For me, coming to University knowing that I would join a sports club was something fairly reassuring. I’d seen my brother go to uni, watched him play on the odd Wednesday and felt assured that even if for some reason I didn’t get on with my housemates, there would always be another group of people with a common interest that I was likely to get on with. It’s comforting to know when you’re moving to a new city that you’re going to walk onto a pitch and have ten friends, almost by default.
The reason that I’ve been trying to involve our clubs in the #WeAreInternational campaign, is that moving to a new country or continent is far more difficult, and that same reassurance is so much more important.
Sport is a way to bring people together, regardless of who that might be. A member of the Tennis club, Vilis Andrejs Vitols has admittedly put this better than I could as a part of their campaign:
“There is just something about friendly competition that seems to transcend class, age, gender or race. I have studied in four countries around the world, from Venezuela to Latvia, to here in the UK, and the easiest way for me to make friends has always been through tennis. In my opinion, bringing people together — teammates and opponents alike — is what sport is about.”
[[Read Anna Fedenko’s story here:
Read Vilis Andrejs Vitols story here: https://www.facebook.com/tennis.sheffield/posts/628906040621033
Read Carla Băceanu story here: https://www.facebook.com/tennis.sheffield/posts/629414050570232]]
Hopefully, what’s been highlighted through the pictures and the videos that the clubs have put together is that sport shouldn’t be intimidating. Our teams are made up of international and home students, as much as they are made up of students from all walks of life. They are black and gold, they are international, and they are welcome to all.
What’s also made me really proud to represent students here at Sheff Uni is the sincere and genuine reaction from committee members to go over and above in supporting the campaign. Since mentioning #WeAreInternational at Sports Fair, I’ve had a number of students asking me how they can get involved beyond the social media campaign, expressing how they want to break down any barriers for students who might be intimidated by joining their club. It’s clear that this isn’t something clubs are just jumping on board with, but something they truly care about.
The overarching message that I hope has come across from this campaign, is that all students should feel confident in approaching our Sport Sheffield clubs. Our teams are made up of diverse groups of students, and there is a significant and genuine effort from our committees to welcome anyone who’s interested in joining.
A huge shout out to the International Students’ Committee for organising some amazing events for World Week 2016, and I’m proud to recognise our clubs as a part of that celebration of different cultures here at Sheffield.