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International student-athletes weigh in on life in the states

L-R%3A+Mercy+Rivera%2C+Jana+Potic%2C+Ada+Guilera+Martinez
L-R: Mercy Rivera, Jana Potic, Ada Guilera Martinez

L-R: Mercy Rivera, Jana Potic, Ada Guilera Martinez

Victoria Perini

Victoria Perini

L-R: Mercy Rivera, Jana Potic, Ada Guilera Martinez

Victoria Perini, Staff Writer

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The United States is known worldwide for being the country with the biggest international student community, with over a million young adults wanting to come here every year in hopes of getting a high quality education.

This number continually grows every year, and it’s no different here at AIC. However, not all of them come just to study.

College sports are massive in America, having over 460,000 student-athletes – 17,00 of those being international – playing in 24 sports at National Collegiate Athlete Association.

The life of a student-athlete is not easy – managing school time and assignments can be a hard task for anyone attending college. When practices, lifting and games are added to schedule, that adds to what can be a hectic lifestyle.

It takes a lot of effort, hard work and determination to be a student-athlete. On top of that, if you are from another country, sometimes the language barrier can be a bother, though it’s very important to keep your grades up as students can only play with a certain GPA.

Not only is it important to strive for success both in the classroom and on the field, but adjusting to a new and different culture as well as way of living is essential to have an uneventful four years of college.

This year, the AIC Women’s Volleyball team added two more international students to the group, now totaling five foreigners.

One international athlete is Jana Potic, a 20 year-old sophomore from Belgrade, Serbia, who is finding the new environment fun and exciting.

“Coming all the way from Serbia, I can really say that I’ve enjoyed my time in the states,” Potic said.

“It’s a huge difference, not only in life standard but also in a society and even in volleyball. Everything I experienced so far was really amazing, I got a lot of new opportunities and I have much more experience,” Potic added.

As for adjusting to the country and being a student-athlete, Potic noted, “my motto is take advantage of everything that America has to offer and always be positive. If you have good approach, you will easily manage school and sports.”

Another international member of the team is Mercy Rivera, a 21 year-old Psychology and Criminal Justice major. She is a senior from Canovanas, Puerto Rico.

“College in America is better than back home because Puerto Rico is not economically stable. At the moment, there have been a lot of funds cuts to schools and colleges. Here I don’t have to worry about my school closing,” Rivera said.

International newcomer Ada Guilera Martinez, a freshman from Barcelona, Spain, also spoke about the differences between being a student-athlete in the USA and her home country.

“Student-athlete programs don’t exist in my country,” Guilera Martinez said. “Athletes have to go to class and then join a sports club to practice. There are university leagues, but teams don’t practice everyday like in America. Also, you don’t have to make your schedule based on your practice. Your schedule is created based on the grade you had on your exam to go to college.”

Last year, the AIC Women’s Volleyball team had an historical season, winning the Northeast-10 Conference, NCAA East Region Championship and making their first Elite Eight appearance.

This year in a Preseason Coaches’ Poll, AIC was picked to win the conference.

Potic said those kinds of things make her even more geared up to be here.

“l’m very excited for the following season,” Potic said. “Last year was amazing and we accomplished our goals, but I believe in my team and think we can do even better this year by winning the conference and getting the ring.”

Potic was NE-10 Rookie of the Year on her first season.

As for Rivera’s expectations, she states “I want to give my team all that I have since this is my last season as a collegiate student. I want to help my team win our Conference and Regionals again. I also want to help the younger players for the next season to come.”

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International student-athletes weigh in on life in the states