Mid-summertime marks the perfect time to take a moment to reflect on the conclusion of the first year of the China Champions Program (CCP). This contemplation reveals that the inaugural year for CCP was comprised of great success, significant learning, and effective collaboration:
WHAT is CCP?
Based off a similar program developed by Dr. Li Li Ji, Director of the School of Kinesiology, at the University of Wisconsin, this is the first year the program has come to Minnesota. The program’s unique collaboration between the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and Beijing Sports University allowed the Champions to partake in academic programming and experience U.S. culture and society. Using sport to bridge the two cultures, the athletes, faculty, staff and U of M students shared experiences, developed relationships and learned from each other for eight months. This internationalization initiative was made possible by the support of the Global Program & Strategic Alliance and its China Center, the College of Education and Human Development, and the School of Kinesiology.
Within the School of Kinesiology, Rayla Allison, J.D. acted as Executive Director of the program and Yishun (Sandy) Wang functioned as Secretary of the program under Li Li Ji, Ph.D., Director of the School.
Our goal is to ensure all involved gain insight and appreciation for the cultures in each country and harness that knowledge to benefit our world.” – Dr. Ji
WHO are the Champions?
The athletes are in a master’s program at the top sport university in China, Beijing Sport University. Each of the ten Chinese athletes and one coach were selected for the CCP at the University of Minnesota and funded by the China Scholarship Council which covered the athlete’s transportation to and from the United States, their housing, and daily living expenses. Meet the Champions here!
The sports of the athletes includes diving, speedskating, wrestling, field hockey, fencing, boxing, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline, and judo.
WHAT did the Champions learn?
The China Champions attended specially designed courses in the School of Kinesiology, including academic seminars, workshops and English as a Learned Language classes in an exchange of culture, education and sport. Congratulations, Champions! During their time with the University of Minnesota, the athletes engaged in a variety of experiences including:
- Attending KIN 5375: Competitive Sport for Children and Youth to discuss their development from child athletes to elite champions
- Lunching with Governor Dayton
- Touring the new Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center
- Graduation celebration!
Participating in these events not only kept the China Champions busy, but allowed for them to gain a comprehensive understanding of a variety of topics. Main areas in which the Champions gained knowledge were in English as a learned language, American society and culture, American education, sports, sport management classes, interacting with government and community leaders, physical education and coaching, UMN campus life, and American life.
WHERE will CCP go in the future?
Overall, the athletes of the first cohort of the China Champions Program were wonderful and the 2014-2015 academic year was very successful! Looking ahead, the future of the CCP is promising. Fundraising efforts will be expanded and the incredible level of volunteer support will be maintained and built upon.
in summary, the China Champions program was a great success by all measures due to engagement and support of the College of education + human Development and Global programs & strategic Alliance, plus the numerous volunteers and community members who so graciously championed the program.