By Steven de Vegt
I have been to Toronto from February till May to conduct research on coach-athlete relationships in high performance sports, and stayed at the School of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University. Since my topics of interest is talent identification and development, I conducted research on youth elite athletes within ice hockey and field hockey. Ice hockey is by far one of the biggest sports in Canada, which made it really interesting to see how the coaches and athletes were interacting, also compared to coach-athlete interactions in the Netherlands. My research was focused on the relationship between coaching styles and the athletes’ performance, which was part of my MSc degree ‘Sport Sciences’ at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG).
Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities of the world, which made the city and its people really interesting! Besides, the people are really friendly in Toronto and other parts of Ontario (as far as I have met them). Even if you go to the supermarket you can start a conversion with people ; they’re not only interested in taking your money at the counter, but also ask about your well-being and take personal interest! This really surprised me at first, but I reckon that’s part of the Canadian people and its culture. I definitely appreciated it! I went on a road trip for a couple of weeks to explore a part of Ontario (since everything is so big, you’re not able to explore it all). Again, I experienced the kindness of the people and the good vibe the Canadians create. Additionally, the nature is stunning. Unfortunately, I was there during wintertime (which lasts until the end of April approximately), so I wasn’t able to see the Canadian beauty at its best… I love to do hiking and other outdoors, so Canada was the perfect country for doing that. Unfortunately, I didn’t have too much time to travel around, but at least I was able to experience a small piece of it!
I would like to thank ACSN for providing me with the financial support for my research internship. It made my new experiences, both personal and study-related, possible for me. For all people thinking about going abroad I would like to say that you should take the opportunity if you have time and interest. Conducting research isn’t always easy, but the experience you will gain will be remembered by you for the rest of your life. Besides, Canada has a lot to offer culture-wise and on people-wise. I reckon Canadian people are in my top three of nice people around the world, and they’re always willing to help you out, even if you’re not asking for it. For myself it was also really interesting, since I was able to get to know more about my topic of interest and passion!