How studying at a sports-focused university helped me succeed as a student athlete | Top Universities

How studying at a sports-focused university helped me succeed as a student athlete

By Chloe Lane

Updated June 9, 2023 Updated June 9, 2023

Sponsored by Al-Ahliyya Amman University

Attending a sports-focused university can provide student athletes with a range of benefits that can help you achieve your athletic and academic goals. 

However, it's important to carefully consider your options and choose a university that’s right for you, both academically and athletically. 

Al-Ahliyya Amman University (AAU) in Amman, Jordan, understands the importance of physical activity for achieving success. It’s a proud member of the Jordan Olympic Committee and also the former university of Jordan’s first Olympic medal holder, Ahmad Abughaush, who won the gold medal for taekwondo in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Al-Ahliyya Amman University offers state-of-the-art sports facilities that meet the needs of its student athletes, such as a gymnasium, swimming pool, tennis court, football field and a running track, while also having a range of academic programmes that cater to diverse interests and career paths. 

Even if you’re not athletically inclined, being able to use these facilities occasionally can reap dividends. Regular exercise has been shown to improve academic performance by reducing stress levels and increasing your ability to think clearly.

TopUniversities spoke to four student athletes at Al-Ahliyya Amman University who have personally benefited from the school’s focus on sporting activities. They reveal how attending a sports-centred university has benefited them.

A supportive environment for athletes

Layan Rasheed Qabag is a first-year student of Al-Ahliyya Amman University’s BA in Physical Education and has already achieved an impressive list of sporting accomplishments. She has won the Asian Bronze Boxing Championship and the Golden Kingdom Champion title, as well as a gold medal in badminton and as a soccer goalkeeper, and a silver medal in volleyball. 

Layan chose to study at Al-Ahliyya Amman University because of its high level of education and its supportive environment for sports students, which includes top-notch sports facilities and access to accredited certificates. 

As one of the few universities in Jordan offering a BA in Physical Health and Education, Al-Ahliyya Amman University provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the principles and practices of physical education. The programme emphasises Islamic values and ethics, which sets it apart from other programmes and prepares students to use sports and physical activity to promote health and wellness in their communities. 

Al-Ahliyya Amman University has been supportive of Layan's athletic goals, providing her with a 45 percent discount from the Olympic Committee and flexible working hours. 

Provides scholarships for athletic excellence

Student athlete Osama

Al-Ahliyya Amman University provides scholarships to support students with exceptional sporting abilities. 

These scholarships cover full or partial tuition fees, in addition to providing other benefits such as academic support, housing, and health insurance.

Osama Mohammad Awad, a second-year student majoring in physical health and education at Al-Ahliyya Amman University, has received one of these athletic scholarships for Taekwondo. 

Osama excelled in Taekwondo and won the silver medal in 2013 and 2016, as well as the silver for the Hassan Championship in 2018. 

“Al-Ahliyya Amman University is one of the best private universities to support sports and athletes in Jordan,” he said.

Osama balances his studies with training by using the Arena Sports Complex after lectures. The university provides both academic and athletic support, particularly during sports tournaments. Osama is now undertaking training courses to open up his own health centre, which he says is his proudest achievement to date.

A challenging but rewarding experience

Ahmad Al-Jarhi (main image), a second-year student majoring in Physical Education at Al-Ahliyya Amman University, has had a challenging but rewarding experience with sports. 

As a football player, he considers his biggest achievement to be winning the annual Al-Ahliyya Amman University Football Tournament, where he was the best player out of 350. 

This is just one of the several sports tournaments hosted by Al-Ahliyya Amman University, which also offers a range of sports programmes and events throughout the year including sports leagues, competitions and fitness classes.

The football matches and practices take place on the football pitches at Al-Ahliyya Amman University. The pitches have both grass and artificial turf pitches, which are maintained to a high standard. 

Ahmad said: “Winning the tournament was a big achievement, but it wasn’t easy.” He admits that balancing his studies and sport was tough, despite the support he received from the university. However, he still manages to find the time to train.

The university provided emotional and mental support

Student athlete Bana

Bana Al-Taher, a second-year English Language and Literature student at Al-Ahliyya Amman University, has made impressive achievements in Taekwondo. With a third Dan black belt, Bana has won second place in the university tournament, third place amongst all other universities, and a bronze medal at the Al Fujairah International tournament. 

She is most proud of earning her third black belt: “I worked really hard and it felt great seeing it all pay off,” she said.

Al-Ahliyya Amman University has supported Bana in achieving her athletic goals by providing access to excellent coaches and providing emotional and mental support. “The wonderful crew brought us one of the best coaches to help us work on our fighting strategies before the tournament,” she added.

Although there are many sporting facilities at the university, Bana mainly uses the gym and boxing bag to give her the training she needs to boost her strength and agility.

The gymnasium is a popular destination for students and faculty who want to stay fit and active. It is equipped with a range of cardio and weightlifting equipment, including treadmills, elliptical machines, stationary bikes and weight benches. The gym is also staffed by certified personal trainers who can help individuals develop personalised fitness plans and achieve their fitness goals.

The university also offers a heated indoor swimming pool, used for both recreational swimming and training. The pool is heated and maintained at a comfortable temperature throughout the year, making it usable even during the winter months.

While balancing training with her studies can be difficult, Bana believes that it is up to each athlete to find the balance that works best for them. 

This article was originally published in June 2023 .

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