International Sport Management and corona, a student’s experience

More free time: just a few of weeks ago it was every student’s dream. Now the highlight of my day is making my way to the grocery store, with the rest of it dictated by self-isolation and social distancing. Enjoy the weather? Meet up with friends? Not while everyone is stuck in their rooms and everything revolves around soap, toiler paper and #StayHome.

Corona forces us to be game changers

Upside down

A lot has changed since COVID-19 entered our lives. The virus is a challenge, which turned our world upside down. As International Sport Management student I know the Zuiderpark Sports Campus like the back of my hand. Now I keep asking myself: will I be able to walk around it again during this course? Does it make sense for me to stay in The Hague or should I go home?

A first-year international student told me recently that this is not what she imagined studying abroad would be like. In the meantime many international students have already left the Netherlands. They would rather be spending this time with their families or they were afraid that the borders would eventually close.

But it’s not only our lifestyle that has been affected: our degree programmes have also undergone changes. Instead of walking to the Zuiderpark Sports Campus every day, we sit in front of our laptops and attend online classes. You’d think that is hardly anything new for our generation, given how accustomed we are to all sorts of social media platforms. And yet having online classes is not that straightforward. For one thing, Blackboard Collaborate Ultra looks nothing like FaceTime. Besides, not everyone has a computer equipped with a webcam or a microphone. So we too need to be flexible and creative.

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Procrastination

And yet our biggest enemy in the time of corona is not technology, but procrastination. When it comes to working efficiently, our housemates or house pets – particularly cats – may be an obstacle. I’m also certainly not the only one who is tempted to sleep in or watch lots of Netflix. My sleep schedule barely exists, and putting a task off until tomorrow always seems like a viable option.

That’s why we need to become game changers in our own heads. COVID-19 is not an excuse to stop delivering but a chance to work on yourself. So that – despite plenty of time on your hands – you can stick to the regular structure of your degree programme. It’s something I have to continue to work on every day.

Online classes

The International Sport Management PR team reached out to first- and second-year students with a survey in order to learn how they are getting on with online classes. The majority of students sees it largely as a good alternative in the time of coronavirus. Blackboard Collaborate Ultra turned out not to be as difficult to navigate as we first thought. The sound and video quality is very high, making it easy to communicate with each other. However, opinions are more divided on how useful online classes are. That being said, there is overall more positive than negative feedback, although most of us feel there is room for improvement. Many lessons consist of little more than a presentation and lack the lecturer’s personal input. Discussions, which would usually take place in class, are also not there.

ECTS points

It’s not only the lessons that come with problems. For first-year students the third quarter is all about teamwork. How do you go about that if you have to reduce your contact with others to bare minimum? Online teamwork it is. No easy task when some students returned to their homes in different timezones or are facing personal or family-related issues. Then there are the second-years. In the fourth quarter they would normally start their international internships. Many of these have been cancelled, either because of closed borders or because organisations are reluctant to offer placements when they don’t know what will happen to the economy. How will the fourth quarter look like? Will we get our credits at the end?

The students all agree that the university of applied sciences and our lecturers are handling the situation well. They provide us with newest information and are quick to answer our questions. We are lucky we don’t have to face it alone.

Lina Hallensleben
International Sport Management student