Mandarin, Greek, Swedish and Polish students win SBS language competition

After thousands of submissions from across Australia, Education Minister Simon Birmingham awarded the four students that took out this year's SBS language competition.

The asked students a simple question: What does language learning mean to you?

Entrants from across the country submitted short videos in a language other than English. Some students said it made them feel closer to their families, while others said it was fun to expand their skills.

Thousands of entries were received from across Australia, aiming to inspire young people to embrace language learning.

Four winners have been chosen across the categories, with Mandarin, Greek, Swedish and Polish speaking students taking out the top prizes at a ceremony attended by Education Minister Simon Birmingham. 

Percy Page won the Junior Primary division for his entry, where he spoke about what learning Mandarin means to him.

"I have learned that people can have very different views about the world," Percy Page said in his video.

"I am learning Chinese to help Australia be a country where people understand and respect diversity."

The nationwide competition aims to engage school children and asks them to reflect on the cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversity of Australia's multicultural society. 

Eirini Vergaki won in the primary school division of the competition. In her entry she talked about the language she adores - Greek - and why it's unique. 

"The Green language passes the boundaries," Miss Vergaki said.

"I love it so much, it never forgets me."

In her winning entry, Anjali D'Cunha spoke about how speaking Swedish makes her feel like a super hero, before wizzing around IKEA wearing a Swedish flag, in a fun-filled video entry.

Miss D'Cunha found out she had won her division while on the school bus and said she was thrilled her creative efforts had been rewarded.

"I think it's really important that people are keeping up the languages and in schools now there are a lot of language programs," she said. 

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the initiative is a valuable contribution to language learning in Australia.

"This is a wonderful celebration of learning language and hopefully something that inspires other young people to try to learn," Mr Birmingham told SBS.

"And of course encourages schools and our education system to keep looking for ways to offer language opportunities to young Australians."

The four grand prize winners receive an iPad Pro and a full day's pass to Luna Park in Sydney for two people.

Winner of the senior high school category, Celina Bugara is a Polish speaker and used her entry to talk about the benefits of being bilingual. 

"[Speaking Polish] means that I can talk to my family because my grandparents don't speak any English," Miss Bugara told SBS.

"I think it's really important to be in touch with your culture."


3 min read
Published 30 October 2017 at 11:27am
Source: SBS