A group of third year Sport students were given the opportunity to spend a week at Montclair State University with the aim of enhancing their knowledge and boosting their employability.

Thanks to Edge Hill University’s Student Opportunity Fund (SOF), a group of 15 students from the Sports Coaching, Development and Management programme visited Montclair State University (MSU) in New Jersey to experience how areas relating to their undergraduate programmes are delivered in an international setting.

During the trip students attended masterclasses specifically targeting areas of relevant research and employment across the wide array of topics included within their programme. They also attended and observed practical sessions for a range of university sports in the USA. They experienced a variety of strategies and approaches to areas of Sports, Coaching and Development within an international context, and worked collaboratively with international students studying in a similar field.

As well as their academic work, the students were also able to broaden their cultural horizons. They spent a day in New York, toured the MetLife Stadium – home of the New York Giants and New York Jets American football teams – and attended a Yankees game so they could see first-hand the differences in coaching style and appreciate the management of sport at different levels. As a thank you, MSU colleagues organised a New York sightseeing Hudson river cruise, which was a highlight of the trip for a number of students.

Jonathan Ollerenshaw, who has just graduated from Edge Hill with a first class degree in Sports Development and Management, found the trip very enjoyable, and useful for broadening his knowledge.

“The key element of the trip that has stuck with me is to have fun while learning. The experience was with a wonderful group which was full of laughter. This enjoyment transpired throughout the lectures conducted by the staff at MSU, off-site visits to NYC and Yankee Stadium, and during our free time at MSU where we were welcome to explore the campus.

“The MSU lecturers predominantly covered sport science, and being from a sport management course, it was a different experience for me. However, having the opportunity to enhance my knowledge in this area is beneficial for the future, as I now have a baseline understanding.”

Dr Greg Doncaster, Senior Lecturer in Coaching and Sports Performance, along with Andy Smith, Professor of Sport and Physical Activity, went on the trip with the students.

“The Student Opportunity Fund trip to MSU provided our students with an invaluable and unique opportunity to further develop their knowledge, understanding and employability skills in sports coaching, development and management,” said Greg. “As well as being excellent ambassadors for Edge Hill, students worked alongside staff and students from MSU on a range of globally relevant research, practical and professional activities which will make them stand out in the future graduate job market. We look forward to welcoming MSU staff and students to Edge Hill in the future so they can experience a similar opportunity.”

“It was a privilege to share our longstanding research and student-led work on mental health and illness in sport with MSU students and staff, enabling Edge Hill students to explore with their peers how their experiences in the field have a wider cultural relevance and application to work in professional sport, community settings and public health,” added Andy. “Our students were exemplary in their engagement throughout the trip, and fittingly the excellent degree outcomes released to final year students whilst we were away marked the end of what will likely become an important transformational experience on which to base their future careers.”

The Student Opportunity Fund ensures that costs are not a barrier to students who want to make the most of their experience at Edge Hill, and it made this trip possible by paying for the students’ travel and accommodation costs. Find out more here.