MSc Sports Performance – Internationalisation. Dr Mark Lyons

The University of Limerick has links with over 400 universities in 38 countries and welcomes over 2,000 international students each year. This number is increasing year-on-year. Linked to this may be the University’s reputation for excellence in international student support. UL’s International Education Division offers a range of services to ensure that the transition from the student’s home country and education system to UL is as smooth as possible.  These supports include free airport collection, a buddy programme, an international student orientation programme, English language supports, academic skills programme, cultural field trips and a student volunteering programme. In 2015, UL was placed in the top 200 most international universities in the world in the Times Higher Education rankings. In 2016, the International Student Barometer Survey of 5500 International students studying across the seven Irish universities found UL to be the number one university in Ireland in terms of providing the best student experience and best student support.

With respect to the MSc Sports Performance, I have also observed a noticeable increase in recent years in the number of international students applying to study the programme. These include students from the US, UK, Poland, France, Australia, Malaysia, India and China to name some. This noticeable increase raises a number of interesting questions around why international students chose UL and with the proliferation in masters programmes worldwide, why the MSc Sports Performance programme specifically? Whilst I have my own (likely biased!) views, the most important opinion is that of the international students themselves. Here is a brief overview and summary of the views of three international students who have successfully applied for a place on the programme in the current year:

Name: Mr Narasimhan Asuri Krishnan          _Pic 1 NA Krishnan_ML blog

Nationality: Indian

Background: I completed my undergraduate degree at Christ University in India graduating in 2015 with first class honours. I have over 8 years’ experience playing basketball including representations at intervarsity tournaments and U-18 state championships in India. I have worked as a video analyst for the Indian Women’s Basketball Team as well as the National U-16 team at different competitions including the FIBA Asia Cup.

How did you hear about the MSc Sports Performance? As well as searching online, I spoke with one of the 2016-17 students (Shilpa Sundar) about what I could expect to take away from the course. I felt the MSc Sports Performance offered me the best overall package.  

Why did you apply for this programme specifically? I was looking for a course that would allow me to develop a number of professional competencies I need to forge a career working with elite athletes. I felt that the knowledge and skills I could develop by studying this programme superseded that of other courses I looked at.

What are your career aspirations upon completing the course? I want to go back to India and work on the development of elite athletes whether it is developing young players or improving the performance of the existing players. I have gained a lot of experience to date working with Basketball teams and that is a sport I want to continue to work most closely with. The dream is to see India participate in the Olympics in Basketball. Currently, we have no representations in Basketball at the Olympics and so I would like to work on changing that.

Name: Mr Chaoyue Ma                 _Pic 2 CMa_ML Blog

Nationality: Chinese

Background: I completed my undergraduate degree in Engineering at Harbin University of Science and Technology and then completed a master’s degree in Olympic and Sport Sociology at Beijing Sport University.  My previous experiences are working as a fitness coach and I am the co-founder of JOIN Fitness. This is a start-up company awarded 1st prize in a start-up competition by Beijing Sport University co-founded with graduate schoolmates. As well as a range of volunteer experiences in sports such as figure skating, golf and cycling, I have competed in sports such as Basketball, Badminton and Judo.

How did you hear about the MSc Sports Performance? I heard about the course through the ongoing collaborative projects between the University of Limerick (PESS) and Beijing Sport University. I applied for the course through the Government of Ireland Scholarship programme and was fortunate to be offered one of the scholarship places.  

Why did you apply for this programme specifically? Again, I had heard about the programme through the ongoing collaborations between the University of Limerick and Beijing Sport University.

I applied for this programme as I would like to learn more about Sport Sciences and the applied nature of this course interested me. I think I can really improve my practical knowledge through this course.  

What are your career aspirations upon completing the course? I hope that the course will give me a deeper understanding of physiology, strength and conditioning and nutrition specifically. I also hope to develop my practical, applied knowledge. I want to learn about how to conduct good research and long term; I would like to work as a strength and conditioning coach.

Name: Mr Vivek Plakkote                  _Pic 3 VPlakkote_ML Blog

Nationality: Indian

Background: I completed my undergraduate degree at Mahatma Gandhi University graduating in 2014. I have spent a total of 13 years playing professional cricket in India. My main applied work has been in the area of strength and conditioning where I worked for 3 years with professional football teams and 3 years with elite cricketers in India designing and delivering year round strength and conditioning programmes.

How did you hear about the MSc Sports Performance? Online research.

Why did you apply for this programme specifically? I was looking for a master’s programme in the field of high performance. There are no such courses available in India and I currently feel I lack the in-depth knowledge to work in this field. I am hoping to develop this knowledge through my study on this course.  

What are your career aspirations upon completing the course? My passion and most recent work experiences both relate to football. I want to make a contribution to that sport by working as a high performance coach with elite football associations in Europe and Asia.

So there you have it! Development of in-depth knowledge across the disciplines, enhancing professional competencies and development of practical applied skills seem to be the main reasons for students applying for the MSc Sports Performance.

Greater internationalisation (in all forms) is a necessary step in UL’s evolution. In the context of my own teaching on the MSc Sports Performance programme, the increased number of international students has enriched the academic programme, the classroom dynamic and learning experience for everyone concerned. I look forward to engaging with this evolution in future years.

Dr Mark Lyons is a lecturer in Strength and Conditioning and course director for the MSc  in Sports Performance program.  His research interests include  w_rms_blob_common_ML Picfatigue effects on sports performance, match demands in Gaelic Games and physical activity and obesity in youth.  You can contact Mark via email; view his research profile on Research Gate  or view Linked In 



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