Sport Management Study Abroad Trip

study abroad trip
Dr. Michael Edwards and Dr. Kyle Bunds led 11 students throughout the UK and Germany this summer for a multi-country study abroad program. During five weeks of travel the students had the opportunity to engage with industry professionals and scholars who provided a multinational perspective on sport programs and sustainable facility management.

UK and Scotland

Dr. Edwards led the first half of the trip which included England and Scotland with a focus on Sport Programming. Their first stop in London was hosted by London Sports Trust which gave the students the opportunity to sit in on briefings and participate in workshops coordinated by the London Sport interns. The students also had the opportunity to attend the FA Cup Final in the iconic Wembley Stadium, visit Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, as well as the largest football stadium in the United wemblyKingdom, Old Trafford.
On a trip to Lanacashire, the group spent an afternoon at Preston Grasshoppers Rugby Club organized by a long time partner of the NC State Sport Management Program, Nick Passenger from University of Central Lancashire.  Dr. Edwards thought it was a highlight of the trip, “the students were able to meet one of the club’s “Old Boys” Ken Moore and learn about how voluntary sport clubs are truly the foundation of sport in the UK and serve a critical function in the social fabric of communities.”
Before they left the UK, the students were introduced to the concept of inclusive sport (sport for all) in a field trip to Stoke Mandeville Stadium, which is known as the “Birthplace of Paralympics”.  Inclusive sport is a significant focus of sport programs in the UK, much more so than in the US. The facilities are basic in nature and the students learned how important it is for organizations and programs to develop an inclusive culture and attitude. Dr. Edwards believes that the students came away from that visit with a much clearer appreciation for how to approach inclusive sport.

What was the highlight for you as the teacher during your portion of the trip?

“It was the “out-of-classroom” experiences provided by our amazing partners. The students really had an incredible array of speakers, personalized tours, and unique learning experiences across the country that provided some key context to sport delivery in the UK.”
 

Germany

Dr. Bunds met up with the group in Germany to transition the focus of the trip to Sustainable Facility Management. The students toured stadiums including Westfalstadion which gave them the opportunity to see how German stadiums operate very differently than their American counterparts when it comes to sustainability. They also learned how they are developing carbon neutral stadiums on a visit to Freiburg, which is considered the best city for urban sustainable development.
A Sport Management study abroad trip to Germany wouldn’t be complete without a tour of The German Sport University, which is the largest sport university in Europe and the only one dedicated exclusively to the world of sport and exercise science.  Students had a unique opportunity to have a class with Dr. Stefan Walzel from the Institute of Sports Economics and Management.
In between their academic itinerary they also had a chance to visit iconic Dachau Concentration Camp which many students felt was a life changing experience. Dr. Bunds noted that although they all had learned about the Holocaust, being there really put into perspective the devastating impact of hateful ideology.

What was the highlight for you as the teacher during your portion of the trip?study abroad group

“The opportunity to connect with students was awesome. I had the opportunity to live and work in Munich as a guest professor, and it was cool for me to just show them around the city and share a completely different culture with them. Many of the students had never been out of the country. Seeing their world open up to them was really an amazing experience. That is the reason I wanted to conduct a study abroad in the first place, to allow students to experience a different culture, and, maybe, open their eyes to different viewpoints.”