A student competes in the 11th edition of "Chinese Bridge" Chinese proficiency competition in Pisa, Italy, on May 14, 2018. (Xinhua/Alessandra Cardone)
Italian students gathered in the Tuscan city of Pisa on Monday to compete in the annual "Chinese Bridge" Chinese proficiency competition for foreign secondary school students.
A total of 36 pupils from 16 high schools across the country qualified for the final round of the contest, in which their knowledge of China's language and culture was thoroughly tested before a mixed jury of Chinese and Italian professors.
The all-day event comprised a written test, and two competitions of Chinese spoken language and Chinese culture and arts.
Students were asked to show their ability to speak and to perform on stage with pieces of dance, music, or comical and drama sketches.
"As a jury, we assign marks not only on the base of their pure grammar knowledge," Chiara Piccinini, juror and researcher of Chinese language and culture with the Catholic University in Milan, told Xinhua.
"Overall, we want to see whether the student has absorbed some elements of Chinese culture -- such as citations of poetry, history, or literature -- and if he or she is able to use them in the right context, which would confirm they have truly understood the meaning," she explained.
It was the 11th edition of the competition to be held in Italy, organized by Confucius Institutes across the world under the sponsorship of the Hanban (Office of Chinese Language Council International).
Winners of the final round will be awarded with scholarships for overseas study in China.