Erland Enjoying Internship in Europe With FCA
UWF Women’s Basketball Senior Taking Advantage of Summer Break
TURIN, Italy - Emily Erland of the West Florida women’s basketball team is enjoying her summer completing an internship in Europe partnered with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Erland, who will be a senior in 2012-13, checked in with UWF Athletic Communications to describe her experiences so far.
I get to spend my summer in Italy, but there are no gondolas or Italian chefs throwing pizzas in the air and singing, “That’s amore!” Instead, I’ve been waking up to the sound of cow bells and roosters crowing and church bells ringing outside of my window. I wake up and look out my window to see huge mountains looming all around me. I get to teach sports to kids all day, while they teach me how to say the colors and the ABCs in Italian. Not the Italy I would have ever imagined. No, it’s much better.
I am here in a small Italian village near Turin on an internship that is partnered with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The internship is about using our talents in sport to impact communities through international ministry. I am one of 14 other interns here on the trip, who come from all across the U.S. – California, Michigan, Oregon, Alabama – and different parts of the world – Italy, Germany, Macedonia, Australia. The trip is about gaining international ministry experience and serving others – especially kids – with the talents we are gifted in: sports.
The first two weeks here were a whirlwind. We did a lot of classroom training and team building exercises. And by “exercises,” I literally mean that exercising was involved. I don’t want to give away too much, but let’s just say that we’ve done a lot of running, sport-playing, and mountain climbing. Sometimes all at once.
The second two weeks have been the sports camps. Last week, we held a camp in the next town over. More than 140 kids signed up, and we even had to turn some kids away because it was going to be too large for us coaches to handle. I spent the week getting to help lead a group of 11- and 12-year old girls and getting to teach all of the kids how to play basketball. This week, we’re holding another sports camp in the town where we’re living, because we wanted to give the kids who couldn’t sign up a chance to play.
It would be difficult to sum up everything that I’ve experienced in these four weeks in just a couple of paragraphs. Let’s just say that these kids are teaching me much more than I could ever teach them. And not just how to speak Italian. The great thing is, kids are the same no matter where you go – America, Italy, Australia, wherever. They’re so full of life. We could all learn a lot from them.
Next stop: Oxford, England. We’ll be doing more sports ministry training there next week, and then we’ll be running a sports camp for Indian and Pakistani kids in one of the communities there. After that, we’ll get to help out at the London Olympics. Maybe, if we keep exercising like we have been here in Italy, we’ll get to compete with the Olympians. Watch out, Usain Bolt.