Second year SPAD students Jennifer Thomas and Dania Johanson will be embarking on SPAD’s first international exchange for their third year studies. Jennifer and Dania, through their busy schedules, were able to give us some insight on the impact an international exchange will have on their education and in their lives.
SB: Why don’t we start with a small introduction to who you are and what you are passionate about?
JT: I’m Jennifer Thomas, a second year SPAD student. I am an avid soccer fan and am passionate about enjoying the experiences that life has to offer. I am also very passionate about being able to expand my cultural knowledge through education and real life experiences.
DJ: My name is Dania Johanson, I am a second year SPAD student from a small town in Northern Ontario. I am a (Canadian) basketball enthusiast with the hope of pursuing a career in basketball in the future. I also have a strong passion for travelling and I am always avid to take on any opportunities to further myself both academically and professionally.
SB: You both talked about how you have a passion for traveling and culture. In your opinion how do you believe culture affects sport as a whole and how do you believe having an extended cultural knowledge can develop yourself and sport?
JT: I believe different cultures affect sport as a whole because of the different views and perspectives people have for different sports. For example, football (soccer) is viewed much differently in Europe than it is in North America due to the culture and history of the game in European countries. I believe having an extended cultural knowledge can develop myself as a person to being more open in potential internship and post graduation jobs that may be available in something that I am not familiar with.
DJ: Culture has a major impact on all aspects of sport since sport as a business is geared to consumer appeal and culture has a significant impact on what appeals to consumers, how they celebrate, what they find ethical, and so on. Thus, being able to learn about the facets of sport from a different perspective will be extremely valuable.
SB: Different cultures definitely have an impact on sport and sport popularity. Now that we have established that cultural differences are a large part of sport I’d like to focus on what this experience will do for you. If you could break down your excitement to its core, what are you most excited about?
JT: Obviously there are multiple things to be excited about, but I would have to say that I am most excited to be able to travel around Europe on weekends, and on breaks. I know that Dania and I have already started to make a bucket list of things to do while we are there and with having almost a month off in between semesters hopefully we are able to check off most of the things on the list.
DJ: There are so many different aspects of the exchange that I am exited about! if I had to narrow it down I would say I am most excited about having the ability to travel around not only just Austria but all over Europe and have the opportunity to experience a variety of different cultures, architecture, cuisine, entertainment, and of course sporting events.
SB: Its great to hear of the plans the two of you are starting to make and it sounds like you will have a blast! Moving to university is a big change that both of you experienced last year and now you’re going to Austria. How do you think studying abroad will affect your life and/or your life style?
JT: I think that studying abroad will affect my lifestyle in a positive way by allowing me to experience different events, cultures and atmospheres. As well, I believe that studying abroad will allow me to understand myself to a deeper level and may direct me into what kind of career I want to pursue after graduation. Studying in Austria also allows for me to “put myself out there”, as Dania will be the only one that I know at the university and we will both have to find different ways and attend different events in order to create a similar friend base to what we have created at Laurentian and in SPAD.
DJ: I think that the transition to university is a fair comparison in respect to the impact of the change on our lifestyles that this exchange will have. Although the type of impact the exchange will likely have on our lifestyle is much different from the affect that moving to university had. This exchange will have implications on my day-to-day life through adapting to a new culture’s daily norms (dining, mannerisms, and so on) and on myself in general. As Jen mentioned this exchange requires us to “put ourselves out there” and take on new experiences and opportunities in a foreign environment.
SB: Now to rap things up could you talk about what kind of courses you will be taking and how these courses will help you in the future?
JT: Courses that we will be taking are similar to what any third year SPAD student takes except for the core content of the course is different due to the cultural atmosphere in Austria. As well we will be taking more focused business management courses that will allow us to experience a deeper understanding of the topics. Studying at FH Kufstein also allows us the opportunity to try different classes that are not offered at Laurentian, such as different simulation modelling courses and web business management courses. I believe that said courses (although what we are taking is not set in stone) will help me in the future to be able to look at a situation from different views. Most courses that we are enrolled in now focus mainly on North American sporting industries when using examples, and I know that when we go to Austria their main sporting industries are different forcing us out of our comfort zone.
DJ: We don’t have our class schedule picked out officially yet. However, we have had the chance to look through the content included in some of the courses we will be taking. The courses we will take are similar to those we would have at Laurentian (Sport Ethics, Sport Projects etc…) although the course content is much different in Austria. The main difference that I noticed was there was a major focus on the World Cup and on soccer operations in general which reflects on the culture of Europe in which soccer is a major aspect.
SPAD would like to thank Jennifer and Dania for taking the time to speak to us about their exciting future while studying abroad. It is an unbelievable opportunity for our current/prospective students to hear about some of the opportunities that SPAD offers its students.