Finding purpose in sports

International student Yuran Wang found his place in CEHD

When sport management student Yuran Wang was applying to colleges, the only knowledge he had of the state of Minnesota was their professional basketball team, the Timberwolves. But he saw the University of Minnesota’s high rankings and abundant options for undergraduates and decided to apply.

Wang—originally from China—began college studying biology, but as soon as he discovered the sport management program in the College of Education and Human Development, he knew it was right for him. Before sport management, Wang didn’t know he could have a career in the world of sports and athletics.

“Minnesota is a perfect place to study sports,” says Wang, a longtime basketball fan who picked up ice hockey, football, and baseball after moving to the U.S.

Wang took advantage of campus resources like the Student Writing Support center and International Student and Scholar Services. Through ISSS, he became a student ambassador, which gave him opportunities to share his U.S. college experience with high-schoolers back in China.

Wang says a marketing internship with University Athletics was where he really found his purpose. He stepped up as a lead intern in Gopher baseball when Minneapolis was selected to host the 2018 Regional NCAA Baseball Tournament.

“I worked really hard. I felt like I was doing the right thing, something that I was enjoying,” Wang says. “To be part of that was a pride.”

After graduation, Wang plans to pursue a variety of opportunities in the sports world and explore the industry from many different perspectives. He hopes others considering college in the U.S. will stay true to themselves and their interests too.

“Follow your passions,” he says. “That’s what I did, and I’ll never regret it.”

Story by Ellen Fee | Photos courtesy of Yuran Wang | January 2019