Sport studies students learn about education, culture and sports on study abroad trip to Australia

The trip was led by two Xavier associate professors of sport studies | June 19, 2013

College students from 11 states, including five from Xavier, traveled to Australia in May to study global educational concepts and culture while learning about common Australian sports from the perspectives of sport management and athletic training. The athletic training, sport management and sport marketing majors attended lectures by Australian professionals and faculty, visited sport facilities and took a bush walk in an Australian rainforest.

The trip was led by Xavier associate professors of sport studies Lisa S. Jutte, PhD, and Linda J. Schoenstedt, EdD. The program gave students course credit in International Sports Medicine or International Sport.

“Australia considers itself the sports-craziest country in the world,” said Schoenstedt. “From a management standpoint, sport is increasingly global—the Olympics, World Cup, potential NBA and NFL franchises overseas, etc. We looked at how facilities built in Australia’s two Olympic sites in Melbourne and Sydney are being used today. Those built in Beijing for the 2008 Olympics are not being used at all. Old facilities should be managed and used for the public good.“

Schoenstedt said Australia is a good country for study sports because it has the second largest obesity problem in the world after the United States.

“From a health care point of view, students are expected to improve their cultural competency,” said Jutte. “This includes understanding patient needs in all cultures. Visiting another culture helps students better understand their own culture and become aware of other cultures.”

The group spent time in four cities. In Lennox Head, they learned about surfing, rugby, cricket, related injuries and sport tourism. They hiked the rainforest and studied the Australian healthcare system. In Sydney, they toured Olympic Park and Taronga Zoo, attended a sport medicine lecture and spent a day shadowing people in jobs of interest to them.

In Canberra, they toured the Australian Institute of Sport, the War Memorial, New Parliament and the National Museum of Australia and attended a rugby game. In Melbourne, they toured the University of Melbourne sports facility and attended lectures on sports medicine and sports capital improvement. After another day of job shadowing, they toured the Melbourne Cricket Grounds and on-site healthcare facilities and visited the National Sports Museum. They spent one day touring Philips Island and another on an Aboriginal tour.

Students were given pre- and post-trip assignments, kept a journal, completed other assignments, and participated in discussion sessions. After the trip ended, students submitted a final project related to their discipline. The group kept a blog of their trip experiences.

Xavier’s sport studies department offers undergraduate degrees in sport management, sport marketing and athletic training, as well as a master's degree in sport administration.