A Long Way From Home

OLLU student-athletes overcome the challenges of adjusting to the American lifestyle.

By Catalina Sanchez

SAN ANTONIO, TX- International student-athletes not only give a new life perspective to their peers, but enhance the learning environment within intercollegiate athletic programs. Many Our Lady of the Lake University International student-athletes like Josh Sturt from England come to the United States on athletic and/or academic scholarships. As if moving to another country is not difficult enough, the environmental changes are crucial to one’s sport. One major challenge OLLU tennis player, Gabriel Arcirio Braga, had to face when arriving to Our Lady of the Lake University is the difference in tennis courts. Arcirio Braga explains that in Brazil the tennis courts are “clay, and here the courts are fast courts”. As a result, Arcirio Braga has had to “completely [change] the way [he] plays, and [is] still trying to adapt”. In addition, adjusting to a new culture can be somewhat of a burden.

International student-athletes not only give a new life perspective to their peers, but enhance the learning environment within intercollegiate athletic programs. Many Our Lady of the Lake University International student-athletes like Josh Sturt from England come to the United States on athletic and/or academic scholarships. As if moving to another country is not difficult enough, the environmental changes are crucial to one’s sport. One major challenge OLLU tennis player, Gabriel Arcirio Braga, had to face when arriving at Our Lady of the Lake University is the difference in tennis courts. Arcirio Braga explained that in Brazil the tennis courts are “clay, and here the courts are fast courts.” As a result, Arcirio Braga has had to “completely (change) the way (he) plays, and (is) still trying to adapt.” In addition, adjusting to a new culture can be somewhat of a burden.

According to Sturt and Arcirio Braga health is their number one priority; however, with their busy schedules these student-athletes find it difficult to eat healthy. In both England and Brazil students express their shock toward the amount of junk food the United States contains. Due to the lack of access of a kitchen to cook their own meals and the cafeteria selling “not enough healthy food” it is simply “impossible” to maintain a healthy lifestyle, Arcirio Braga said. Despite their struggles, moving to the United States has been a great experience, so far for these OLLU Saints.

Regardless of the distance these student-athletes feel as though San Antonio is the “ideal location, a big city where there is plenty to do/see in your spare time and the weather is warm all year round,” Sturt said. Both OLLU athletes convey their longing for exploration and making a life for themselves in a new location. “I had been looking forward to moving out (of my) home for awhile; not because I do not enjoy it back home, but I thought it was time I grew up and took a big step forward in maturity,” Sturt said. Granted, the distance is tough on both their families and themselves, their families ultimate goal is to do what is “best for them.” At “some point we all have to fly out of the nest and grow up,” Sturt said. With the ambition of becoming professionals in their sports these OLLU student-athletes strive for greatness in and out of the classroom in the hopes of graduating with a high GPA.

During Arcirio Braga’s time here at Our Lady of the Lake University he expresses his ambition to win the tennis conference with his team every year and Sturt voices his aspiration of being able to play in some of the biggest amateur golf competitions. Although the OLLU students are fond of living in the United States and realize that creating a new life here “would be nice” both plan to go back to their home countries one day.

According to Sturt and Arcirio Braga health is their number one priority; however, with their busy schedules these student-athletes find it difficult to eat healthy. In both England and Brazil students express their shock toward the amount of junk food the United States contains. Due to the lack of access of a kitchen to cook their own meals and the cafeteria selling “not enough healthy food” it is simply “impossible” to maintain a healthy lifestyle, Arcirio Braga said. Despite their struggles, moving to the United States has been a great experience, so far for these OLLU athletes.

Regardless of the distance these student-athletes feel as though San Antonio is the “ideal location, a big city where there is plenty to do/see in your spare time and the weather is warm all year round,” Sturt said. Both OLLU athletes convey their longing for exploration and making a life for themselves in a new location. “I had been looking forward to moving out [of my] home for awhile; not because I do not enjoy it back home, but I thought it was time I grew up and took a big step forward in maturity” Sturt said. Granted, the distance is tough on both their families and themselves, their family’s ultimate goal is to do what is “best for them”. At “some point we all have to fly out of the nest and grow up,” Sturt. With the ambition of becoming professionals in their sports these OLLU student-athletes strive for greatness in and out of the classroom in the hopes of graduating with a high GPA.

During Arcirio Braga’s time here at Our Lady of the Lake University he expresses his ambition to win the tennis conference with his team every year and Sturt voices his realistic aspiration of being able to play in some of the biggest amateur golf competitions. Although the OLLU students are fond of living in the United States and realize that creating a new life here “would be nice [both] plan to go back [to their home countries] one day.

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