my english interest course {2nd stop: the athletic field}

Tuesday, October 21:  This afternoon, my English Interest Course on “Storytelling Photography” goes on an outing to the university athletic field, a sprawling concrete area with a track, outdoor basketball courts, exercise equipment and people doing all manner of exercise from playing baseball to doing yoga to running / walking around the track to taking dance / aerobics classes.  I gave this outing as an option last week and the students picked it.

I think it might be interesting, but it’s not.

Exercise class

Dance class

I’m not a big fan of sports in general, and it’s quite a hot day.  We wander around taking pictures of some of the various activities that are going on.  It’s actually the most boring outing I could have ever devised.  The 45 minutes or so that we are there seems like an eternity.  I think when I do this course in the second half of the semester, I’ll cross this one off my list.

Exercise class

Exercise class

classes on the athletic field

classes on the athletic field

One of the other English Interest Course teachers is teaching an exercise/yoga class, so we stop to take pictures.

another English Interest Course

another English Interest Course


Warrior 1 pose!

The track

The track

Yet another English Interest Course teacher is teaching baseball as his subject, so we stop to watch his class. The girls are fashionably dressed, as they always are, which surprises me when I see them involved in sports activities.

the pitcher at the baseball game

the pitcher at the baseball game

running for home

running for home

a hit!

a hit!

up to bat

up to bat



Here are some random pictures.  It’s not great or even interesting photography, but I’m trying to document some of my life in China.

One of the students tells me that in order to pass the physical fitness exam, they must do 10 pull-ups on the pull-up bars, lifting the upper part of their bodies above the bar. I ask my students how many they can do, and most say 3-4.  Doing 10 is the passing score.  To get 100%, they must do 18.  I tried to do one pull-up and I couldn’t even do that.  I’m such a weakling.

One of my students has an interesting tattoo.  He says there’s a story behind it, but he doesn’t really want to share the story.



This afternoon, I walk out of my classroom building to find a group of girls practicing a dance routine with sticks in their mouths. One explains, as she takes the stick out of her mouth and laughs with embarrassment, that they hold the sticks in their mouths because it reminds them, or forces them, to smile!

I mention to a fellow teacher that when I first came, I was fascinated by all the group sport and dance activities on every street corner. But now I don’t see it as odd anymore, just a matter of routine. It’s amazing how quickly strange things become normal when you immerse yourself in a foreign culture!

When I first arrived in September, I would often walk by the athletic field in the evening on my way to the campus supermarket.  At twilight, I would see hundreds, maybe thousands, of bats, flitting about in the sky.  It freaked me out a little. 🙂

Categories: Asia, China, English Interest Course, Guangxi University, Guangxi University Athletic Field, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Nanning, Sino-Canadian International College (SCIC), Sports, Teaching English as a Second Language, Travel | 27 Comments

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27 thoughts on “my english interest course {2nd stop: the athletic field}

  1. These students seem to be engaged in their activity. What interests do your students have? What would be an activity that they would want to do?


    • Well, Lynne, the class is on Storytelling Photography. They picked the athletic field, but then they were as bored with it as I was. Next week, they’ve voted on the front gate and the gardens between our building and there. We’ll see how it goes. Then the week after that, they have to prepare a 5-minute presentation showing 10 slides telling a story about some aspect of their lives. 🙂


  2. Fourth time to try to post this comment, Kat. I think that exercise and humidity don’t go together Kat. When it’s very humid here I try to move as little as possible but I still feel uncomfortable


    • I’m sorry you’re having so much trouble posting comments, Dai. What a pain! I agree that exercise and humidity don’t go together. I’m the same way. I just want to lie around and move as little as possible. Either that or get used to being drenched in sweat.


      • Being drenched in sweat is something i could never get used to, Kat. I feel intensely uncomfortable. We have a season of very high humidity here and I lay low and do as little as possible.


      • That’s all I feel like doing in high humidity too, Dai! 🙂


  3. Finally successful.


  4. It is intriguing to me that there are so many physical activities going on and so many young people engaged in them…and they all look trim and fit. Perhaps you could ask your students to make up a story about whatever person they photographed – use their imagination to write a story about that person’s life, what they want, who they live with, what their favorite activities are…or if they know something about that particular sport and are good at it, maybe they could write a critique of how a person is holding their body…so many things of interest. I didn’t find your post and these activities boring at all. In fact, I find it inspiring – China values a healthy body and creates opportunities for young people to engage in all these activities. The US could learn something from this – schools here are cutting sports and physical activities rather than increasing them!


    • Yes, Annette, everyone here seems trim and fit. One day I went fon a long walk and I made it a goal to notice any fat people. I didn’t see any. I have seen some since then, periodically, here and there, but they’re not obese like many Americans.

      Those are all great ideas and if it were a different kind of class they would work wonderfully. I don’t know if you saw my first post on this English Interest Course, but the course is very short, sweet and simple. It’s more for fun and just to give the students time to interact with an English-speaking teacher. This course is on storytelling photography (it’s only a 6 week course, 1 hour each session) and the end product is a 5 minute, 10-slide Power Point presentation telling a story of some aspect of their lives here at the university. I did an introductory lesson, we go on three outings, and then the presentations are the last two classes.

      I’m glad you didn’t find the post boring. It was just boring (and hot!) standing around on that athletic field. 🙂 But you’re right, China values physical activity quite a lot, and America could learn something from it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. SO you’re in China! Since September – wow, good for you. It’s funny,as you point out, to see the young women dressed so fashionably for baseball. And the sticks on their moths to keep smiling – wow. I hope you’re enjoying a host of new impressions!


  6. Your action shots of the baseball are good, Cathy. I can’t, for the life of me, get a decent shot of anything that moves (except perhaps the sea 🙂 ) Do you have ‘sport’ mode (whatever that is!) on your camera?


  7. Hi Cathy – please forgive me if I am wrong but happy birthday! Hope you’re having a good weekend away.


    • Hi Marco! You’re not wrong at all. Saturday was my birthday, and although I do like to celebrate birthdays, I don’t like getting another year older!! I went to Detian Waterfall on the Vietnam border. It was quite a trek, so I’m exhausted now! Thanks for your birthday wishes. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yay glad I got the day right! The waterfall really sounds awesome – was it easy enough to get there in the end?


      • Yay! It was a nice surprise to get your birthday wishes, Marco. Thanks again for guessing the right time. 🙂

        In the end, the waterfall was decidedly NOT easy to get to. I’m going to write a post about it, but it may take some time. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Looking forward to reading all about it 🙂


  8. raluca magereanu

    Hi, Cathy!

    Wishing you happy birthday and all wonderful, healthy and full of new experiencies days ahead!

    Wishing you good luck with your Chinese adventure, interesting encounters, interesting photos, interesting stories!

    Wishing you a memorable journey!

    Best thoughts from windy Bucharest,


    P.S. You are most welcome to Romania anytime. 🙂


    • Hi Raluca! How are you? It’s so nice to hear from you. Thank you so much for the birthday wishes. I went to Detian Waterfall on the Vietnam border this weekend. It was quite a trek so I’m exhausted!

      Thanks for your best thoughts from Bucharest and I’d love to visit Romania sometime!! I hope sooner than later.

      Best to you too Raluca. And sending hugs your way. xxx


  9. Hi Cathy!

    I am enjoying your blogs from China and having just come back from Myanmar (Burma) I know just how debilitating hot and humid conditions can be. You asked a while back if I blogged. I didn’t but decided to give it a try because Myanmar is so unique and I wanted to record my holiday before the country changes out of all recognition. Here is the link:
    Hope I haven’t broken any rules by including it my reply – you can always refuse to post it if I have! I wasn’t sure how often you used your Twitter a/c and don’t have an email address for you hence the inclusion. Please feel free to pass the link on to anyone you think might be interested.


    • Oops! WordPress appears to have deleted the link! I’ll try to tweet you privately.


    • Hi Vee, that’s so strange that the link was deleted. How bizarre. I’ve had people post links before and they weren’t deleted automatically. Are you blogging through the WordPress platform? Maybe you could just write it out. I know at the end it will be dot wordpress dot com.

      You haven’t broken any rules, at least that I know of, so I don’t know why they deleted it. I’ve had comments go into Spam before when they had links in them, but I’ve never known the link to be simply removed with the rest of the message left intact.

      Anyway, I’d love to follow your blog and to see what you have to say about Myanmar. I want to go there in February, so I’d love to know all about it!

      I’m glad you decided to start blogging. 🙂


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