Breaking the language barrier with soccer

Over spring break, students and faculty chaperones traveled to Shanghai to visit Peddie's sister school, EFZ. Each student will enjoy a homestay experience with a fellow EFZ student, participate in a host of group activities and work on an independent project in conjunction with an EFZ student partner.

From Sam:

This afternoon I was able to work on my project learning about women’s soccer in China. My partner's parents picked us up from EFZ, and we drove for about an hour and fifteen minutes to a park where there is a residential sports training facility. There, we went to the girls’ soccer field where the team was just finishing their second training session of the day. We were able to speak to the head coach. I had prepared questions and my partner asked the coach questions I was curious about. 

One thing I learned is that just as in the US, the pay gap between the women and their male counterparts is astonishing. In additon, the men’s soccer players are the second highest paid professionals in China! 

By the time we finished speaking with the coach, the team had finished their stretches, so we were able to give them the gifts that we brought them. My host family was very generous and brought snicker bars for the team, while I brought some Peddie soccer shirts (I was a few short because I didn’t know how many players we were going to meet with!). 

The players were kind and practiced all the English they knew on me. I had my partner ask the players the question which was most important to me: Did they watch U.S. women’s soccer, and if so, who was their favorite player? Although none of them said that their favorite player was the same as mine, I was pleased that they did know about soccer in the United States and how successful it has been. 

The most important thing I learned from today is that the love of soccer we share breaks the language barrier between us!