How One ISA Intern Went from the NBL to the NFL

This post and interview is thanks to Tad Dickman, who was a student at University of Mary Washington. Tad interned with ISA in Sydney, Australia in 2011.

Sydney, Australia

Tad Dickman interned abroad in Sydney, Australia with Australia’s National Basketball League in the summer of 2011. He was a four-year starter on the men’s basketball team at the University of Mary Washington, where he earned an undergraduate degree in business administration.  Tad is now the Communications Coordinator for the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars where he publishes weekly game releases that are used by local and national media and broadcast partners. In this interview, Dickman reflects back on his ISA Internship that got his sports career rolling.

Why did you choose to intern abroad?

I thought that having the opportunity to see the world through a new lens would give me a fresh perspective going into my senior of college. I had always heard great things from the people that did it [study abroad] in the past, but I had no idea that it would have the magnitude it did on my life.

Intern in Australia

How did your internship with the National Basketball League prepare you for your career?

I went into my internship with a very open-minded approach, ready to take on whatever tasks were asked of me. I was still undecided on exactly what I wanted to do for a living and the NBL helped put all of that into motion. I was challenged from the very beginning to perform tasks that were outside of my comfort zone and I am very grateful for that. I realized that public relations fit my personality and I really fell in love with that aspect of the internship. Upon my return to Virginia, I immediately got the ball rolling to make that my career path.

What were some experiences that shaped you when you interned abroad?

Intern in Australia

From a professional sense, the NBL allowed me to travel to Perth (Western Australia) for their international series games between the Australian National Team and China just two weeks into my internship. It allowed me to see the sport at its highest level and work closely with the decision-makers of the organization.

Towards the end of my internship, I traveled (with other ISA interns) to Melbourne, where I got to do a site-visit with the Melbourne Tigers and interview a bunch of the players and front office personnel. Those experiences really helped me get a holistic view for my internship.

From a social sense, having fellow ISA interns living around the country made for an awesome summer. I had a great core unit living with me in Sydney, but we as an ISA Internships unit, make treks to Brisbane, Gold Coast, Newcastle and Melbourne to see other members from the group and to travel the country. It was great having other people that were just as excited by my side for those experiences.

What were some of the keys skills that you learned at your internship?

Specific to my internship and my current career, I learned a lot about dealing with the media and how to handle different situations that arise.

  • It taught me to be composed and even-keeled at all times and to never let the situation get me off my game.
  • The internship and my experience abroad allowed me to be more adaptable, open-minded, and daring. It showed me that being flexible is beneficial in any situation because it allows you to make the most of anything.
  • Having an open-minded approach allows you to appreciate a new culture and new people, without having insecurities or worrying about social differences.
  • Lastly, I think everyone that does an experience like this will find a new level of confidence and courage. You force yourself to assimilate into something foreign to your current understanding, which challenges you in ways you have never seen. You will be placed in situations you have never encountered or know how to handle and that allows you to grow professionally, socially and personally.

Intern in Australia

How did your time abroad impact your feature career?

It honestly showed me what I wanted to do with my life. I found the niche that best fit for me and I never looked back. It was my first glimpse into Sports PR and now I am doing it for a living.

What surprised you most about your ISA Internship?

How fast it flew by. Ten weeks seems like an eternity on paper, but when you’re living out a dream, its remarkable how fast two and a half months can disappear. One thing that helped me with that was keeping a journal and taking a lot of photos. It allowed me to document different things that I was doing and to share those experiences with friends and family back home.

Intern in Australia

If you could sum up your time abroad in one sentence, what would it be?

It felt like I was living a dream.


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