Student Sporting Insight #01
Valdano Wiriwanputra moved from Indonesia in 2019 to pursue his university education in the U.K.
Currently in his third year of the BSc Sport and Exercise Science program at Loughborough University, we spoke with Valdano to ask about his experience as an international student studying in the UK.
Student Participant: Valdano Wiriawanputra
Academic status: Current BSc Sport and Exercise student at Loughborough University
What first attracted you to pursuing your university degree in the UK?
“I have always wanted to go to the UK for University. It was more of a question about what specific degree I wanted to pursue. I always wanted to pursue a career within the sporting industry, particularly in football.
Ultimately it came down to the decision to take Sports Management or Sports and Exercise Science. I decided on Sports science because I believed it was the degree that would help me achieve my long-term aspirations, which is to develop the football industry in my country, Indonesia.
I chose Loughborough University because after doing my research, it was clear that Loughborough is the number one sports university in the world.”
What has been the highlight of your BSc Sport and Exercise degree so far?
“So far, the highlight of my degree is my placement year at Norwich City F.C. I have learned so much valuable knowledge and experience that I believe would not be found in a typical university degree. Learning not only the practical side of Sports Science but also the complexity of the interactions between coaches/sport scientists and players has given me an idea of what it is like to work in elite sport.
Besides my placement year, the laboratory and practical sessions at the university have also been a highlight for me. Using scientific principles to practice has always been a fascination, so being able to learn how to conduct various physical testing measures as well as learning how it is explained by science has been a really valuable experience.”
Do you think that the U.K. is a good destination for a student that wishes to pursue a sport-related degree?
“I definitely agree that the U.K is a good destination for students who want to pursue a career in sports.
Not only does it have the best facilities for learning and development, but the overall culture of sports in this country is very strong. There are multiple universities that have very good sport degrees, all providing valuable opportunities to grow and develop your career whilst studying.
Personally, I think that when you are surrounded by people who are the best in their field, supplemented with great facilities and programs, you will undoubtedly create a great foundation for your future career.”
Alongside studying, have you also been able to experience playing sport whilst at university? If so, how has playing sport impacted your university experience?
“Yes, I have been able to play football and other sports during my studies. During my first year, I joined my hall’s IMS football team, while also playing casual 7v7 games on campus. During 2nd year, I joined the Table Tennis AU Development team and competed in a futsal competition from Indonesia’s UK student organization.
These experiences have definitely helped me adapt to the UK when I first moved in. Not only have I been able to make new friends and travel to new places, but it has also allowed me to step out of my comfort zone. Other than that, it has allowed me to put my studies into practice by personally creating gym programs and coaching close friends and family.”
Finally, what advice would you give to a student who is considering moving to the U.K. for their university education in the future?
“If there was one thing that helped me make the most of my experience in the UK, it was to constantly try new things. It is quite easy to stay at home and be in your comfort zone, which was what I did in the past, but by exposing yourself to different people, experiences, and places, you will definitely make the most of your time here.
Don’t be afraid to go out there and explore.”
Is there anything else you feel may be relevant to a future U.K. university applicant who is considering studying a sport related degree at university or any further comment you wish to provide?
“Particularly for International students, taking a sports-related degree may not sound like a course that would be appealing because of its career prospects. Personally, I have had countless people ask me about what you can do with a sports degree and whether you can be successful (within their definition of success).
I do believe that the sports industry has a lot of potential growth and room for development, and there are a lot of pathways to choose from. Additionally, given my goal to develop football in my country, this degree is something I truly believe will allow me to achieve those goals. So make sure that you have some form of a vision of what you want to do so that you can really make the most out of your university experience.”
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