UQ Sport staff participate in capoeira, a type of Brazilian martial art
UQ Sport staff participate in capoeira, a type of Brazilian martial art
20 August 2014

From the Brazilian martial art of capoeira to traditional belly dancing classes, employees at UQ Sport at The University of Queensland are embracing the advantages of working in a multi-cultural workplace.

Staff at UQ Sport represent more than 25 nations, including Fiji, Greece, India, Lebanon, Papua New Guinea, Canada, Poland, Taiwan, Sweden and Zimbabwe.

UQ Sport CEO Bryan Pryde is from Canada and moved to Brisbane in 2003 in search of sunshine and a city that was similar to his home town of Calgary.

Mr Pryde said the benefits of a multi-national team provided many opportunities for staff, the UQ community and people from the surrounding areas.

“We’re proud that UQ Sport’s diversity mirrors both Australia’s and UQ’s culture – knowing that there are about 120 countries, including Australia, represented among continuing and fixed staff at the University,” he said.

“Being able to draw on the international backgrounds and unique heritages of many different countries allows UQ Sport to create new opportunities and experiences for staff, students and the UQ community in the form of internationally-influenced classes and events.”

Mr Pryde said while there was significant cultural diversity among staff at UQ Sport, they all had one particular thing in common – a passion for sport.

“With many nations represented at UQ Sport, it is no surprise that when big world sporting events come around, like the Commonwealth Games, there is a certain level of friendly rivalry,” he said.

UQ Sport recently celebrated Canada Day and the office was decorated in Canadian flags, a wall of fame was created and Canada’s famous maple syrup had a key presence.

UQ Master of Organisational Communication graduate and Brazilian Andreia Virmond worked as a marketing officer at UQ Sport and introduced many staff members to the Brazilian martial art of capoeira.

Ms Virmond said she enjoyed bringing part of her culture to her colleagues through sport.

“Capoeira is a big passion of mine and I am always happy to share it. By introducing it to my colleagues, it gave us an opportunity to have fun together and it gave them a chance to learn more about the Brazilian culture,” she said.

“In my personal experience, I had never felt so proud of my accent and heritage until I had worked at UQ Sport. I had many opportunities to share my culture at work and everyone seemed to have enjoyed these experiences.

“I had a really good experience as a student at UQ and I love sports and the St Lucia Campus, so UQ Sport seemed like a great fit more me.”

Capoeira classes, a type of Brazilian martial arts combining music, dance and acrobatics, are also available to the public and visitors to UQ Sport. For more information on classes at UQ Sport visit the UQ Sport website.

Nationalities known to be represented at UQ Sport are:

  • American
  • Australian
  • British
  • Canadian
  • Chinese
  • Colombian
  • Danish
  • Fijian
  • Filipino
  • Greek
  • Indian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Lebanese
  • Malaysian
  • New Zealand
  • Papua New Guinean
  • Polish
  • Singaporean
  • Slovenia
  • Swedish
  • Taiwanese
  • Vietnamese
  • Welsh
  • Zimbabwean

Media contact: Amy Cox, 07 3346 9618, amyc@uqsport.com.au or Caroline Bird, UQ Communications, 07 3365 1130 or c.bird1@uq.edu.au