The record high temperature for Sweden in March is 61 degrees but you’ll hear no complaints from Ashley Morgan, a West Virginia University student who is heading there for spring break as part of a College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences study abroad trip.
Morgan, a sophomore from Hilliard, Ohio, majoring in sport and exercise psychology, isn’t concerned about swimming or sun-tanning. The trip she’s making has a much broader appeal and lasting impact. She and 10 other students, along with CPASS faculty members Dr. Jack Watson and Dr. Damien Clement, will spend March 23-30 at Halmstad University experiencing a mix of academic information-sharing and cultural events.
The CPASS group is just one example of WVU students using next week’s spring break to gain new experiences.
- For the third year, Adventure WV will be sponsoring a leadership spring break for orientation staff. The participants will focus on leadership development, personal growth and wilderness training.
- The Student Recreation Center is sponsoring a trip to Florida where students will spend their time camping, canoeing, snorkeling and exploring through Florida’s natural springs, unique rivers and ocean shores. Participants will visit the Suwannee River, Manatee Springs State Park and the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge.
- The WVU Center for Black Culture and Research will be taking students to sites important to African American culture when they journey to Savanna, Ga., St. Augustine Fla. and the surrounding region. Participants will examine the history of the Spanish Moors and their significant impact on African American history and culture. They will have the opportunity to examine historical documents and talk to academic and political experts about the impact of black conquistadors and African pioneers on this fascinating region.
“I’ve been interested in going on this trip since I first heard about it,” CPASS student Morgan said. “Halmstad is one of the leaders in sport and exercise psychology in the world. I never want to pass up an opportunity to learn more about my field. I want to experience everything I can.”
Other students on the trip are: Mickey Bennett of Fairfax, Va.; Phillip Dillulio, Harrison N.Y.; Robert and Alessia Schlote, Frederick, Md.; Vincent Fitch, Laurel, Md.; Gabriel Litvin, Annandale, Va.; Andrew Glessner, Somerset, Pa.; Lucas Chapa, Washington, D.C.; Haley Williams, Saxonburg, Pa.; and Julian Carney-Domm, Smyrna, Del. Glessner is a physical education teacher education major; Chapa. is a pre-sport management major; Carney-Domm is a sport management major; and the rest are sport and exercise psychology majors.
The visit will cover a broad range of experiences from playing handball with Olympic hopefuls from the Swedish national team to touring the Scandinavian School of Golf and meeting its teachers and students. There will also be presentations and lectures covering the latest sport psychology information and research from Europe.
“There’s going to be a good deal of academic content that’s going to be covered but probably what’s as important or even more important is the cultural component the students will get,” said Watson, chair of CPASS’ department of sport sciences and a professor in the sport and exercise psychology program. “They’ll be learning about the Swedish culture and understanding that in the U.S., we take a very different perspective on many of these psychological issues than they take in Europe. A very important part of this is understanding the European perspective on the psychology of sport.”
The Halmstad visit represents much more than a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Watson has been in close contact with two of its faculty members, Natalia Stambulova and Urban Johnson, who have each visited and lectured at WVU. Through those relationships, the institutions signed a memorandum of understanding and will begin establishing formal ties such as research collaborations and faculty and student exchanges.
“We’re hoping we’ll be able to continue to bring students over there and that they’ll be bringing students over here and we set up a system where it alternates every year,” Watson said.
Morgan thinks the schools make a perfect match.
“Halmstad has a fantastic sport psychology program, one of the best in Europe. And we have one of best sports psychology programs in the nation. I want to see how they compare to us.”
The exchange expands on CPASS’ continuous efforts to globalize.
Last year, Soita Paschal of Kyambogo University in Uganda joined CPASS as a visiting professor and is a key figure in several relationships with sport administrators and researchers throughout Africa. WVU had previously established ties in South Africa and Ghana and several faculty members are working with other institutions in Sweden and Finland. CPASS also has a strong relationship with East China Normal University in Shanghai and hosted a visiting scholar from Brazil.
The Adventure WV trip “will resemble an old fashion cross country trip, as we drive the entire way to Utah and back,” said Director Coy Belknap. “Many of our staff members never truly get to experience the different cultural niches that are found on the road, so this is often a highlight.”
The Outdoor Recreation trips program is focused on allowing students the opportunity to explore new places, gain skills, meet new people and have fun. Trips are offered to give WVU students, faculty, staff and their families a chance to gain experience in a variety of outdoor activities while exploring beautiful environments.
CONTACT: Kimberly Cameon; CPASS
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