipao. I think it’s a symbol of China,” she said. “Since my childhood, I would like to wear a qipao when I didn’t have to go to school. ”

Li Yongzhi, deputy director of the Shanghai Education Commission, host of the event, praised the students’ writing and creativity.

Derek Ruiqi Man, an Australian student at Yew Chung International School of Shanghai, wrote a novel about the warmth of the city he currently calls home.

In his novel, a stray cat has never left its community because its mother said the outside world is dangerous. But when it does go out one day, it meets students who are kind to it, a deliveryman who stops his moped and puts it on the roadside when it runs a red light, an old man who feeds it with his own lunch. When the cat returns to the community in the evening, some residents there have already made a bed for it. The cat feels no longer a stray because Shanghai is finally its home.

Performances were also staged based on some winning essays at the awards ceremony.


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