In May 2016, a group of eight West Virginia University students, seven from CPASS and one from the College of Business and Economics, joined a group of six students from the School of Hospitality in the Sport and Recreation Management program at James Madison University. The group embarked on a 10-day trip to the Dominican Republic to explore the business and culture of baseball in the capital city of Santo Domingo.
The trip was inspired, in part, through the WVU Sport Management curriculum, which aims to provide insights of the globalization of the sport industry. Gonzalo Bravo, lead WVU faculty for the study abroad trip, has taught the course, “Sport in the Global Market,” for almost a decade.
During the 10-day excursion, students and faculty met with baseball experts, U.S. diplomatic officers and Dominican Republic government officials. The group also met with the senior staff of MLB operations in Santo Domingo, who provided an in-depth presentation of the role MLB plays in the island.
As this nation is the largest exporter of players to the MLB, students had a firsthand look at the complex process required to produce high-caliber ball players. Students and faculty visited facilities and met with staff of the MLB academies of the Cleveland Indians, Arizona Diamond Backs, Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals.
Study abroad students also participated in a group dynamic with Kansas City Royals development players, who are Spanish speakers, to help them speak and practice their knowledge of the English language.
“The trip to the Dominican Republic was an eye-opening experience that changed my perspective on life,” said sophomore Sport Management student Jeremiah Arce. “Studying abroad opens up a unique group of people you can network with and opens more room to grow within the sports industry.”