UWS takes AFL to Vietnam

A group of Sports Management students from the University of Western Sydney have recently returned from a study tour of Vietnam where they helped to introduce locals to the game of AFL.

Nicole Banks, David Grinsell and Emma Salzke spent two weeks visiting Danang University of Physical Education and Sport, Ho Chi Minh City Sport Training Centre, and the University of Economics Ho Chi Minh.

At each of the institutions the UWS students ran a series of drills to teach the Vietnamese students ball handling, kicking and marking skills.

AFL in Vietnam

Tim Hall from the UWS School of Business coordinated the trip for the three students, who are each enrolled in the University's Bachelor of Business and Commerce (Sport Management) program.

"The Sport Management program is all about combining an in-depth knowledge of business practices with the skills and attitudes that are necessary to be a professional in the sporting field," says Mr Hall.

"An important part of being a sports industry professional is encouraging others to have healthy lifestyles and supporting the Australian sports industry. This trip gave Nicole, David and Emma the opportunity to receive hands-on experience in these roles, whilst at the same time being able to meet and collaborate with their peers in Vietnam."

David Grinsell, a 21-year-old student from Milperra, says the Vietnam study tour was well-suited to his career ambitions and interests.

"I have always been really passionate about sport and enjoy playing AFL socially. I have also worked on other international community development projects – this time last year I was doing mission work in Africa," says David.

"The Vietnamese students really loved learning how to play AFL and picked it up really quickly. For them, AFL is a new, interactive game that takes ability rather than strength – being able to teach them such a broad range of new skills was a great experience."

AFL in Vietnam

The students from sport-orientated institutions were particularly quick at mastering the skills of the game. Within an hour of basic training they were able to play a full game of AFL – which is quite an accomplishment considering the language barrier between the Vietnamese and UWS students.

Nicole Banks, a 21-year old student from Winston Hills, says although a translator was used for many of the training sessions, the language barrier posed some interesting challenges.

"Some of the students did not speak English at all, and some only basic English, so we had to be very clear with our physical actions and directions," says Nicole.

"I enjoyed the experience so much that I've changed my career goals as a result. When I finish my studies, I would now love to work in a sport community development role – working in schools or remote communities and teaching young people about the positive benefits of sport."

Emma Salzke, also 21 years of age from Glen Alpine, says the trip was a great way to get a practical feel for the industry. Emma has just completed her studies at UWS and is looking forward to beginning a casual position with AFL in Greater Western Sydney.

Mr Hall says the success of the trip is in large part due to the University's new partnership with AFL NSW/ACT and the GWS GIANTS.

"AFL NSW/ACT and the GWS GIANTS supported the trip, by making a generous donation of sporting equipment. The equipment was used by the UWS students in their AFL games and demonstrations, and was then donated to the sporting institutions," says Mr Hall.

"The GIANTS also provided a training session for the UWS students prior to their departure at Blacktown Olympic Park."


16 January 2011

Contact: Danielle Roddick, Senior Media Officer

More photos of the Vietnam study tour