University of Colorado
We wanted to bring the experience of being a student-athlete in America even closer to the candidates who are thinking about going there through a sports scholarship, and that is why we talked to Briana Hackos.
Briana was born and has lived in America all her life. Before enrolling in college, she did not have the opportunity to meet people from Europe.
Read about her experience with students from Europe and useful tips for international students that she shared with us.
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?
Hi, my name is Briana. I am a 23-year-old from a small town called York, Pennsylvania, and I love outdoor sports, meditation, and art. For my undergrad, I went to two different Universities. First, I attended the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and then the University of Colorado where I studied math. I played soccer throughout college. It’s a sport I started when I was young-just five years old!
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 is a challenging but rewarding experience. I had to wake up early most days for training, then go to classes, and then return to my dorm to study with little spare time. Although I was the busiest I’ve ever been, I would not trade my experience for anything because I made so many good memories. Playing in the US, where women’s soccer is fairly large, my team was well-funded. Our team traveled all over the country, from New Jersey to Florida, and got the awesome free athletic gear. I also loved game days. Many fans, student-athletes, and parents attended games and there is nothing like playing an exciting game in front of a home crowd!
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 (I mean football but also other sports)?
My University was close to New York City, which attracted student-athletes all over the world, and many student-athletes attended the university from countries like Montenegro, Croatia, and Serbia. That’s another reason why I liked being on a soccer team. I got the chance to meet and become good friends with many international people.
Our agency provides athletes from the Eastern part of Europe to come to study in America, just like some of your teammates came.
4. How many nationalities did your team count? What kind of relationship did you have with those athletes from abroad?
When I played, my team was mostly made up of Americans, but there was one player from each of the countries England, Spain, and Serbia. There were also a few players from Canada. I had really good relationships with the international players, and actually, one of my best friends in college and to this day is my teammate from Serbia.
5. Did you Americans support them during their first days of adaptation? Are you still in contact with those people?
The Americans on my team were supportive of the international players. We helped them transition into America and gave them helpful advice for classes. And, on a team, kindness and support are expressed by actions and body language, too, so language barriers were never an issue. I think it’s true that relationships are made strong through giving and helping, which is probably why I’m still in contact with some international players from my team.
6. Would you like the next generations to experience such a multicultural experience as you did?
I wish for every student to have a similar multicultural experience I did. Coming from a small town, meeting international people opened up my perspective. Most importantly, I learned that people from all over the world are wonderful and that cultural differences are so interesting!
7. What do you remember the most about schooling?
I don’t remember a lot of the details from my classes. For instance, I couldn’t now solve a differential equation if I tried! What I remember most is learning skills helpful in life, like responsibility and punctuality, and also how to interact with people and make connections.
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 want to tell them to be excited about the road ahead. It is tough and will push boundaries, but in the end, studying and playing a sport at an American university is one of the best decisions.