International Athletes Experience Culture Shock

By on October 8, 2008

The main reason for international athletes to come to America is because Universities in Europe and around the world do not offer sports teams. In order to continue their sport, the athlete would have to make additional time to play for an outside team.

“I remember studying for exams on car rides to my soccer games,” said Nick Pelicean, “American Universities are better for athletes because they offer both education and sports teams in the same environment which makes it easier to balance.”

As United States college students, many of us forget that there are other forms of education around the world. Quinnipiac can be especially sheltering at times and can resemble a small glass bubble where we all live nine months out of the year.

“Quinnipiac is very different from Universities in Sweden,” said Andreas Hansson, a sophomore international student and soccer player. “Students (in Sweden) go to class and then they go home, they do not get the full college experience of living in the community.”

Learning how to live in that college community can be a difficult transition for many college freshmen, but for Kevin Bui, a twenty one year old freshman Hockey player from Canada, the switch to college life has been smooth.

“Compared to living on my own,” said Bui, “this is a piece of cake.”

The international students feel like they have more free time at American Universities. The school system in their homeland was more time consuming and all-encompassing. They have been spending that extra time focusing on socializing and enjoying college life.

“(In Belgium), drinking is an accepted social activity,” said Pelicean, “So teenagers rarely drink just to get drunk.”

Clearly, here in the United States, binge drinking is a major problem on many college campuses. It is creating such a problem that some university presidents are trying to pass a petition for the drinking age to be lowered to 18, with hopes of eliminating binge drinking. They believe that if teenagers grow up with alcohol around they will become accustomed to it at a younger age, and will not feel the need to drink to become intoxicated.

Along with getting a feel for the American lifestyle, the international students are also learning to differentiate stereotypes from reality. Unfortunately, many images of the United States that other countries see do not always resemble the truth.

“When I visited Los Angeles I was expecting everyone to look like movie stars,” said Hansson, “I was surprised how dirty it was and the amount of homeless people.”

We never stop to think how our lifestyle differs from other parts of the world. We do not question how others perceive our lifestyle, or if their perceptions are wrong. It is important to embrace other cultures and ways of life in other countries. I encourage all of you to learn something new about another country and see how it differs from the ways we are accustomed to in the United States. You’ll be surprised how much will be different, even the little things that we take for granted.


About Lindsay Roberts