As a Dalhousie student in the 1970s, Pat Nearing had a life-changing experience. The head coach of the men’s soccer team travelled to England on exchange. He studied at the University of Leeds and even made the school’s top-tier basketball team.
Nearing says it was an opportunity he hasn’t forgotten and he still remains in contact with the people he met on his year abroad.
“Ever since I started coaching (at Dal), I wanted to put together a similar experience,” he says.
So for the last couple years, Nearing has been working with the International Centre, trying to add an athletic component to Dal’s existing exchanges. Nearing wants students to have even more value added to their international experience.
When the soccer season is over, Sangmuk Choi, a third-year kinesiology student and member of the varsity soccer team, will be headed to England as Dal’s first ambassador. Choi chose the University of Hull and Nearing put him in contact with the school’s soccer coach and the athletic director.
Choi will have the opportunity to study sports science and continue to play soccer.
He will be welcomed into the team and have the opportunity to practice, train and play games. He’ll also be training with a local senior level team that practices at the university.
It’s an opportunity Choi says he looks forward to with excitement.
The pilot project is in its first year and already underway at Dal. University of Birmingham student, Amesh Ahir, is the first to try the exchange on this side of the Atlantic. Ahir attends practices and trains just like any other member of the team.