The Study Abroad programme at my university, in which I teach a course on soccer and economics to foreign students, has sent this wise message to our overseas partners:
I am writing to you to keep you informed and to respond to enquiries we have received about the situation in Catalonia.
As you will have seen in the news there is a political dispute between the Spanish and Catalan governments and there has been a lot of activity, meetings and demonstrations. These have developed in a peaceful way and while there is debate and discussion there is no reason to fear violence.
The UAB officially inaugurated the course yesterday (news ítem here) and the Study Abroad programme is running as normal. We have reminded the students to be aware and make sure they are safe when they are out and about in the city.
We are also encouraging students and staff to talk about events to understand and learn from this aspect of their Study Abroad experience. These are interesting times!
We will keep you informed. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
I will do my best to encourage my students to talk about events and learn from these interesting times. I am very open to talk about everything related to what is happening in Catalonia in my classes and out of them. Since my course is about soccer and economics in a very general sense, there are actually some specific questions that I would like to discuss with my students:
-FC Barcelona officially promotes the idea that it is "more than a club" because the club has been linked to Catalan nationalism. Is the club in favor of Catalan independence?
-There is some debate about the league in which Barça would play in case of independence. However, Barça officials say they would play in the Spanish league anyway. Does that make sense?
-The Brexit referendum also raised some controversies about the English Premier League and the future of the UK, to which the economist Stefan Szymanski contributed with a blog post? Are there any lessons for Catalonia from the Brexit debate and experience?
-A few Catalan players and managers (Piqué, Guardiola) have expressed their opinions in the Catalan independence debate. These days some sports players in the US are also expressing their political opinions. Are there any similarities? What should be the behavior of sports stars in the political debate?