Linfield provides the wonderful opportunity to study abroad and even pays for airfare for those not required to study abroad for their major. But, there are many obstacles that could hinder the decision to study abroad for students, especially those who compete in sports for Linfield.
But many student athletes took advantage of this chance and traveled all over the world. Athletes from baseball, softball, swimming, women’s tennis and track and field all participated in semester and January term trips abroad.
In missing a semester, or even Jan term, athletes miss out on off season training that will prepare them for the season.
Some student athletes who traveled abroad for the fall semester were juniors AJ Wagner, Kelly Watanabe, Erin Erbin, Joe Stevick, and Grace Middlestadt. Several athletes also traveled during Jan term.
For tennis teammates Watanabe and Erbin, practicing was difficult due to their location in Costa Rica.
“When I started thinking about studying abroad a couple of my main concerns were how I was going to practice tennis while abroad and also how I was going to keep in shape as well,” Watanabe said. “I brought my rackets down to Costa Rica with me thinking that I would have the opportunity to play a few times during the semester. I even had [Emily] with me in Costa Rica so it would have been perfect if there were courts close to where we lived. We unfortunately never had the opportunity to since tennis is not a common sport at all in Costa Rica therefore finding a court to play on was pretty difficult.”
For Wagner, practicing for swimming in Costa Rica was difficult and upon his return he was quickly thrown back into his old routine with the help of his teammates.
“It interfered with swimming because I didn’t have a pool, teammates or coaches accessible to me in Costa Rica,” Wagner said. “I trained by running daily for aerobic exercise; however, I didn’t swim laps a single time. I got tossed into training immediately upon returning from Costa Rica. It was difficult after having not swam at all for four months, but having teammates helped me get back into it.”
Despite the difficulties many athletes have due to studying abroad, they wouldn’t give up their experiences for their sports.
“I think it’s important for student-athletes to take the opportunity to study abroad because for most people, they have a few years in college to play their sport but, depending on the program, there’s only a year or a semester to study in a different country out of your fours years at Linfield. It’s also unlikely that there will be another opportunity like this,” Watanabe said.
“I may have missed out on four months of training and practicing for tennis, but right as I got home I made it one of my top priorities and after just a month of practice, I feel that I’m right back into and feel so prepared for this season.”
Kaylyn Peterson/Managing editor