The atmosphere at the competition was excellent and the jury gave each candidate very useful, individual feedback and valuable tips to help us all improve our future performance.
Six participants, representing China, India, Malaysia, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea and South Korea, qualified for the finals.
All six candidates delivered very personal and passionate speeches on the theme "The Great Truth is Simple" before sharing their thoughts on current topics or philosophical questions during their impromptu speeches. After a very close competition, the Malaysian candidate, Nicole Young, finally won the coveted first place.
During these three intense days, we also had the chance to discover the city of Hangzhou.
We first visited the headquarters of Alibaba, the number one e-commerce company in China, after which we boarded a small traditional Chinese boat to visit the Xixi Westlake National Park.
The last day, we went to West Lake to admire the beautiful and peaceful scenery, known for having inspired many Chinese poets and artists.
Participating in this event has been very enriching from an intellectual, cultural and human point of view.
For me personally, it was a great opportunity for me to express myself, strengthen my public speaking skills, and gain self-confidence. Preparation ahead of the competition was an intellectual challenge that pushed me to develop a critical view and demonstrate creativity.
But taking part in this event was above all a wonderful opportunity to meet talented young speakers from very different backgrounds and to forge new international friendships. It is very exciting to see how the English language can unite people from such different origins around a common goal.
My thanks to the English Speaking Union and the Committee of the ESU Loire Valley Branch for allowing me to participate in this incredible event, and very special thanks to Mrs. Curd for supporting me at all times throughout my preparations for my adventures in China.