Wales men’s field hockey team delivered an interactive and engaging afternoon to 7,000 school children from across Odisha as they continue their quest at the 2023 FIH Hockey World Cup.
The session was delivered at the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology in Odisha, ahead of the Wales v India clash on Thursday 19 January. Fun was had where students from across the region were treated to hockey practice with players and learnt about the international study opportunities available in Wales.
The lead sponsor, Study In Wales, hosted the event alongside the hockey team. The partnership seeks to bring education and sport together and will see engagements with international education institutions and their students in and around the tournament locations.
50 schools across the state of Odisha were in attendance, with students from various state, national and international boards ranging from grades 9 to grade 12. The students took part in an interactive Q&A session and were amazed as they heard of the experiences of Welsh players who studied at Welsh universities. The number of Indian students choosing Wales to further their education has been increasing year-on-year since the introduction of the Graduate Immigration Route in 2019, which allows students completing an undergraduate or postgraduate degree to apply to stay and work, or look for work, in the UK for two years.
For those particularly interested in hockey and other sports, either as a study option for a professional career, or just for fun and leisure, Wales has plenty to offer its international students. From state-of-the-art pitches and equipment to social sessions and university tournaments, there are endless opportunities to pursue sport.
Study in Wales is part of the Taith funded Global Wales programme, which promotes Wales’ universities and colleges internationally and supports the development of international education and research partnerships; the Study in Wales brand forms a core part of Global Wales’ strategy to promote Wales to the world, by building partnerships and sharing study opportunities. The Study in Wales and Hockey Wales partnership is driven by the shared desire to inspire change, and both organisations fully support promoting Wales as a country that has a strong focus on equality, diversity, and inclusion.
Laura Fergusson, Head of Markets and Operations at Global Wales said, “Today’s event demonstrates perfectly why this partnership is so important. Bringing 1,500 children together through the power of education and sport will help inspire our future generations to bring their education to Wales, and possibly even find some future international hockey players!”
The relationship between Hockey Wales and Study in Wales is also strengthened by relationships with the players themselves. Several members of both the men’s and women’s squad studied at Welsh universities, and men’s team captain Luke Hawker is employed as a senior lecturer in Sport Coaching at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
Luke is relishing the opportunity to play India on their home turf. He said, “India is the one we’ll be looking forward to the most, playing India in India is probably an unrivalled experience. I came to study in Cardiff and it wasn’t until I started playing hockey regularly as a third year student there, I then got invited into the Senior Wales Programme. Wales is special because of the environment, the city, coastlines and the major sporting events on your doorstep. Coming to Cardiff for me, was moving to a big city, it had a big feel to it, but actually it was more. It has those values associated with being a connected, close-knit community that has enabled success.”
Wales took on home nation rivals England in their first match of the World Cup on Friday 13 January, followed by Spain on Sunday 15 January and India on Thursday 19 January.
Wales took on India on Thursday 19 January.
To find out more about studying in Wales and further information about Wales’ universities and colleges, visit the Study in Wales website.