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Exchange students wrap up a summer in Germany

Nine students from Memorial wrapped up an intense summer session University of Kassel in Germany. From July 29 to Aug. 9, 24 students from around the world attended the first International Summer School of Sports Science (IS4); nine of them from the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation (HKR).

“The most interesting part of the whole experience for me was getting outside of my comfort zone and meeting strangers, classmates and local people,” said Mr. Pearcey. “I was intrigued by what other people had to say about their schooling, lifestyles and extracurricular activities. This program sets you up to do this, which is great.”

Joining students from Serbia, Holland, Iraq, Mexico and other parts of Canada, the HKR group (Megan Cummings, Sean Budden, Jason Blair, Mr. Pearcey, David Copithorne, Kyle Spracklin, Jeremy Butt, David Bradbury Squires and Josh Howard) took courses and took in some cultural events as well as sightseeing.

“It has really opened my eyes to the way other people live,” added Mr. Pearcey. “Previously, I naively thought that everywhere in the world, people were much different. However, this experience has made me realize that people are very similar and that some customs, the way we interact with each other and languages are really the only things that set us apart.”

Dr. David Behm, associate director of graduate studies and research in HKR, was one of the faculty. "Although many universities offer condensed duration native language courses for international students, this was the first ever condensed international sport science course. The opportunity to be taught by internationally recognized professors, with interactions among students from around the globe and cultural experiences was an eye opening experience for most of the students."

Mr. Pearcey, who visited Munich, Berlin, Copenhagen and Iceland while there, said the program exceeded his expectations but it was very intense. His advice to future exchange students? “I would tell them to get lots of rest prior and do as much as you can during the time available. Two weeks flies by extremely fast and before you know it, the experience is over… But if the course was not offered, I would likely have never traveled to these places.”

Memorial has been partnering with the German university since 2007 for exchanges of teaching, literature, publications, and research but this was the first year for the International Summer School of Sport Science. Next year's IS4 is tentatively planned for Beijing and in 2015 it will be held at Memorial.

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