Western Carolina University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 33-40
ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain
In 2011, three professors from three departments at one American university took a group of college students to England on three separate, but academically connected, study abroad courses. The trip was 3 years in the making and during its construction the professors involved had three distinct goals: 1. Create a travel course that was academically rigorous but at the same time afforded students the ‘study abroad’ experience. 2. Create a curriculum that allowed the courses to overlap. 3. Create a travel experience that encouraged the students to become confident enough to make independent decisions concerning the daily logistics of traveling abroad. The foremost challenge was to create an interdisciplinary SA experience that brought students and professors from history, business, and sport administration together in one academic collaboration. To do this, our goal was to recruit speakers whose topics addressed subject matter both relevant to each course specifically but also to sport in Britain in general. Each professor also brought an area of expertise important to the successful design of the course. Two had played soccer at the collegiate level, with one playing professionally in Europe. Two had coaching or work experience at varying levels both domestically and internationally. One had completed graduate and post-graduate studies in England. Two had traveled to England prior to meet and recruit speaking contacts. Over the span of 12 days, the students visited football teams playing in League One and the Championship league, a Premiership rugby club, a university cricket club, and Wembley Stadium, which allowed the group to experience how different levels of sports were played and managed in the U.K. At each of these venues the students heard from directors of operations, physios, coaches, and players. The students also had the opportunity to attend two professional soccer matches, a professional rugby match, and a cricket match. In addition, the students heard from a best-selling author, a business professor recognized as one of Europe’s leading experts on sport marketing and business strategy, and a regional director for the English Football Association.The second challenge of the course was to ensure that the students, many of whom had never been on a plane before, would benefit from the experience of traveling abroad. It was our goal to place the students outside their comfort zone, and encourage each to independently manage themselves in a foreign environment. To foster a degree of independence and competence, we assigned a different student to be in charge of logistics for each day trip (usually two a day). In short, students took turns leading the group. The students proved capable of handling themselves away from the professors, and by day five, the group informed us that they no longer wanted to meet in front of the hotel for each excursion, but instead wished to be in change of getting themselves to where they needed to go. This joint travel course took place in and around greater London, and Cambridge, England, and served as the pilot year for courses the professors intend to offer each year. This paper will detail the specific challenges of putting together the course, implementing the schedule while in England, and what was gained, by both students and professors, on a personal, academic, and professional level.
Cross-discipline, sport, travel abroad.