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New study abroad program offers students a chance to attend World Cup in Moscow

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Sean Gundu | The Daily Wildcat Arizona defender Sabrina Enciso (16) passes TCU defense during the NCAA first round on Nov. 10.

The Arizona World Soccer Program is a new study abroad program offered through the University of Arizona College of Humanities. Launching Summer 2018, the program’s location changes every year depending on which country is hosting the year’s most significant soccer tournament.

Students can earn up to six general education credits over five weeks, with courses focusing on both the global significance of soccer and the culture and history of the host country. This year, program participants will attend the 2018 Men’s World Cup in Moscow, Russia.

Benjamin Jens, a professor in University of Arizona the Department of Russian and Slavic Studies and this year’s director and faculty lead for the program, explained that the program emerged from College of Humanities Dean Alain-Philippe Durand's vision for a unique study abroad offering.

“It’s one of those programs where it’s truly international, because it’s going to move around for each year of the program to different soccer venues," he said. "We can show off all the different cultures we have in the College of Humanities."

Jens was quick to credit part of the curriculum to an already existing course.  Global Soccer, or AFAS 376, is offered under the College of Humanities in the Department of Africana Studies.

Jens also explained that a variety of students would appreciate participating in this trip.

“Obviously, students that have an interest in soccer are going to get a lot out of it," he said. "And just every student looking for a really unique study abroad experience."

He explained the department offering the program will change each year according to the tournament’s host country, so students with different interests in foreign language or culture may want to participate in the program in the future. 

The program is the only one of its kind in terms of hybrid academic focus and the vast difference between each year's offered experiences. Jens said this showcases the richness of the College of Humanities and the UA at large. 

“Especially for Russian programs, the sports angle is unique, and I really like this idea of a ‘traveling program,’” he said. “I think it shows off the strength we have in the College of Humanities and in the university in general — kind of the cross-cultural connections that people can make. So, in theory, somebody could do this program every summer and get a really different experience.”

The deadline to apply is Feb. 25. More information can be found on the Global Initiatives Study Abroad website. Questions can be emailed to bcjens@email.arizona.edu.


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