Mastering New Sports & the Master’s in Sport Management and Health Promotion

It feels exciting to be publishing an article in the blog that I was looking at two and a half years ago when I discovered the SpoSMaPro program for the first time. A final-year Bachelor’s student at the time, I was browsing the internet thinking over my future…’’shall I go for looking for a permanent job, continuing studies at a Master’s level or travelling the world with a lot of dreams, little money and a backpack?’’. These were some of the ideas wondering around my head, and I assume if you are currently a potential applicant reading this post from Finland or another more distant part of the world, you probably have similar thoughts at the moment.

Well, you can of course try and do all of them….why not. Personally for me, however, studying the Sport Management and Health Promotion program, was always in my mind since finding it on the internet and despite the short time spent here, I can frankly say that if you are keen to develop your knowledge in sports studies from the perspective of social sciences, physical activity and health, in a well organised study environment, surrounded by peers from around the world, then the course will certainly appeal to you. Now, if you enjoy being close to nature, immersing yourself in the Finnish customs and every-day life, and trying out new sports every week, then you will love your experience here.

Keen cyclists can enjoy endless routes and trails in Jyväskylä and the region
Keen cyclists can enjoy endless routes and trails in Jyväskylä and the region

I am probably expected to share some thoughts about the academic life as this is the most crucial reason why we are all here; and quite rightly, the study part is what the rest revolves around; however, in this article, I will concentrate on the sporting experiences so far and will leave the academic bit as a topic for my second publication in the second semester by which time a lot more reading, course work and exams will have been done.

The strong reputation the University of Jyväskylä has in the field of Sport and Health Sciences was evident from the very beginning when I went for the first Welcome Week lectures. The amount and variety of sports facilities on campus, as mentioned by my course-mate Riikka in her post, is impressive, and more importantly (for a new-comer) there are numerous opportunities to enjoy those via organised sport activities. The ‘Sport Courses with Credits’ program is just one of them where all students can enjoy different sports every week. The schedule (consisting of more than 30 sports throughout the 1st semester alone) offers a wide range of outdoor & indoor sessions including: ball games, fitness & yoga exercises, martial arts, and water sports. So far, I have tried SIX new sports activities such as: Orienteering, Floorball, Freesbeegolf, Gaelic Football, Nordic Walking and Water Polo (big time). On top of that, we had a multi-sport outdoor event in a picturesque area called Ladun Maja where we did cycling, Aerobics with a firewood (you don’t necessarily need expensive fitness equipment to enjoy sports)…

The Aerobics class with a firewood - a fun way to stay active
The Aerobics class with a firewood – a fun way to stay active

…followed by something very traditional – Finnish sauna combined with a cold swim in the lake: the photo says it all.

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Quite simply – a must-do experience

As mentioned above, I have only spent just under 2 months in Jyväskylä but the number of activities we, the new students, have had the opportunity to take part in, has made it feel like a truly content-rich, nicely intensive time…and it’s far from over yet; there is a Volleyball tournament, Historical Dances class and Goal Ball coming up next. Also, you would be glad to know that all those exciting sessions are free to attend. Moving on, I haven’t even mentioned the other organisations, through which you can further explore the nature in Finland, enjoy more outdoor activities and of course meet new like-minded people. The ESN (Erasmus Student Network) are running city tours, international events, trips and visits to natural places in the Jyväskylä region. Below is a photo of another very Finnish thing – a summer cottage by the lake where we had another sauna experience with a bit of swimming in the meantime.

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Summer cottage, sauna, a lake and a camp fire – truly enjoyable combination

With SPORTICUS a student-run sports group for the sports students at the University, you get yet another chance to be active in the outdoors. Last week, we had a bike trip to Jääskelä to enjoy some trekking and a campfire with sausages; and if you wonder what the activity on the photo below is….it’s Acroyoga!

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After all these experiences that I shared above, I think that there isn’t any doubt that studying here does not just mean studying….there is so much more to it, and I am grateful for the chance to be part of the University of Jyväskylä, and the SpoSMaPro program, in particular. Now it’s time to actually sit down and do some academic work as time is flying. With a pile of reading materials for the Thesis waiting to be absorbed and a couple of exam dates approaching I’d better roll up my sleeves. As previously mentioned, I will expand on the academic experiences in the second article which will be published next semester. Stay tuned….

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