Citizens of Saint Lucia take the first-ever Chinese as a foreign language test held in the Caribbean

St. LUCIA: Eleven Saint Lucians received their certificates on Friday, September 9, 2022, after taking the Chinese as a Foreign Language (TOCFL) test.

They are:
Nillan Samuel
Joycelyne Nelson
Leonard Arthur Jamal Robinson
Arlene Jacil Danirla Boodha
Jeelan Nakiba Alfred
Chrisa Maximin
Eybhee Bustle
Lea David
Germa Inglis-Alfred
Villette Gisele Benjamin
Bryson Hilaire

Three other participants who took the TOCFL received their certificates ahead of Friday’s ceremony held at the Taiwan Embassy in Rodney Bay before traveling to Taiwan to undertake studies.

Some of the participants work in the civil service, while others attend Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC).

The test was managed by the Taiwan Steering Committee for the Huayu Proficiency Test and was held at Sir Arthur Lewis Community College on March 23, 2022.

One of the certificate recipients, Eybhee Busetle, attended the first round of the ICDF Mandarin Reading Competition, held on August 31, 2022, with 107 competitors from 11 countries, including three from Saint Lucia , participating in the competition. Busetle, the Saint Lucia champion, will represent the island in the final round.

In the first round, Nataki Florentville from Saint Lucia received the prize for the best popularity.

The final round will take place on September 22, 2022, starting at 8:30 p.m. (Saint Lucia time) on “YouTube-TaiwanICDFSchool” and the NTN channel. All champions from each country will compete online.

Peter Chia-yen Chen, Taiwan’s Ambassador to Saint Lucia, congratulated the participants, noting that they had embarked on the difficult path of learning Mandarin while working full time. He told attendees that language is a doorway to another culture and another world and that Taiwan offers dozens of training opportunities for Saint Lucia government officials to visit Taiwan.

“This certificate is just the beginning for your future cultural experiences in Taiwan and the greater Chinese-speaking world,” Ambassador Chen said. “I understand how difficult it is to learn a new language, especially Mandarin. But as an Ambassador of Taiwan who knows the importance of language in appreciating another country and another culture, I encourage all of you to take your Mandarin study to the next level and enjoy the incredible journey along the way.

Mandarin teacher Ting-Ting Lu said the participants made history by becoming the first to take the test in the Caribbean.

“Saint Lucia is the first country in the Caribbean to host the official TOCFL exam, which means you are the first group of people in the entire Caribbean to earn certificates,” she said. “I’m so proud of you, and you should be proud of yourselves too.”

She added, “I would like to thank you for your continued support in learning Mandarin and in Taiwan.”

The TOCFL is proof of Mandarin proficiency and is accepted by universities, academic institutions, and foreign and government organizations in Taiwan. Additionally, hundreds of educational and business organizations in the United States, Australia, and Switzerland, to name a few, accept the scores and use them to verify the skills of students or employees.