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Red Wings fan, world traveller and future sports businessman. This is how I’ve summarized Dylan Hughes in my mind after our half hour interview.
A fourth-year student at St. Thomas University, Hughes is excited to be back at STU this year. He spent last spring studying economics on an exchange, after a suggestion from one of his professors.
“When I first got to Sweden, I honestly didn’t know what to expect” Hughes said.
He spent the semester in Ӧrebro University, about an hour and a half west of Stockholm, five time zones away from Fredericton and a minimum of 16 hours to travel between the two.
“When I got there, everyone was so open-minded and ready to make new connections and new friends. It was very similar to Canada in terms of climate and everyone spoke English which surprised me. Travel is so cheap there.”
During his exchange, Hughes travelled to nine other countries on breaks and on weekends. He went to Norway, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Bosnia, Croatia, Italy, Finland, and Hungary, plus a $3.26 flight to Poland he never took.
The biggest beneficiary of the exchange was his stomach. 21-year-old Hughes was a picky eater before the trip.
“I’ve come back far more cultured in terms of food. I’m far more open to trying new things now. Not only in terms of food, but in my life as a whole. It’s definitely changed me as a person.”
He said he grew a lot while he was away, both physically and mentally. His parents were a great support for him, both in encouraging him to go, and in giving him his space once he got there. Hughes and his parents talked over Skype while he was away, but it wasn’t every day.
“I don’t think my parents wanted me out as soon as I got back, but I think it was three or four days after I got back I was moved out with my friends.”
Hughes spent the summer working for Radian6, a social media monitoring company with an office in Fredericton, and of course, playing soccer.
As the captain of the men’s soccer team at STU, Hughes appreciated being under the wing of the same coaches he works with at STU during the school year.
“They could kind of mold me into the player they wanted me to be during the season. My leadership skills definitely got boosted over the summer and then they named me captain of the team this year.”
Not bad for someone who started playing soccer as a way to keep in shape for hockey.
As much as athletics are a part of his life, Hughes said he knows they’ll only take him so far. School always comes first for him, and he’s making plans for once he graduates this spring.
Hughes is expecting to graduate with a major in economics and a minor in finance. He is currently applying to a Masters of Sports Business program at New York University.
“I want to be my own boss one day. We’ll see where it goes.”