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.