Jennifer Callaghan, who is currently pursuing a master’s degree at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, told us how international students fit in when they come to America. Jenny says that she loves meeting people from other countries, and this summer she even
visited us in Serbia.
‘‘It’s important to step out of your comfort zone and experience new things, especially with people from different cultures and backgrounds’’ – that’s what Jenny is telling all candidates considering going to America through a sports scholarship.
Read more about her experience below.
1. Introduce yourself, tell us something about yourself. Where do you come from? What are you currently doing? Where did you go to college and what did you study? What sport did you play in college? When did you start playing soccer?
My name is Jennifer Callaghan. I am from Nutley, NJ and play for NJIT Women’s Soccer team. I started playing soccer when I was about 5 years old. I just graduated from NJIT with a bachelor degree in Chemical Engineering and I am now pursuing my master’s degree in Engineering Management at NJIT. Due to COVID I am returning for one more season at NJIT as a fifth year while I finish up my master’s.
2. What is it like being a student-athlete? What are the conditions for sports at your college and in your country? Do people follow sports, what does it look like - tell us about the experience?
Being a student-athlete at NJIT is really awesome. It’s not a huge school so the athletic community is pretty tight-knit. A new athletic center and soccer field was built on campus within the past few years making it very nice using the new facilities. Although the school is small, a lot of students and parents come to games and the stand can get pretty full depending on the time of day. Some sports definitely have more support than others but overall each sport has people in their stands at every event.
3. Are all athletes at your university American or were there also athletes from abroad? Were there athletes from Eastern Europe among them and from which countries?
There are actually a lot of International athletes that attend NJIT especially in sports like tennis, fencing, men’s volleyball, and soccer. Out of those internationals there were quite a few from Eastern European countries including Serbia, Montenegro, & Croatia.
4. How many nationalities did your team count? What kind of relationship did you have with those athletes from abroad?
My team had internationals from multiple countries including Serbia, Canada, Spain, England and Ireland. I had a good relationship with almost every international and still keep in contact with more than half of them. Internationals always fit right in on my team and make friends with everyone quickly.
5. Did you Americans support them during their first days of adaptation? Are you still in contact with those people?
All of us Americans were definitely supportive when internationals came and helped them to adjust and even learn more English. I am still in contact with a few internationals that played on my team including a Serbian, Canadian, & Spaniard.
6. Would you like the next generations to experience such a multicultural experience as you did?
I would love to see the next generations to experience a multicultural experience. It’s definitely a different experience and allows you to broaden your horizons and gives you so many friends from so many different places.
7. What do you remember the most about schooling?
I remember hanging out with my teammates and other athletes. College was a lot of fun because of the people I was surrounded by, especially the internationals. College wouldn’t have been the same without my teammates and experiencing so many different cultures.
8. What do you have to say to athletes from Eastern Europe if they are thinking of going to America on a scholarship to study now?
I would seriously recommend going to school in America because not only do you gain so many new friends and experiences but you also make friends for life from so many different places. It’s important to get out of your comfort zone and experience new things especially with people from different cultures and backgrounds. As an American, college was so much better with all the internationals and diversity.