International Student-Athletes: A Unique Journey to Success

Original story from gopack.com can be found here.

Transitioning from high school to college can be trying for any student, but international student-athletes face a unique set of challenges when they arrive here at NC State. From cultural differences and language barriers, to the myriad of regulations they must follow as both international students and student-athletes, this unique population must find a way to navigate their way to success.

One of the many challenges international student-athletes face at NC State is closely balancing academics and athletics, something many have not had to do before. Julius Duchscherer, a men’s soccer player from Germany, completed his first year at a university in Germany while playing amateur soccer. He had to manage soccer and academics separately, as his team in Germany was not affiliated with the university.  A scholarship to NC State was Duchscherer’s goal and motivation to complete his school work. He explained balancing the two was good practice for his time here. Duchscherer is a business major and hopes to go into the human resources concentration. After he graduates, he hopes to return to Germany to work for his father’s company.

Sara Boric, a women’s basketball player from Bosnia, claims her hardest adjustment her freshman year was the language barrier. When asked if there was anything she would have done differently to ease her transition from Bosnia to America, she says she would have taken another English class or studied the language more. Boric asserts her English has improved since she moved here and continues to progress. The vast size of NC State was also an adjustment for her. Boric explains her first time on a plane was when she moved here for her freshman year. She was so surprised NC State had their own bus system since her small town doesn’t even have one. Boric is currently in Exploratory Studies with plans to go into social work. She hopes to stay in America after graduation.

As far as advice for incoming international student-athletes, Duchscherer recommends talking to other international students and being open to the cultural differences.  Duchscherer and Boric mentioned they would advise future students to make sure they take the time to appreciate the amazing opportunity to represent their school playing the sport they are so passionate about.

Both credit the academic support they have received as well as the support from teammates and coaches as vital in their acculturation to NC State. They each agree they feel supported and taken care of here, and appreciate the opportunity to represent the Wolfpack through their sports.

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