CSULB’s Graduate Program in Sport Management sent a group of students off to Japan this summer for an intensive Study Abroad program, providing an incredible educational opportunity that underscored the global reach of the athletics industry. 

From July 20th to August 1st, the 11 students—including ten from Sport Management along with an undergraduate in Asian Studies—were immersed at Sendai University, which has programs dedicated to physical education as well as sports and health science.

Located in the countryside northeast of Tokyo, Sendai University has enjoyed a longstanding exchange partnership with CSULB’s Center for International Education (CIE) over the past several years. Several groups of Sendai students have visited Long Beach, and this summer’s trip represented the fourth group of CSULB students to study at Sendai. In fact, the Sport Management students were reunited with Japanese counterparts they met during an exchange visit in Long Beach earlier this year.

Sendai’s program director Marty Kuehnert was joined in Japan by Hitoshi Furuya, a Program Developer in the College of Continuing and Professional Education (CCPE), who acted as a Japanese-speaking liaison between the CSULB travelers and their Sendai University hosts. Originally from Tokyo, Hitoshi has been a part of previous Study Abroad trips to Japan, and normally oversees a variety of programs from his CCPE office on CSULB’s campus.

The students enjoyed a busy schedule including historical site visits, lectures, and classes on everything from sports administration to traditional calligraphy and Japanese language. Even though they started from scratch, the American students were even able to give a short speech in Japanese by the end of the two weeks. Outside the classroom, they enjoyed local cuisine, took in a couple of sporting eventsincluding a Vegalta Sendai soccer match and a Rakuten Eagles baseball gameand spent three days exploring Tokyo.

'Sendai was amazing and a culturally enriching trip,” said Sport Management student Ashley Hampton. “It has helped me see the world in a new light. Japan introduced me to a completely different culture of sports and competition. Definitely an experience of a lifetime!'

The Graduate Program in Sport Management is an accelerated program which allows students to earn a Master's Degree while preparing for careers in athletic administration and management. This includes sports industry settings including professional, fitness, college and scholastic organizations; private businesses; community services; and academic institutions. While the program normally concentrates on traditional American sports like baseball and soccer, students on this trip were treated to additional exposure to traditional Japanese martial arts such as sumo wrestling and kendo swordsmanship.

Keep a look out for the next group of Japanese students, from Josai International University, who will be visiting CSULB in February 2017.

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