My research looks at the value of football for asylum-seekers that cross the Mediterranean on makeshift boats and arrive in Sicily through precarious journeys.
My aim is to explore barriers to football participation, comprehend the skills that are acquired and then used to facilitate resettlement, and finally contribute to the wider discussion on sport for development and peace.
I hope my research can provide a larger, wider and contextually informed understanding on issues surrounding forced migration. On a practical level, I hope it can increase access to football for the many migrants arriving in Sicily.
Working on my research proposal, I decided that the most interesting place for me to study football and refugee issues was actually my home region, Sicily - I see this as a way to give back to my home, while being far away.
I chose Loughborough for my PhD because I believe it is the University that can provide me the best doctoral training possible in my field of studies - and so far, it really has not disappointed.
The highlights of the course so far have been the exceptional support and mentorship of my supervisors, the expertise at Loughborough, the positive and inspiring environment of the University, and the community of doctoral students, who are all so talented, diverse and fun. I am reminded every day that we are not alone in this PhD journey, and that we can count on each other.
The real highlight of my PhD are my supervisors. As I started my PhD studies during the pandemic, it could have been a difficult time, but my supervisors were there for me in a key initial part of my development as a researcher, and this support has made everything much easier for me. Overall, their support is invaluable and is the key element of my experience at Loughborough.
After graduation, I want to be able to continue to teach and research my favourite topics surrounding sport science, both in sociology and management. I also hope to translate my research into practice, influencing policies to improve the life conditions of my home region and contribute to its overall development.
The international recognition of Loughborough University will really give me a competitive advantage when I start looking for a job after my PhD. At Loughborough I have learned, and I continue to learn, what excellence means. I can now definitely see a clear path for myself to achieve excellence.
My advice to those applying for a PhD is to show your passion, to really say what motivates you and why you are the best person to undertake that specific topic. You will build the competence to move forward in your PhD during your time here, but your passion and commitment are really the base foundations of your involvement and are the key to a successful PhD journey.