September 28, 2023

After having moved away from home, family and their own culture, international students find themselves having to grow accustomed to a new way of playing sports in America and at California Baptist University.

A fun way to get international students involved on campus is through intramural sports. Throughout the year, the school offers sports such as football, soccer and volleyball at the intramural level.

For example, when Americans mention football, we tend to imagine big crowds, massive stadiums and the Superbowl, which even non-football fans have been known to watch.

In Korea, smaller, more intimate games take the spotlight.

“Pool… tennis… ping pong and badminton,” are very popular games to play instead of the games that involve more contact, said Adam Jung, junior business major. “Football is fun, but it’s hard for me to play because … it’s more fighting than sport.”

Another illustration of differences between sport in America and sport in Korea is the progression of athletes.

“In Korea, they let us play when we are young and see how good (we are), and if (you) are good, you keep playing, if you are not super talented … you stop playing and focus on studying,” Jung said. “We’re good at sports in the Olympics, but generally, we’re not that good at sports.”

Jung played baseball in junior high school. Unfortunately, an arm injury prevented him from continuing the sport and his focus went further into study.

“Here, people who play sports for school also study,” Jung said. “In Korea, (if) you play for a school… you study really basic stuff and English so you can go abroad.”

Zachary Pierce, recreational sports coordinator for the CBU International Center, is in charge of involving international students with fun, sporting activities while they are at CBU. He creates events that not only introduce international students to American games, but include sports that are native to other countries as well.

Pierce, along with Jung and about 14 other international students make up the flag football team “Illegal Aliens.”

“We just started practicing flag football,” Pierce said. “None of them have ever played the game before, and it can get pretty interesting.”

Pierce saud he is also planning on getting a group together to play Kabaddi sometime in the near future. It’s a sport played in India as well as other parts of Asia.

The way Pierce and other international students play Kaba-ddi is to start with two teams of about seven people in each. Once both teams are lined up across from each other at opposite ends of the field, one person marches from one team toward the other at the opposite side.

While the teammate is marching toward the other team, he must in one breath repeat the word, “kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi..”

Once he has reached the other side, he must tag someone on the opposing team, run back to his own side, and get back in time before the opposing team tags him back.

“It’s kind of … interesting,” Jung said, referring to his first time playing Kabaddi. At least he likes it enough to when

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