Hello everyone! My name is Stella Carra and I am a tennis student-athlete at Mcneese State University. I am studying my last semester and in May I am graduating from General Business Administration. After spending four years in the United States, I would like to tell you a little about how everything started and my experience there.
Since I was little I started playing tennis. I liked it more and more so I started training more seriously and competing. As the years went by, my passion for tennis grew and became something of my daily life. So many trainings, tournaments, trips and efforts could not be lost when the time came for college. So, when I found out about the possibility of combining studies with sports in the United States, I did not hesitate for a moment. Studying in the United States and practicing the sport that I liked so much was an opportunity worth taking advantage of.
One of the greatest benefits of all this experience is undoubtedly the opportunity to combine studies and sport with a full scholarship. Studying in the United States has changed my life: I have grown personally and athletically. Furthermore, I have been fortunate to meet people and cultures from all over the world.
The first thing I did was contact AGM to find out what my chances of getting a sports scholarship were. I told them about the national ranking I had at that time and they told me that I could get a full scholarship. From there I got down to work and began to prepare all the requirements that were necessary. I posted my video on YouTube, took the SAT and TOEFL tests and started receiving emails from coaches.
Making such a decision did not seem easy to me at first. However, it was not difficult for me to decide to go to Mcneese State University. From the first moment the coach showed a lot of interest on me. I made two Skype video calls with her and both my family and I had a good feeling. She was seen like a very close person, who cared a lot about her players. She also told me that the girls on the team were very nice and they were like a family.
The journey was not easy. I am a very familiar person and saying goodbye to my family and friends was without a doubt the most complicated. However, I knew that I was doing the right thing and that I had to start a new stage and enjoy it to the fullest.
From the moment I arrived in the United States, I was very well received by both the coach and my teammates. I felt sheltered and they made me feel like family from the first moment. I was very lucky, I could count on them for everything I needed.
My university is in the state of Louisiana. It has around 10,000 students so it’s not that big. The campus is very comfortable and I had my accommodation, classes and trainings all about 10-12mins away. The classes are face-to-face but what I like the most is that you organize your classes and schedules. Also, although the university is not very large, it has good facilities. The football field is the second largest in Louisiana after LSU and there is a new basketball and volleyball stadium that is awesome!
The Spanish educational system compared to the American is different. There you don’t have to memorize a lot of information that at the end of the semester you will explain in an exam. In the United States, education is based more on group projects and work. This method has helped me improve my communication skills both to express my ideas and to listen to those of my colleagues.
As for sports, it allows you to compete with people from all over the world. Competing as a team in a sport that is truly individual is something unique. The demand for training and competitions is high but there is a very good atmosphere. Also, my second year we won the Regular Conference and Conference Tournament: it was how to fulfill a dream.
As for sports I will practice tennis and other sports as a hobby. I will leave the competition but I will continue playing for fun and because it serves to disconnect me. I will do sports whenever I can because it is part of my life. As for the professional, I want to continue training and take advantage of all the opportunities that arise.
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