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This is a guest blog by BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science student Tom, who talks about his experience of the Turing Scheme.

I chose to study at BU for its high reputation in sports-related fields while also having the chance to gain industry experience. Having the opportunity to study in a beautiful coastal town like Bournemouth was a bonus.

Initially, I hadn’t considered working overseas, however as I progressed through my degree, I started to understand specific areas I wanted to gain experience within sport science.

Having previously lived in France I already knew of a possible opportunity within the athletic development field that would allow me to gain specific knowledge and skills related to my career goals. Working in the French Alps seemed like the perfect opportunity to combine my passion for sports science with my love of the mountains.

Preparing for my mobility:

Applying for this internship overseas was a straightforward process due to having contacts within the organisation already. The Turing Scheme funding application process was easily accessible and I received immense support from my university’s international team whenever a difficulty came up. Receiving the Turing Scheme funding made a significant impact on my mobility experience. It eased financial worry which allowed me to fully focus on my work and personal growth during my time in the French Alps.

BU student Tom is riding his bike in the French Alps on a sunny day

Cycling through the French Alps

Settling in:

Moving to the French Alps filled me with a mix of excitement and nervousness. Being away from home was initially challenging due to the new weather climate and an increased cost of living. However, the natural beauty and warm hospitality of the team I was working with quickly made me feel at ease.

My living arrangements were quite different from what I was accustomed to in the UK.

I rented a small studio apartment located 10 minutes from my work overlooking the surrounding mountains which provided me with the perfect base throughout my stay. The cultural and environmental differences between the UK and the French Alps were eye-opening which created an incredible experience to explore everything it had to offer. For instance, I participated in social activities with colleagues such as road cycling, Via ferrata, and hiking. These local activities allowed me to immerse myself in the local surroundings and make meaningful connections with my colleagues. The challenge of language barriers and adjusting to the local culture pushed me to step out of my comfort zone and gave me opportunities to test my French speaking.

Working life:

My athletic development internship perfectly complemented my studies at BU, providing hands-on experience with elite athletes while being able to apply the knowledge gained throughout my degree which was extremely rewarding. The reality of my working role exceeded my expectations. I had the opportunity to work with elite ski athletes and lead and design training sessions alongside the strength and conditioning coaches. This experience developed my knowledge of sports science and the impact it can have on an athlete’s performance.

The highlights of my internship were being able to work hands-on with high-performance athletes and understand the process throughout their off-season training programme. The job demanded resilience and adaptability, especially when dealing with unexpected challenges in the mountain environment. The working environment in the French Alps was dynamic and team-oriented and had similar characteristics to working relationships in the UK. However, the focus on outdoor activities and sport-specific preparation for alpine ski racing was a unique aspect of my overseas experience.

The main language at my workplace was English however there were many French speakers. I attempted to interact with colleagues and athletes in French when suitable which enhanced my language proficiency.

Drawing of the French Alps in summerGlobal outlook & reflections of my experience:

My confidence in my future career choice soared as I saw the positive impact of sports science on athletes’ lives during my time at the academy. The experience confirmed my passion for this field and gave me motivation for my future career. I developed confidence in applying academic knowledge to coaching sessions and athlete testing days, as I saw the real-world implications of various training techniques and methods.

This internship experience ignited my curiosity for different work experiences and encouraged me to seek out international opportunities in the future.

Looking back, I would advise myself to embrace every challenge with an open mind and see it as an opportunity for growth. To students considering working abroad, I would say: absolutely take the opportunity! Embracing new cultures and challenges will develop you personally and professionally in the workplace.

My greatest achievement during this experience was having the opportunity to lead strength and conditioning sessions. I learned how to adapt training plans for different athletes’ needs and was able to see first-hand the positive impact of my training programs on athletes’ well-being and progression. Without a doubt, I would recommend this experience to others. It has had a huge impact on my professional career gaining vital experience within the Sport Science industry as well as enriching my personal life.

In conclusion, my strength and conditioning internship in the French Alps was an unforgettable experience that helped me develop personally and professionally. The experience allowed me to combine my passion for sports science with cultural exploration. Working in the French Alps with elite ski athletes and supportive colleagues made this internship an incredible experience in my life.

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