During the summer break in 2018, I went to a running camp for two weeks to improve my sprinting technique and time. In this camp kids and teenagers from the age of 8~20 years with a lot of potential will be invited to join the camp to work on their respective events they participate in for Track and Field.
At this camp, the majority of students are from England. However there are students from non-english speaking countries such as Kenya, China, and etc. and this creates an environment that isn’t purely about trying to get better at your respective events. Instead its main focus is to get everyone to come together and learn each others cultures while aiming to improve on technical aspects.
As a sprinter, I naturally chose to join the sprint group. The sprint group had the most diverse kids and teenagers out of all the groups as there were athletes from countries in Africa, South America, as well as China. In an attempt to become friends with many of the athletes, I had to simplify my English as using more advanced English would confuse them. However this was not a problem since it was a way to get messages across and share informations and tips about what we should do next. Initially I thought using simplified terminology would make the others feel disrespected as they understand that I am numbing down my use of vocabulary to middle school level. This was not the case though. Instead they all thanked me and in turn allowed for very effective communication between the athletes from the different countries.
Through this camp I was able to teach these kids more advanced terminologies and slangs that we use in English, as well as learn a bit of vocabulary such as greetings, farewells, and asking each others names. When one of the Japanese sprinters were struggling to communicate to the coach in English, I was able to step in and help translate what he wanted to say to the coach. In turn I became very close with him and to this day we still converse and occasionally meet up and train together.
From this I learned that language isn’t a way to show off your proficiency to others but instead a way to express ones thoughts and ideas across in a way that can be understood by others.