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How is Sport Globalization Impacting Experiential Learning and Global Education?

Just seven days ago – Peter O’Reilly, the NFL’s Head of International Affairs, shared that “Australia is among a set, and it’s not a small set of markets, that we’re looking at” to host a regular season NFL game. This news came just before the WNBA officially announced the Toronto expansion team and about a month after the NBA revealed that the Spurs would play the Pacers in the NBA’s 2025 Paris Games.

 

Sport globalization has created new opportunities for international sports travel, as noted above.

 

Sport globalization is also increasing access to experiential learning and global education.

 

In less than 24 hours, I will begin my trek to Africa as part of the “NBA Africa: Sport Globalization” study abroad program at the University of Maryland, College Park. I will be traveling to Rwanda and Senegal with the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism to cover the Basketball Africa League (BAL) and the NBA Academy Africa. I am thrilled for what will undoubtedly be a life-changing experience. But I had to keep it real with myself.

 

Rwanda nor Senegal was on my travel bucket list.

 

My interest in sport introduced me to both countries through NBA Africa.

 

Access to education abroad experiences is still a trending issue in U.S. higher education.

While organizations and institutions have focused on culturally relevant messaging and identity-based recruitment, I believe international education should expand recruiting efforts to include student interests in sport.

 

For years, sport has been a lens through which we viewed an experience.

 

I believe the time is now for sport to be the focus and foundation for which we bulid international experiences.

 

There is grave opportunity to create experiential learning and global education experiences specifically focused on sport. I've included some examples below.


  • 10-day study abroad trip to NFL’s Academy Gold Coast in Australia

  • Global marketing internship with the FIFA 2027 Women’s World Cup team in Brazil

  • Academic research internship with faculty at Universidad San Francisco de Quito

  • Virtual exchange experience with African sport entrepreneurs through TIBU Africa


These are just ideas coming to me while halfway through my iced americano.

 

The limit does not exist for what sport can do to build new experiences and attract new participants for education abroad.  

 

Our NBA Africa: Sport Globalization study abroad trip will be the first time a university journalism program covers NBA Africa.

 

I am blessed to be part of the first group and am committed to helping others replicate similar sport-focused global experiences for students, faculty, and staff in the future.

 

More to come for sure. But I gotta go pack.

 

It’s happening. We’re walking!

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