Freestylin’ During Free Time: The Chinese Academy’s Pool Day

July 9, 2014

With summer days reaching up to 100 degrees, Language Academy students seek every opportunity to cool off by taking a dip in the two outdoor pools on the Pomona College campus. The Haldeman pool is available for student use in the mornings before breakfast and during free time in the afternoons. This 50 meter by 25 yard Olympic-sized pool has lanes set up for lap swimming, two water polo goals and two large diving boards for the more daring students. This morning, I accompanied three of my students (Noah, A.J. and William) to the pool for an early morning swim. I was amazed that they woke up at 6:30am despite a long day of classes and activities the day before; however, with the delicious buffet-style food served at the Pomona cafeteria, many Academy students feel the need to work off their surplus energy. The Haldeman pool is a great way to get in exercise before the long day of academic activities and class scheduled.

Located two minutes from our dorm, the Pendleton pool provides a great way for students to relax after an arduous day of language and cultural classes. This afternoon, I brought a group of 20 students to the Pendleton pool for activity time. Students are still expected to maintain the Language Pledge® and, it is quite a sight to see a group of students communicating only in Chinese while the lifeguards and community members stare in amazement. One student, Axel, brought his water polo ball and a group of students passed the ball around while another group sat on the side of the pool conversing in Chinese about their day. As a former water polo player, I relished the opportunity to pass the ball around with students and even do penalty shootouts with a few students. At the end of the activity, I pulled out my camera and all the students posed for a priceless group photo.

It is hard to believe that they have been here for more than three weeks and have grown so close in such a short period of time. I look forward to this weekend when the students and staff will venture outside the Pomona campus to The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino and Chinatown in Los Angeles!

-Christian, Chinese Academy RA