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Ice Hockey in Europe as an Exchange Student
By Allen Gunn
Upon being accepted to Manchester Metropolitan University in Manchester, England, in the spring of 2011, I never thought I’d be playing ice hockey whilst abroad—unless I was going to Finland, Germany, etc. I felt if anything, I might find way to barely hang with players out on the football (soccer) pitch. But last minute research prior to my departure led me to the Manchester Metros Ice Hockey Club. This extra effort during my preparations let me create my own niche and talk with people “on the inside” before I even left the United States. I think it also helped to jump-start a flawless transition into my new setting because I found a place where I could already feel comfortable.
Allen Gunn (right) presents a Manchester Metros hockey jersey to professor Petr Sáha, Rector of Tomas Bata University in Zlín, Czech Republic.
The Manchester Metros were founded under a motorway overpass as a roller hockey club in 2001, but started a collective ice hockey program for universities in and around Manchester in 2004. Still relatively young, the Metros have come a long way since forming. As social secretary for the club, it has been a unique experience to be a part of their ever-growing and successful history. It has been my duty to organize events that not only promote the club to the general public, but to organize nights out for club members and bring everyone together for fun outside of the rink.
Being a social secretary has enhanced my people skills because of the tremendous number of people I have had to collaborate with to ensure things run smoothly. One moment the entire club is proud of is the Division I team’s trip to the Czech Republic at the start of March 2012. I had the distinct opportunity with Michal Rudecky of Tomas Bata University (UTB) in Zlín, CZR, to organize an international exhibition match between the Metros and UTB. It is truly an experience I will never forget; playing in front of 2,000 people on a pad of ice in a distant country with my best friends.
Allen Gunn and the Manchester Metros celebrate after a hard-won victory.
Not only did the Manchester Metros have faith in my abilities as a hockey player, I was honored to have their faith in my ability to teach. They appointed me to coach the C team, which was formed this year as a predominantly beginner’s team. I learned a lot about coaching throughout the course of the season. I hope every player on the team learned something new, because I learned a tremendous amount from each and every one of them, including how to handle 20 individuals of different abilities. I felt like a true Herb Brooks, the legendary coach of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team, because of how close our team grew together by season’s end. That is something about the Metros I love: the family aspect of the organization and how close everyone is.
Lastly, but most importantly, being a part of the Metros has been a true honor because of the great friends and people I have met. The BUIHA Cup Competition gave me the chance to see new places all across the United Kingdom such as Edinburgh and Newcastle, and having my teammates and friends along with me for the journey made the experience even better. An added bonus: we were all doing something we were passionate about. All our hard work paid off when the Manchester Metros Division I team won the regular season championship on the last day!
The Metros pose on the ice with Tomas Bata University’s hockey team.
The Metros off the ice.
Having the opportunity to study abroad is one thing, but it is an opportunity that needs to be fully seized. There is no better way of doing that than to be a part of club, or something you’re passionate about. To me, being abroad has been a lot about self-discovery, and I’ve learned a lot about myself through the Metros.
Study Abroad Nominations and Orientation
On March 16, 2012, IPC announced the full list of UNCG students who were nominated to study abroad in Fall 2012 and full year 2012-13 exchange programs. After an application process, students were invited to interview with IPC staff and UNCG faculty, who assessed the students’ preparedness and aptitude for international living and study, and who shared information about what they could expect from the experience.
Denise Bellamy (left), Director of Study Abroad and Exchange Programs, confers with Brit’ny Towns (right) and a family member during the March 24 Study Abroad orientation. Towns will be spending the Fall 2012 term at Malmo University, Sweden.
On March 24, IPC followed up its nomination announcement with an all-day study abroad orientation for approximately 100 students taking part in UNCG and summer programs at UNCG bilateral partner schools abroad. The event, which IPC holds twice every year for outgoing exchange students, comprised a variety of activities that included information on logistical aspects of going abroad (visas, money, health issues) as well as activities about cultural adjustment and culture shock. One of the more exciting parts of the day involved "skyping in" a UNCG student, Destiny Boyd, who is currently studying abroad in Nicaragua. Destiny was able to share aspects of her time abroad, provide advice for UNCG students preparing to go abroad and even gave a tour of her house!
Activities centering on intercultural skills and cultural competency were designed to get students to consider how they think and behave towards people from different cultures, as well as having them consider how their experience abroad contributes to becoming a “global citizen.” Several international students were then invited to talk about their experience of being abroad, and to elaborate on academic and cultural differences between the US and their home country. The day concluded with students breaking into country specific groups where either former study abroad students or UNCG faculty and staff provided specific information for their country and schools abroad.
Annika Lepisto chats with Tom Martinek, Jr., Assistant Director of Study Abroad and Exchange Programs, during the March 24 orientation event. Lepisto, who attended the University of Turku, Finland during the Fall 2011 term, was one of several former Study Abroad students who volunteered at the event.
On March 31, the University of North Carolina Exchange Program (UNCEP) held their study abroad orientation for students from across North Carolina that were taking part on UNCG and ISEP exchange program and summer programs. The event was held in the Student Union on the Campus of North Carolina A&T State University. Over 130 students were in attendance and approximately 25 were from UNCG. Several IPC staff members were there to support the students and help to facilitate various workshops and activities. The activities and programs were very similar to those held on the March 24 orientation at UNCG.
Below is a list of all students who were selected for study abroad during the 2012-13 academic year. Congratulations and good luck to all of them!
ISEP Palermo: Keesha Daniels (International Business)
Deakin University: Chandler Barker (Pre-International Business), Annie Simonekeo (Accounting), Cameshia Young (International Business)
James Cook University: Corey Fechter (Kinesiology)
Macquarie University: John Lee (Accounting)
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology: Morgan South (Concumer, Apparel, and Retail Studies), Weston Willard (Interior Architecture), Jessica Wilson (Interior Architecture)
University of Newcastle: Stephen Jaros (Undecided)
University of Sydney: Lucas Varsano (Performance)
ISEP Vesalius: Liv Jones (French)
Pontificia Universidade Catolica de Campinas, Parana: Karl Galloway (Spanish)
Beijing Normal University: Kelly Donovan (Spanish), Angelica Perez-Chareq (Pre-Specialized Education)
Chinese University of Hong Kong: Luis Juarez (International Business), Marivic Lee (Business Administration), Mohamed Mergani (International Business), Lamar Osavio (Consumer Apparel, and Retail Studies)
Aarhus University: Robert Duvall (Entrepreneurship)
GWIK – via University College: Crystal Creek (Social Work), Kelsey Daniel (Social Work), Jennifer House (Social Work)
University of Copenhagen: Gina Kabat (Psychology), Molly Schloss (Psychology)
University of Jyvaskyla: Huili Simpson (Art)
University of Oulu: Jennifer Keller (English), Caroline Xavier (Biology)
Jean Moulin – Lyon 3 University: Julie Boyer (French), Rani Chatrath (Pre-International Business), Stanci Hankerson (Political Science), Tete Obobi (Special Programs in Liberal Studies), Anna Reynolds (International Business), Stefanee Richardson (Accounting)
Université Catholique de Lyon (ESDES): Nasser Alkhunaizi (Accounting), James Muldoon (Pre-Entrepreneurship)
University of Angers: Alexandra Smith (Pre-Nursing)
University of Rennes 2: John Everhart (Religious Studies), Aza Green (Economics), James Hayes (French)
Heidelberg University: Daniel Foil (Chemistry), Kimberly Goins (Exercise and Sports Science), Allyson Martin (Psychology), Zachary Painter (English), Ellyse Thomas (Biology)
Mannheim: Harrison Brown (Chemistry), Kaley Davis (International Business), Jackson De Oliveira (Entrepreneurship), Charlene Grunenwald (Entrepreneurship), Cameron Hetteen (Media Studies), Dagmar Irrig (Economics), Christopher Peterson (Political Science), Elvis Racines (Special Programs in Liberal Studies), Austin Smith (Political Science), Casey Wallace-Melton (Communication Studies), John Willis (Political Science)
University of Konstanz: Stephen Comer (History), Amber Rhodes (Conflict and Peace Studies), Penelope Summers (Conflict and Peace Studies)
LIUC – Università Carlo Cattaneo: Pablo Diaz (Nanoscience), Chaya Michel (Information Systems and Operations Management), Jordan Pichardo (Pre-International Business), Kevin Pichardo (International Business), Kaneesha sledge (Economics), Raul Zamora-Duprey (Psychology)
ISEP Tokyo: Thomas Reaves (International Business)
Ritsumeikan University: Daniel Lipe (Special Programs in Liberal Studies)
Seinan Gakuin University: Megan McBride (Special Programs in Liberal Studies), Anthony McPherson (Special Programs in Liberal Studies), Brian Pennington (Special Programs in Liberal Studies)
Tecnologico de Monterrey – Queretaro (ITESM): Greg Phillips (Accounting)
Massey University: Esha Grover (Music)
Unitec Institute of Technology: Natalie Wilcox (Pre-International Business)
Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola – USIL: Teresa Fisher (International Business), Clara Harrison (Undecided), Meredith Lewis (International Business), Stephanie Olshanski (Spanish), Tyler Richardson (History)
Kazan Federal University: Justin Larson (Economics)
University of Cape Town: Lena Walshe (Sociology)
University of Stellenbosch: Melissa Funderburk (Human Development and Family Studies), Chelsea Hughes (Pre-Human Development and Family Studies), Zhayawna Johnson (Psychology), Connor Lucovsky (Business Administration), Ashlee Williams (Communication Studies)
Yonsei University: Houston Breedlove (Religious Studies), Nathan Howell (Biology), Tae Won Jo (International Business), Michole Miller (Pre-International Business), Song Ai Nguyen (Entrepreneurship)
University of Castilla La Mancha – Cuenca: Emily Flores Hermosa (Special Programs in Liberal Studies)
University of Castilla La Mancha – Toledo: Erin Genera (Psychology)
Universidad de Granada: Geoffrey Harris (Special Programs in Liberal Studies)
Lund University: Jason Harbert (Biology)
Malmö University: Brit’ny Towns (Middle Grades Education)
National Taiwan University: Myles Scott (Pre-international Business)
Yuan Ze University: Joshua Davis (International Business)
Keele University: Briana Kitchel (Human Development and Family Studies)
Manchester Metropolitan University: Clyde Lovelady (English), Victoria McKinney (Special Programs in Liberal Studies), Alisha Parkhurst (Pre-Social Work), Cesar Ruales-Ortiz (Drama), Tony Sanders (Psychology), Jaspreet Singh (Political Science)
Plymouth University: Kirubel Aysheshim (Finance), Ktoan Ktoan (Business Administration), Amanda Lineberry (Art), Christina Murrell (English), Kayla Pittman (Pre-Social Work)
University of Hull: Emily Cowan (Art), Stephanie Miller (Psychology), Jessica Speake (Drama)
University of Leicester: Danielle Salvatore (Psychology)
University of Strathclyde: Elizabeth Buchanan (Hospitality and Tourism Management), Amanda Onwuka (Marketing), Mark Ramsey (Pre-International Business), Jessica Straehle (Business Administration)
University of Trinity, St. David: Christena Brooks (History), Susanna Sechler (Hospitality and Tourism Management), Brittany Smith (Hospitality and Tourism Management
University of Ulster: Betsy Burke (English), Denver Morrison (Business Administration), Chelsea Zipperer (Art)
Universidad de Montevideo: Justin Crawford (Drama), Even Frierson (Spanish), Benjamin Martin (Pre-International Business)