Brock students discover the power of sport through global experiences

After his first couple of years in Brock University’s Sport Management program, Owen Duke knew he wanted to make his educational experience unique and memorable.

He also wanted to see what the world had to offer, and the International Mobility program was his ticket.

While coming to Brock was an easy choice for Duke, whose mother and sister both attested to their own experiences as graduates of the University, it was a conversation with Monika MacAlpine (BA ‘17) about her term abroad that would ultimately lead him to the city of Nijmegen, Netherlands and change his educational expeience.

Following the completion of his term abroad in the Netherlands, Sport Management graduate Owen Duke spent a few months traveling solo through various European countries. Duke is seen here in Venice, Italy, where he spent four days in March 2019 visiting the main and surrounding islands.

“What really lit the spark for me was when Monika said, ‘If you can do it, do it,’” says Duke. “That made me think, ‘Maybe I can actually do this.’ I never had the opportunity to travel by myself before. It’s a completely different experience going to a new continent on your own without anyone from home and figuring it out by yourself.”

Despite initial fears, Duke quickly realized he was living the life he had always dreamed of, one spent experiencing the people, places and cultures of the world, all while continuing his Brock education.

“It really broadened my horizons and motivated me to see more of the world,” says Duke.

Following his academic term in the Netherlands, Duke spent several months backpacking throughout central Europe before returning home. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, he also travelled to Colombia to brush up on his Spanish.

Reflecting on his years spent at Brock and the transformative experiences he had, Duke offers some advice to current and incoming students.

“Follow what your heart is telling you,” he says. “Try to step out of your comfort zone and you’ll be satisfied with the results. I am glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and took the chance because it benefitted my life immensely.”

Laura Lozinski is another Sport Management graduate whose participation in International Mobility helped shape her Brock experience.

Lozinski admits to being shy during her first year, which she says cost her “the opportunity to take part in some great things that were offered at the beginning of my undergraduate experience.”

That started to change when she learned about the international program from one of her roommates in residence, who was on exchange from England.

“When I heard about exchange, I was really interested because I always wanted to travel,” says Lozinski. “I always thought I would have to wait to travel until after university, but it sounded pretty awesome to work towards my degree and travel at the same time.”

Her roommate’s experience inspired her, and by the start of her second year, Lozinski was going to all of the International Mobility information sessions, eagerly anticipating taking the plunge herself. It ultimately led her to study in a small English town called Worcester, where she was able to deepen and enrich her Sport Management education.

“I was offered a different perspective on sport, particularly when I saw how big a phenomenon soccer — or football as they call it in England — truly is over there and how that impacts and changes the way sports are marketed throughout the world,” says Lozinski.

Her interest in sport marketing and women in the professional sport environment is now her primary area of interest. It will be the focus of her graduate studies when she returns to Brock in September as a master’s student in Applied Health Sciences under the supervision of Sport Management Associate Professor Dawn Trussell.

“From my own experience, the best advice I can offer is to get out of your comfort zone, say yes and join things,” says Lozinski. “It really took me going on exchange to push me out of my comfort zone.”

Duke and Lozinski were employed as Mobility Peer Advisors for Brock International Services during the Fall 2019 academic term. Among their responsibilities was promoting mobility to their peers. They received their bachelor of Sport Management degrees during Brock’s virtual convocation Friday, June 19.

This story was written by Noah Nickel, Communications and Marketing Assistant with Brock’s Centre for Sport Capacity this summer, who is also a third-year Political Science student.

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