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Published: September 21st 2006
Basketball is one of the most popular sports on this campus, as it is in most parts of China. This is mainly due to the popularity of the Chinese Basketball star Yao Ming, who plays in the NBA in the USA. Here, the English Department team, the Rockets (after Yao Ming's team) warm up for their match against the Art Department.
All work and no play makes for a boring life, so it is good to know that there are extra curricular activities available on campus for the students to enjoy. Even better, most of the activities are organized and coordinated by the Student Union.
In this populous nation of over 1.4 billion, it is easy to forget the importance of these opportunities for students to develop physical, cultural and social skills as well as their mental capacities in order to become well rounded citizens. The great emphasis on diligence in study and doing well in exams is partly in response to the incredible pressure to succeed, to rise up and keep apace of the amazing changes occurring at this time in China. To be "part of the action". The competition for desirable jobs is fierce and unrelenting. The hopes and aspirations of these students' whole families hang over their heads. It is something students of the same age in Australia could not even comprehend. How could they, we are a nation of just 20million!
One of the first activities I experienced were of the sporting kind. Firstly, the annual inter department basketball competition. Basketball is very popular with both
Winning Team & Fans
Smiles all around after a hard fought win! They were rather amused (and pleased) by my enthusiastic (read vocal) support during the match. Couldn't help myself- I was a basketball coach way back when! A great opportunity to showcase the boys, as they are in the minority in this college!
males and females, but I was disappointed to see that few girls actually play it, they merely act as spectators. I have bought a basketball to brush up on my very rusty skills, and I hope to encourage some of the girls to practice with me. Time will tell whether this will be a success or not!
The following weeks saw a variety of sports competitions including volleyball (girls only), table tennis (both) and the grand finale "football " (soccer, boys only). Unfortunately I was unable to view many of these matches due to work commitments, but my students were very enthusiastic about them all- a really good sign to my mind! (being an ex- health educator and all that that!)
Social activities have been few and far between, but were very enjoyable all the same. They included a masked party in the recreation room and visits to the Taizhou College of Nanjing Normal University. This campus is close by and has students who are studying for their Bachelor's degree, majoring in English. They were "champing at the bit" to speak to a foreigner, as they do not have the luxury of a foreign teacher this semester. I
Earlier in the term, the second year students hosted a masked party in the recreation room. I was very impressed with the facility, equipped with disco mirror ball, multi media technology and a wooden dance floor.
was more than happy to join them on two occasions for their English Club activities. I have also found out that one of the Chinese English teachers runs a weekly film club on a Friday night. Great to hear!
One of the highlights of this semester has been the Foreign Language Festival. It is only the second year it has run, and it will only get bigger and better. At the moment the focus is English, but in coming years it may also include Japanese, German and French. It is running for about a month and includes a variety of "competitions" and special "events". Of these, the ones I found most enjoyable were the English Song Competition, the Oral English Speaking Competition, the Short Teaching Presentation Competition and the Drama night. Such wonderful opportunities for the students to showcase and practise their English Speaking Skills. One thing I really liked is that students who are non English majors were also encouraged to participate.
Let me share with you in a few pictures, some of these activities. Unfortunately, my camera was not up to the task in many of the night events.
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