Tuesday, 22 October, 2013 - 09:51

Sport: a universal language

by ElizabethS

Millions of people all over the world enjoy sport, whether they enjoying taking part in it, or watching it. This is one of the reasons that sport is such an effective way to meet new people and make new friends: even if you don’t speak the same language, you’ll be able to communicate through your shared interest.

I am one of those millions of people who enjoy sport, with climbing and running being my main activities. So it made sense that after I moved to France to work in a school that I should try to continue to do both. I succeeded in finding a running club, and somewhere to climb, and after being here for only three weeks I have already got so much out of climbing and running with French people.

Going to the French running club for the first time was a bit daunting. What if I couldn’t understand them? What if they couldn’t understand me? I needn’t have worried. As we were getting ready for our run, the heavens opened and rain came pouring down. Despite speaking a different language, it was clear we were all thinking the same thing: are we really going to go running in this weather? We decided yes. Looking out of the window at the heavy rain, you could have been forgiven for thinking that we were mad to go running in such weather! I felt comfortable with my fellow runners straight away, and it was through our shared enthusiasm for running that we became friends.

The school I’m working at is lucky enough to have an indoor climbing wall in it’s sports hall. Which means I’m lucky enough to be able to share my love for climbing with other students and teachers, every Wednesday and Thursday at the school’s climbing club. Inevitably, the French words and terms used for climbing equipment and actions are different to those used in English, yet this hasn’t been a problem. My friends and I do lots of miming to try and demonstrate what we mean, then I explain what the word is in English, and my friends explain what the word is in French.

So sport can be considered as a universal language, meaning that even if you're playing football, or climbing with someone from France, Italy, Spain, or anywhere, you'll be able to communicate, enjoy yourself, and even learn some new phrases.

Language level

What are your favourite sports? Have you ever tried climbing? 

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