BY NICOLAS CORTES
It is becoming more common to hear different languages in the halls of Cunningham Hall on the Fort Hays State University campus. Student-athletes from around the world have the opportunity to combine study and sport at the same time at FHSU.
There are currently 23 international student-athletes at FHSU. These students converge in Hays from five different continents globally to wear a Tiger uniform every season. Currently, these international athletes are practicing and preparing for upcoming or future athletic events with hopes to arrive in the best condition when the competition returns after COVID-19.
Apart from performing in practices and competition, FHSU athletes also have to serve in the classroom, achieving good grades and attendance. However, in the case of international student-athletes, many extra factors are challenging to bear. The psychological factor of being away from home is very complicated.
“When you have a problem and need to talk to people you trust, you only have the phone to communicate with your family,” FHSU men’s soccer defender and Netherlands native, Puck Langenveld said. “The distance from my country is, without a doubt, the most difficult thing about being at FHSU.”
Besides, all the new settings, experiences such as language, training, and culture also cause challenges.
“The most difficult part about being an international student-athlete is adjusting to a new training regimen, while also being resilient and listening to our body at the same time, which can be difficult considering our new life,” French track and field athlete Guillaume Plagneux said.
All international students bring diversity and input from different cultures to the Fort Hays State University campus.
“I am really grateful to have international students on our campus,” FHSU’s International Recruitment & Intercultural Integration Director Mehran Sahidi said. “ FHSU International athletes bring more diversity, not only on the playing field, but in the classroom as well.”
To assist in the adaptation of all types of first-year international students, International Students Services holds a seminar three times a week for these students. They help them adapt both psychologically and academically to this new life.