Hi, my name is Christian and in April this year, I will graduate from Flinders with a Bachelor of Sport, Health and Physical Activity. Over the past 3 years, I’ve had a number of incredible opportunities through my study, but the one that stands out is travelling to India last December to deliver workshops in schools and sports clubs. My peers and I were fortunate enough to be awarded New Colombo Plan scholarships from Flinders, which assisted us with our travel and accommodation. The main purpose of the trip was to assist schools in developing and improving their physical education programs. I think we often take for granted how fortunate we are here in Australia, and we don’t always realise how critical physical education is for the development of life long skills and behaviours.
Working in schools throughout Kolkata was a remarkable experience. The students were engaged and excited by the most basic of games, such as tunnel ball. Many of the activities were a new experience for them and their excitement certainly rubbed off on us. The students’ desire, especially in rural schools, to learn and play new games was incredible and far greater than I have experienced in Australia.
One of the highlights for me was the opportunity to help promote Australian Rules Football. We assisted the team from AFL India to deliver sessions in some rural communities. Before this trip I had not considered that Aussie Rules Footy would have a following in India, but I soon found out that the passion for the game over there is incredible, with more than 10,000 people playing the game. Most of these players had never actually seen a proper game being played, yet the endeavour and skill level was outstanding and truly special to see. Sport is a global language and having the chance to share our game with many Indian people, even kids in the street, was a deep way to connect despite the language barriers.
India as a country was eye opening for me. It was challenging and completely unlike any part of the world I’ve ever travelled to. The disparity between the wealthy and the poor, the traffic on the roads, the lack of infrastructure, the widely overpopulated streets, and the strong smells and sounds all make India a unique place to visit.
The experiences I gained from this trip both personally and professionally will benefit me throughout different areas of my life. I was very lucky to have this opportunity through my course at Flinders. It’s difficult to express how much I have gained from this trip and I know students involved this year will benefit just as much. This is only one opportunity for students studying my course; there are many more exciting options for students to be involved in travel and other practical experiences.
Good luck with your study, and with your future career path!