We talked to Ana Popov from Novi Sad, who graduated from college in America on a sports scholarship.
Read what experience Ana had in America and what she does after college. She made an effort to describe her experience of what it looks like to play sports and study at an American university to all candidates who are interested in this program.
1. Introduce yourself, tell us something about yourself.
My name is Ana Popov, I was born in Novi Sad, and I am 27 years old. I currently work and live in London. I am employed in elementary school as a professor of PE, and in addition, I work as a female football coach at QPR (Queens Park Rangers) Academy.
From 2013 to 2019, I was at Oklahoma Wesleyan University in America, where I played soccer and completed my undergraduate studies in Sports Management and then my Master of Business Administration.
2. How did you decide to continue your education and sports career in America?
America has always been my dream because it is the only country where athletes can focus, at the same time, on their sports careers and studies.
3. Evaluate the conditions for sports in America from 1 to 10, and how would you compare the conditions for sports in America with the ones in Serbia?
I would give the conditions for sports in America a rating of 9.5, so it's not exactly a 10. Ha-ha. I don't think it makes sense to compare the conditions for sports in Serbia with the conditions for sports in America, because that is a completely different dimension. When you are an athlete at one of the universities, you are provided with everything, from breakfast, through the gym and rehabilitation, to dinner and help with schooling. In translation, they hold you like a little water in the palm of their hand, and in return they ask you to do your best in every training session and game, which is normal for you as an athlete.
4. Was it difficult for you to adjust to life in America and balance studying and sports obligations? Do professors have an understanding for athletes?
It was not easy to adjust, but not because of obligations, but because you left your friends and family somewhere far away and went to a whole new world where a lot of things are different. It took me a year to get used to a different mentality, language and lifestyle, and after that everything went very well.
As for obligations, when you are in the soccer season, which is in the fall semester, you are quite busy and it is important to organize your days well. Classes are from 8 a.m. to about 2 to 3 p.m., depending on your schedule and day. This is followed by training, dinner, then the library and doing homework. The games are 2-3 times a week where you have to miss classes. The professors have a lot of understanding and I have never had a problem with that. The only thing they are asking for is to communicate in time which day we will be absent, and if we have a test that day, to do it the day before
5. How would you rate the entire experience in America, what do you remember best, and is this program something you recommend to others?
I would rate my entire experience in America with a ten. My fondest memories are traveling to matches with the team, as well as meeting new people from different parts of the world, with whom I am still in contact today.
I would recommend the entire program to anyone brave enough to embark on an adventure from which they will emerge as completely different people, learn a new language, or maybe even two, meet lifelong friends and play football or any other sport at the highest level.
I would recommend the program of Athletic Scholarships to anyone brave enough to embark on an adventure from which they will emerge as completely different people, learn a new language, or maybe even two, meet lifelong friends and play football or any other sport at the highest level.Ana Popov, soccer player
6. What advice do you have for young athletes who are thinking about going to study in America through a sports scholarship?
My advice to young athletes is not to let fear and obstacles such as language skills and separation from friends and family prevent them from going to university in America. They will always be in Serbia or any other country from which they are. There will be someone who will be waiting for them and where they will be able to return, and if they miss the first opportunity to leave and such an experience as America provides, they may not get a second chance.
Just be brave and go ahead!