Olympic Immersion for Study Away Gusties

In the course “Olympic Quest,” students and professors explored the sport, history, culture, and politics of the recent and upcoming Olympic Games.
Posted on March 2nd, 2018 by

Photos by Bonnie Reimann

Fifteen Gusties and two professors will never forget the Olympic Games in PyeongChang. Right before Opening Ceremonies, they got a first-hand look at them.

In the January Interim Experience course, Olympic Quest, the Gusties saw how sports and culture intersect at Olympic sites past and future in Korea (PyeongChange, Winter 2018; Seoul, Summer 1998), Japan (Tokyo, Summer 2020 plus Summer 1964; Nagano, Winter 1998; Sapporo, Winter 1972), and China (Beijing, Winter 2022 plus Summer 2008). While traveling through the countries, students explored the sport, history, and politics of the Olympics in each country.

The first Olympic Quest course began ten years ago, with health and exercise science professor, Aaron Banks. “It started out because I love the Olympics. As an athlete myself, it was my dream,” Banks said. He was joined by associate professor in health and exercise science, Bonnie Reimann. The two have taught the class together six times.

The destinations change each time the course is taught, making each year a unique experience. “This year, because of the small number of students, it was a very powerful and impactful trip,” said Reimann. “We took three Asian countries and made comparisons and contrasts with those and with the U.S. We developed some close bonds.”

Said Maddy Schwartz ’18, a senior exercise physiology and dance double major, “Going to the Olympics is on my bucket list. Going to the different locations to see where the Games were held gave me the opportunity to come close.” It also gave her the opportunity to experience and learn about martial arts, the Great Wall of China, Terracotta Warriors, international politics, and traditions and variances in Asian religions and cuisine.

In January 2019, the class heads to Europe—to Paris, London, and various German cities, including Berlin, where Gusties on past Olympic Quests ran the famous Olympic track. “We got all crazy when we got on the track where Jesse Owens ran in front of Hitler,” said Banks. “That changed the world, changed perspectives—and it was sport that moved that along.”

Said Banks, “It’s not a trip about sports, it’s a trip about life.”

—written by Corbyn Jenkins ’20


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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