Post by Justyn Williams
When people think of students going global, it’s usually strictly in the form of traveling and studying, and without regard for those who might be athletes and want to maintain that aspect of their identity while abroad. Furthermore, when others do think of an athlete going global, more often than not they imagine it in the context of someone signing on to play in a foreign league or to participate in an international travel tour against foreign competition. Rarely, if at all, do they consider the opportunity for student-athletes to take part in a study abroad experience that so many other students, on campuses across the country, are engaging in on a yearly basis. Who, may we remind you, are the same students, vying for the SAME jobs as our student-athletes post grad.
Why Study Abroad Matters for American Undergraduates
In an era where more international students study at U.S. universities, it seems other countries more aptly grasp the importance of cross-cultural competency as we inch ever forward in the level of interconnectedness between nations. While the topic of whether or not study abroad boosts students’ job prospects can be debated, the fact of the matter is that student-athletes are almost always left out of the conversation altogether, and are resigned to live vicariously through their friends who take semesters or even whole academic years to uproot themselves to study in a foreign country.
As the cost of college education continues to rise, it’s understandable to question the ROI of external experiences such as studying or interning abroad. But as research by Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University (RSM) is beginning to show, there are various tangible benefits derived from studying or interning abroad which strengthen students’ (and student-athletes’) capability to appeal to companies seeking to hire them as postgraduates.
How Study Abroad Powerfully Improves Post-Graduate Career Success
According to the research at RSM, immersing oneself in another culture offers the chance to bolster skills in management, cross-cultural competency, flexibility, and self-awareness, as well as technical and social astuteness. However, “if the higher education community as a whole is to counter the charge of indulging in what some commentators have branded ‘education tourism’ then it must do more,” as Matt Symonds adds in his Forbes article, “Otherwise it will be in danger of letting down both its students and the organizations that will go on to employ them.” This is precisely the point we aim to emphasize at Global Players (GP).
Through our programs, not only do we foster an environment that encourages (and at times requires) cross-cultural engagement, but we also provide the opportunity for exchanges of that nature to happen through an avenue -- athletic competition -- that transcends the natural barriers of language or culture. Because of the rigors of college competition and athletics, it is reasonable to assume that many student-athletes come equipped with the requisite level of emotional maturity needed to fully benefit from a global education experience, but don’t often have the time or ability to even consider the prospect.
How Global Players Helps Student Athletes Seize the Rewards of Study Abroad
Studying abroad through the lens of international athletic competition allows GP student-athletes to engage in their host country at a heightened level. The athletic component, in combination with their academic or professional curriculum provided through our partnerships with the European Study Abroad Center and IES Abroad, serves to amplify development of the cross-cultural competency and collaborative skills desired by professionals across the globe. By weaving this unique element into a comprehensive study and intern abroad program, GP aims to provide opportunities for student-athletes to become more globally-minded people who employers will ultimately value and feel confident about hiring once they are postgraduates.
Ultimately, we agree; we must do more.
on professional success from studying abroad.