Student-Athletes Share Experiences of Going Abroad in the Fall


When it comes to some of the best experiences Bates has to offer, going abroad allows students to immerse themselves in a completely different environment for an entire semester while they can continue studying and completing classes for the college degree at the same time. For a lot of students, it’s an obvious choice to study abroad, but for student-athletes, the decision sometimes may feel a bit more difficult.

Athletes, speaking from experience, are required to put an extensive amount of effort into their off-season training. Some off-season training includes lifting three to five times a week, training in sport-specific activities, and in general trying to prepare yourself for the season ahead of you.

For many student-athletes, balancing their schoolwork on top of the training demands of a sport can seem daunting when applying to study abroad, but this is not the case for every student-athlete here at Bates.

Syd Brown ‘24, a tennis player, provided her insight on studying abroad in London, England at Queen Mary University. In terms of the amount of training she was doing every week, she said “I spent around four hours training outside match play. I competed in tournaments or university-sponsored matches bi-weekly.”

Of course, like all student-athletes at Bates, the primary focus is school work. Brown mentioned to me that handling work was not difficult because “it was an easy way to make friendships with other student-athletes who appreciated the sport.” 

Coinciding with her school work, finding student-athlete friends whose sport was tennis “made it easy to be able to train and compete with others who were also training for the same sport.”

Jack Brennan ‘24, on the baseball team, shared his experiences while studying abroad in the Netherlands. Brennan mentioned that while he was in Amsterdam, he was “lucky enough to have the opportunity to do lifts/training sessions with the Dutch National Academy three times a week and practices with the Amsterdam Pirates, the provincial team in Amsterdam, every day in season and twice a week during their off-season.”

Scheduling also was not an issue for Brennan because if and when there were any conflicts with his school work and their practices, he would find another way to get his work in. “I would grab a bucket from the Pirates’ facility and hit with other members of the Old World Baseball abroad program I was with,” Brennan said.

All in all, studying abroad is a privilege for everyone to take advantage of, including athletes. For those interested in studying abroad, Brennan said that he is happy he chose to study abroad and added that “it’s really important to fully immerse yourself in the new culture and enjoy your time abroad as much as possible. If you make the decision to prioritize training it can definitely be done, just do your research beforehand on whether you will have access to what your sport requires.”

Both Brown and Brennan are great examples of how anybody, even athletes, is fully capable of experiencing the wonders of a new environment. Ultimately the choice is yours, and if studying abroad is something you are passionate about as an athlete, your resources abroad may be just as helpful as the resources Bates has to offer. as well!