carnegieXchange: School of Sport

Inspired by the Brownlee Brothers, South African student – Meagan - journeys to the UK to study at Carnegie

Meagan Botha shares with us how her determination has brought her from South Africa to the UK, and to Leeds Beckett University to study BSc (Hons) Science of Sport Performance foundation year course, in order to pursue her dream career of becoming a Performance Lifestyle Advisor. 
Meagan Botha and Jonathan Brownlee
“I find tremendous joy and a sense of accomplishment in supporting and empowering people. I have 17 plus years of experience working across a variety of industries and countries. These include a medic, receptionist, tutor, and teacher (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). I’ve always liked working with people and through the years I have gained a lot of experience in various sectors. 
I have always loved sport but had never really considered it as a career. I wanted to try a new hobby that would really push my boundaries, so whilst still living in Cape Town, I joined a triathlon club. This really pushed me as I had to learn to swim – yes I don’t do things the easy way! Little did I know what impact it would have. I completed my first sprint triathlon a few months later and fell in love with the sport. I even won an award for Best New Beginner. The following year my head coach asked me if I’d be interested in doing the Level 1 Triathlon South Africa (TSA) coaching course to assist with new beginners like myself who joined the club. I was so happy for the opportunity and signed up straight away., 
It was during this course when I first became aware of the Brownlee brothers, I started doing some research and even bought their book – Swim Bike Run. At this point I realised that I wanted to work in the triathlon industry and not just have it as a hobby. Studying a degree would help me get there.
I started looking into studying in the UK, and after researching the success of triathletes in Leeds/Yorkshire in particular, my heart was set on moving to study in the city of Leeds. That meant leaving everything behind in South Africa and taking a gigantic leap of faith moving across the world. I decided that Leeds Beckett was the place I wanted to be a student, and I have not looked back since.
After being out of education for such a long time, the BSc (Hons) Science of Sport Performance Foundation Year course was a helpful starting point to enhance my academic skills and build up my confidence. I received a huge amount of support from my lecturers, Jamie French, Neil Holmes, Louise Sutton and Dr. Julie Fimusanmi, who were all very helpful in my growth and development. The foundation course made me believe in myself. After completing the course, I was then able to choose to progress to study for an undergraduate degree. I received good grades and secured a place on the Bright Futures Scholarship programme to help me continue my study. 
I have now progressed onto studying BSc (Hons) Science of Sport Performance, and I love it. The Carnegie School of Sport is fantastic, it really does make you feel part of a community and the lecturers really support you. With this degree and the experience, I’ll gain, I believe that I will be employable with all my new skills, and my goal is to work for the English Institute of Sport or British Triathlon as a Performance Lifestyle Advisor. 
I have learnt to be adaptive and flexible; I have always been eager to learn and broaden my horizon. Having attended extra workshops and activities outside of lectures that Leeds Beckett offers, I’ve been able to make some valuable connections for my desired career path. I am also involved with the Leeds Triathlon Centre as part of the Athletic Union (AU) Squad at the University too, which gives me a good insight into the industry.
What once seemed impossible; studying at a university in the UK, gratefully is now my reality. When you put your mind into it, anything is achievable. I got to meet Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee at their Honorary Graduation, the two men who inspired me to give studying at University another go and inspired me to come to Leeds Beckett. It was the icing on the cake after a brilliant first year at Leeds Beckett University.”