GWU Students Head to the World Cup

Students will use World Cup as a learning experience

By Kelvin Robinson
|  Thursday, Jun 10, 2010  |  Updated 10:30 PM EDT
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GWU Students Take on South Africa

NBCWashington.com

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Among the thousands of global fans making the long trek to Johannesburg, South Africa, will be a group of George Washington University students.

But instead of kicking back and enjoying the sights and sounds of the World Cup, they'll be working and studying. Their goal is to look at the economic impact of the games on South Africa and study the way sports events can be used for social change.

Lisa Neirotti, an associate professor for GWU, said the students will be conducting surveys of English-speaking spectators.

"We want to understand why they traveled to South Africa, where they are staying, how long they are staying, how much they are spending and also, what are their impressions of the tournament in South Africa itself?" she said.

Neirotti said 17 students are making the trip and each of them must conduct at least 50 surveys. She says aside from learning from the questions, it also forces some of the shy students to be more outgoing.

The students will also meet with some government officials, who will talk about South Africa's marketing plan they had in mind for the games. They will then take all of the data they've collected to FIFA, the organization that puts on the World Cup, and recommend programs that could be carried on to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Neirotti said these games are particularly exciting.

"We actually get to see the greater good on a developing country, such as South Africa," she said.

And in case you were wondering, the students will receive college credit (and some interesting world experience), but all 17 of them are paying for the trip out of their own pockets.

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