Few things unite people from all over the globe like sports. By going overseas to complete your studies in sports and athletics you’ll have opportunities unimaginable if you’d stayed home. Learning about this universal field of studies in different and culturally specific contexts could just give you the edge you need to set yourself apart from the competition.
While you study sports abroad, you’ll see how athletes compete in other countries, be it at a game you know well, or at something completely different (like the Scottish caber toss). You’ll learn about many of the different professional aspects of sports and athletics and how to apply a global and culturally competent approach to whatever you choose to specialize in.
There are many different ways to pursue your study in sports abroad. Programs in sports management are some of the most popular, particularly at the undergraduate level. With its interdisciplinary approach, a sports management program will provide you with a well-rounded education. This comprehensive field of study usually includes everything related to the business side of athletics, from marketing and law to facility management and administration. These programs are a great place to start if you’re still looking to narrow down your interests.
For the aspiring coaches out there, you’ll want to explore programs focusing on team management and leadership. By going overseas to study coaching you’ll experience different leadership styles and learn a level of cultural competency that will help make you a well-rounded and adaptable coach once you start your career.
Where to Go
It’s likely possible to study sports in any country in the world. Deciding where to go will be your biggest decision to make. Choosing a country where your favorite sport is most popular is a good place to start.
This continent of a country offers you an inside look at how sports can be played in ways not commonly seen at home. From the full-contact excitement of Australian rules football to world-class surfing championships, long-distance racing, and tennis, the Aussies will flip your expectations on their head. Many top-notch Australian universities offer thorough and intensive courses focusing on various sectors of the sports industry.
You’ve probably noticed that baseball is a big deal in Japan. You may not have realized that American football is growing in popularity too. There is a large effort in Japan to promote the country as a destination for premier athletic events. As part of this, students of sports management are eagerly welcomed in a number of university programs there.
Sports, particularly soccer, is elevated to near-religious levels in the home of Neymar and Pelé. In addition to soccer, martial arts, Formula One racing, and volleyball are an integral part of the athletic scene in Brazil. Ever since the 2016 Olympics, more Brazilian colleges have expanded their athletic programs. With such fervent interest in sports, this South American nation is an outstanding place to learn more about this industry.
For anyone looking to make connections in the worlds of rugby, cricket, tennis, or golf, it’s hard to go wrong in the United Kingdom. The UK is the host to many premier sporting events like Wimbledon and the British Open, as well as more local events like the Highland Games. As a result, you’ll have numerous opportunities to get field experience as an intern at these games as part of your studies.
Planning Your Trip
Before you take to the playing field overseas, you’d do best to keep the following in mind as you plan your trip.
How to Choose a Sports Study Abroad Program
A good place to start when choosing your program is to consider what type of sport you’d like to focus on. Some programs are very specific, looking at sports management or coaching within the narrow focus of a particular game. Others are more general, giving students a wider overview of how their training could apply in a variety of settings.
Another consideration should be where you want to make connections. Meeting people from different backgrounds but with similar interests is one of the greatest benefits of studying overseas. Think about which programs will best help you leverage new connections once your career begins to take off.
Health & Safety
Participating in sports is not without its risks. But if you follow the directions of your instructors you will greatly reduce the chance of an injury. Getting a physical exam from your doctor at home before you go is always a good idea. It may even be required by your program. Just know your limits and don’t take unnecessary risks when on and off the field.
Country specific health and safety precautions depend on a lot of different factors. You can learn more at the CDC and State Department websites to see what they recommend based on where you’re heading.
Other Need to Know
Most sports programs take an interdisciplinary approach, covering a wide range of topics within the field of sports. To find the best program for you, read course descriptions completely and get in touch with instructors if anything is unclear.
Most programs have prerequisites. It’s important to know what these are before you apply. It is unlikely that you’ll be accepted to a program if you haven’t met the requirements. Additionally, make sure that your home university will accept your transfer credits once you receive them.