The University of Texas at Austin
U.S. Sports & Culture Immersion Program
The motto of The University of Texas at Austin is -“What Starts Here Changes the World” and for good reason. We are a global community united in creating a new vision of leadership in higher education for the next generation of leaders. The university drives economic, social and cultural progress as one of the world's most powerful centers of learning, research and creativity. Founded in 1883, The University of Texas at Austin (also known as UT) is the flagship institution for the University of Texas System and a tier-one public research institution. The university’s 18 colleges and schools enroll over 51,000 students, making it one of the largest campuses in the United States. The university is accredited by the Commission on Colleges (COC) of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
UT is only one of twenty-two institutions in the United States that offers degree plans in physical education, including a Doctor of Philosophy, Masters of Education, Masters of Arts with Kindergarten through Grade 12 Physical Education Teaching Certification and the bachelor degree in physical education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. UT’s excellence in Physical Education further extends into the university’s college athletics program. The UT Athletics Program has claimed more titles in their conference division (Big 12) for men’s and women’s sports teams than any other school in the league since 1996. In 2002, Sports Illustrated named UT number one among the nation’s 324 Division One athletic programs. This ranking took in to account the university’s success in athletic competitions, attendance at sporting events, and participation rates in intramural and club sport programs. The Division of Recreational Sports (RecSports) has served the campus community since 1916, growing to be one of the largest collegiate recreational programs in the United States. About 90% of UT students (45,000 men and women) participate in recreational programs through RecSports annually.
This program proposal has been prepared by UT’s International Office; the International Office has a long and distinguished history of welcoming students and scholars from all over the world as well as being the second largest U.S. university to send students abroad. In 2013, the International Office strategically aligned itself with leadership and a new vision within the UT Athletics Program in order to internationalize efforts and impact. Striving to remain at the forefront of a shared vision for enduring leadership and impact, this new collaboration hopes to further connect global partners with resources and stakeholders on the university campus.
The proposed program will provide a vibrant academic and cultural experience for participants. UT Austin faculty and staff members; graduate students; and community organizations will collaboratively contribute to the program. The program is structured with the following components:
Interactive classroom sessions
NBA and NCAA basketball game watching and professional
Basketball stadium tours
Guided site visits
Cultural enrichment activities
UT student ambassador program
Xiaofen Keating, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) program in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, will teach a daily course titled “A Glance at NBA and NCAA Basketball.” She was a professional basketball player and then a basketball coach in China. Also, she taught basketball to college students in the US. This course has been designed to explore the characteristics of NBA and NCAA-basketball in comparison with those in China; and watch NBA games to better understand the basis of US basketball and its culture. Through readings, lectures, watching games, interactive discussions, and project-based learning, students and coaches will engage in enriched learning experience related to American basketball and its role in schools at all educational levels. In order to help coaches and students fully understand the course content and involve in active learning activities, a current PETE doctoral student will assist in facilitating of the course. Different from many other programs held in the US, the course will be taught in both English and Chinese as the instructor is fluent in both languages. The project-based approach embedded with experiential learning and coaching focusing on one of the most popular sports in the US and China is one of the unique features that many existing sport programs do not have.
NBA, NCAA, and High School Basketball Game Viewing and Stadium visits
Excursion to San Antonio to tour the AT&T Center and view a San Antonio Spurs Basketball Game
Excursion to Houston to Tour the Toyota Center and view a Houston Rockets Basketball Game
Tour the UT Erwin Center and view UT men’s and women’s basketball games
Observation of UT men’s and women’s basketball team practice
Visit Austin high school men’s and women’s basketball team practice
Visit Austin high school men’s and women’s basketball team practice
NBA Game-watching events at local venues
Guided Site Visits
Site visits are intended to introduce participants to the iconic sporting venues of the region. Participants will visit: the Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Football Stadium, UFCU Disch-Falk Field, H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports, and the Fitness Institute of Texas.
Leaders from university departments and community organizations will host panel discussions. During these sessions, participants will connect directly with practitioners in their prospective work environments and identify ways in which physical education and sports intersect. Tentative panel topics include:
1. History of NBA and NCAA-basketball in the US. This panel will focus on how basketball has been promoted in schools and other societal segments. Panelists will be included former NCAA basketball players and current PETE doctoral students.
2. Athletes & Leadership – This panel will focus on the development of UT’s Center for Sports Leadership & Innovation (CSLi) and its goal of cultivating leadership and character reform among student athletes. Panelists will include staff from CSLi and UT student athletes.
3. UT RecSports: Connecting Students with Athletics – This panel will provide an overview of the history and current structure of the university recreational sports programs and activities. Panel speakers will include staff from RecSports’ Programs Office.
4. Sport Management – This panel will explore training and careers in the management, marketing, and administration of sport programs in educational settings, sport business, or the entertainment industry. The discussion will be led by faculty from UT’s sport management program.
Athletic Excursion are designed for participant to experience and enjoy various athletic and leisure pursuits in and around Austin. Throughout the program, participants will engage in the following activities:
- Indoor Rock Climbing at the UT Rec Sport Center
- Group Workout by Camp Gladiator
- Hiking in the nearby area
- Kayaking in Lake Austin
Cultural Enrichment Activities
Enrichment activities are an essential way for participants to better understand American culture and the way in which Americans live their lives. Past program participants have remarked to International Office staff that they had come to the United States with many stereotypes about the U.S. people and culture and that after participating in our program, the majority of the stereotypes that they held had been shattered. There is no better way to provide cultural insight than to engage in local community activities and the members of the community themselves.
Cultural activities will include:
- Tour of the LBJ Library & Museum
- Excursion to San Antonio to explore the Riverwalk
- Visit NASA Space Center in Houston
- Bowling & Billiards at the Texas Union Underground
- Texas BBQ tasting
UT Student Ambassador Program
Student Ambassadors will be recruited from the College of Education, Moody College of Communications, and College of Liberal Arts to participate in various cultural excursions and athletic activities alongside the participants. Student ambassadors will be current undergraduate students attending UT Austin who have an interest in intercultural exchange. Student ambassadors will serve as U.S. cultural ambassador to the participants while in Austin, and be encouraged to plan excursions with the participants outside of scheduled program activities.
Program Administration Housing Arrangements:
Participants will be housed in double-rooms Dobie 21, a private residence hall located within walking distance of campus. Rooms will be furnished and have access to a private bathroom and shower. The hall has wireless internet service, laundry facilities, computer lab, swimming pool, gymnasium, study lounges, and dining hall. Also available to the participants is a common area where they can watch television, play games or simply have a place to meet with each other. Classrooms for the program will be located on campus so participants will be able to walk from their residence hall to their classes and workshops. *We recommend that participants bring a minimum of $35 per day for meal expenses.
The International Office will coordinate all logistics associated with the program. The following is a description of the main services provided.
Immigration Document Issuance: The International Office will issue the necessary J-1 immigration document to facilitate each participant’s visa application.
Transportation: Transportation to and from the Austin Bergstrom International Airport will be pre-arranged and participants will be met at the airport upon arrival into Austin. For local transportation around campus and the city, participants will have access to the public transportation system, which is free with their university ID card. For local transportation to programmed events, a bus will be chartered via a local bus company.
Immigration Check-In: International Office staff will verify that participants’ entry documents are validated and help participants who may have encountered any complications. Participants will receive an immigration overview within the first two days of arrival to understand what is required to maintain their legal immigration status in the United States. The International Office will facilitate the required reporting of each participant to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
Administrative/Academic Orientation: Program staff will provide a customized orientation for the participants covering immigration, programmatic, social, and cultural aspects of this program. Information about the University and the City of Austin will be included, along with guided campus and city tours. A welcome dinner is also scheduled to formally welcome participants to Austin.
Campus Facilities and Services: Participants will be issued university ID cards that will provide access to select UT Austin facilities including the Flawn Academic Center computer lab, Perry Castaneda Library, student activity centers, and the university and city public transportation system.
Insurance: To ensure medical coverage in the event of an illness or medical emergency, the International Office will enroll each participant in the Student Health Insurance Plan administered by BlueCross BlueShield of Texas for the duration of the program. Each participant will receive an insurance card to be used when visiting a health care provider or facility.
The program will be coordinated by professional staff members within the International Office. A program coordinator will coordinate across all aspects of the program to ensure continuity. Staff will work closely with the participants in acclimating to the university and Austin community, join participants in all cultural and civic activities, and be available for participants as needed. One graduate student will support the professional staff with administrative assistance and program implementation.
From our experience in hosting similar programs, we are aware of the complexities of implementing a program with multiple program components. We understand the need to be flexible and are committed to providing excellence in the program that we execute.
Program Cost and Payment
Total cost per person:
Two-week program $4,000.
Four-week program $6,000.
The program cost is inclusive of all program components and administration services listed within this proposal. Daily meals are not included.
Payment is due 30 days prior to program start date and can be made in full by wire transfer. Should a participant cancel their participation in the program after the payment deadline, Mainstay Global has sole discretion in determining refund amount.