The College of Charleston is combining the tools of economics with the world of soccer in an alternative spring break experience. Fourteen students have spent the past six weeks reading and discussing Soccernomics (written by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski). On Sunday, March 4, 2012, they will leave for a seven-day trip to the United Kingdom, where they will visit five professional soccer stadiums, watch two matches, and have business-related discussions with team leaders and university officials. Watch a video.
The UK Soccer Experience 2012 is an experiential learning opportunity that combines book-based discussions with real-world learning in a global setting. The opportunity was so popular, that registration was capped within hours of opening. Nearly all the students have played, coached or officiated soccer and wanted to travel abroad.
Students met from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. once a week for seven weeks to gain an understanding of economics and soccer, using Soccernomics as a textbook. In addition to discussions, they also listened to guest speakers and watched films. They will now travel to three major UK cities where students will see, first hand, many of the ideas and concepts in the book.
“Even though students are not earning academic credit for this experience, they are totally engaged,” says Bruce Fleming, one of the leaders of the UK Soccer Experience, and the director of living/learning communities at the College. “The discussions we’ve had have rivaled my previous for-credit teaching experiences. The students are constantly interested to talk about what they’ve read.
Soccernomics uses insights and analogies from economics, statistics, psychology, and business to cast a new and entertaining light on how the game works. It reveals the often surprisingly counterintuitive truths about soccer and is a new way of looking at the world’s most popular game.
Their first stop in the UK is London where they will visit Fulham Football Club and tour Craven Cottage Stadium. In Nottingham they will talk with the community director of the Nottingham Forest before watching a game against the Doncaster Rovers. This will give students an understanding of how to get internships with European teams and how the clubs run. A tour of the University of Nottingham will help students to think about spending semester studying abroad and they’ll also learn how to play cricket at one of the oldest grounds in the UK – Trent Bridget Cricket Grounds. In Manchester, students will tour Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium in addition to talking with the team’s marketing staff. Former players will give the students a tour of Reebok Stadium before watching a game between the Bolton Wanderers and the Queens Park Rangers.
“We hope that this experience goes beyond business and soccer for the students,” says Jimmie Foster, Jr. one of the leaders of the UK Soccer Experience, and director of freshman admissions for the College. “We hope this week gives students a taste for studying abroad and encourages them to explore another country in a semester-long experience. All of the students are freshmen or sophomores and only three of the 14 have been outside the United States, it is a great opportunity to get students considering global travel early in their time at College.”
Foster and Fleming are already looking to the future with plans for more alternative spring break experiences in the future as well as the possibility of offering one academic credit for students who participate.
The UK Soccer Experience 2012 is sponsored by New Student Programs, the First Year Experience, the Office of Admissions, and the Office of the Academic Experience.
For more information, contact Bruce Fleming at 843.953.2017 or firstname.lastname@example.org.