LINGUAL marvel Jack Deverson won a Chinese speaking competition during his gap year – despite against students from the Asian country.
The 21-year-old, of East Herrington, is living in Haikou, in Hainan province, as part of his language studies at Newcastle University.
He thought little of entering a Chinese speaking competition, encouraged by a teacher who said foreign students were needed.
But after getting through an initial competition, he wowed officials and took the main prize at the Qiongzhou Cup, beating scores of other hopefuls.
Despite admitting being daunted, Jack – who was cheered on by pals – came through four rounds before being hailed the winner.
His performance was deemed more impressive than scores of others, many of who were from China and neighbouring countries such as Singapore and South Korea.
“It was amazing,” said Jack, who has studied French since the age of four. “I had to introduce myself first, and for the second round I recited a poem.
“The third was an art performance, so I played my ukelele and sang a song in Chinese.
“Finally, I had to talk about something from my home country, so I spoke about the north-south divide that there is in England.”
Jack, who is now back on Wearside but preparing to go back to China until the end of the academic year this summer, says his family, which includes mum Allyson, dad Rob and sister Sophie, have been overwhelmed by his achievement.
“It’s been a bit of a shock and I don’t think they can quite believe it,” said Jack, a former East Herrington Primary and Durham School pupil.
“Going away to live in China was a big thing for them and me because I’ve never been away before.”