Decisions: Study Abroad vs. Winter Sports

“Decisions: Study Abroad vs. Winter Sports”

by Liz Varoli via “The College Voice

Credit: James Lafortezza

Having the opportunity to study abroad during college is one of the main attractions for students who attend Connecticut College. Studying abroad is known to be one of the most amazing times of a student’s college experience. Over 50% of students at Conn take advantage of this opportunity either through programs offered by Conn or through programs offered by other schools.

Traditionally, students choose the fall or spring semester to spend four months learning, traveling and developing as a student in a different country. At Conn, student athletes who play a fall sport are able to study abroad during the spring semester while student athletes who play a spring sport are able to study abroad during the fall semester. Except this academic split between the fall and the spring leaves the student athletes who play winter sports with a challenging decision as the winter sport season is spread over both semesters. Winter sports usually begin Nov 1 and go through the winter break and often through February. No matter which semester winter athletes study abroad, they will be missing a part of their sports season.

The question is: when an athlete commits to play on a winter sports team does it mean s/he automatically sacrificed his/her opportunity to study abroad? Playing a sport at the collegiate level is a huge commitment. Athletes agree to dedicate a large chunk of their time to practices, games and traveling which can jeopardize their schoolwork and social lives. Many people do not realize is that athletes who play winter sports may be jeopardizing some of their educational opportunities. During a sports season, student athletes make the decision to put their commitment to their team before almost everything else. Coaches get angry when their athletes miss practices because an absent teammate can change team dynamics and missing an entire half of a season can put an athlete and their team, at a disadvantage.

In contrast to these expectations, many athletes at Conn have risked this all in order to travel abroad. Many athletes have found that they are able to study abroad while also playing for their teams and maintaining their commitment.  . . . .


Phoenix fights for global perspective: Athletes face obstacles to study abroad

“Phoenix fights for global perspective: Athletes face obstacles to study abroad”

by Kate Murphy via “The Pendulum

When Miles Williams joined the Elon University football team out of high school, he was told players should not study abroad until their eligibility is up. But he chose to take advantage of Elon’s Winter Term his junior year and study abroad in Ghana, which challenged his position on the team when a new coaching staff came in.

“As a program, if you’re going to talk about student-athletes being students first, they should be able to get the whole student experience,” said Williams, a senior captain. “The coach that I asked to go on the trip was fine with me going because he knew the type of leader I was on the team and things I do in the classroom.”

The new coaching staff disagreed.

As result, Williams had to fight to regain respect from his coaches and teammates and complete additional early morning workouts for several weeks. For him, though, it was worth it.“They thought that going abroad for that amount of time was going to be a hindrance to developing cohesion on the team and I guess felt that I wasn’t a good teammate by choosing to go abroad,” Williams said.

Elon University has made a commitment to global engagement, touting the No. 1 undergraduate study abroad program in the nation. This commitment applies to all students, but many student-athletes feel they have less of a chance than others.