How to Study Abroad as a Student-Athlete

Kelley Wollak is currently a student at University of Nebraska Omaha and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Malaga, Spain.

Being a collegiate student-athlete is a huge dedication of time and effort to not only your sport but your education.  Both being a student-athlete and a student abroad can have enormous benefits to career building and personal growth.  As an athlete, it is daunting to think of leaving to study abroad and miss training, practice and time with your team.  However, I believe you can get the best of both worlds and I have.

This is the gorgeous view from the Alcazaba in Málaga! ISA took us on an excursion up the mountain to see the sights and learn about the history of southern Spain.

 Here are my tips for being a student-athlete abroad:

  1. Pick a Program That is Right for You

As a student-athlete, finding free time in general is tough.  Now try to find enough time to study abroad? It sounds almost impossible.  But, you can do it.  There are plenty of programs of varying lengths, cities and courses.  I only had one month to study. I never thought I would find a program with Spanish language courses, a month in length and within my budget.  But, after a little bit of searching, I found the ISA Malaga Summer program.  The program fit perfectly! There are so many programs out there. After some research, you are bound to find one that fits.

  1. Make a Workout Plan

Before I left for Spain, I got two things from my strength coach.  One: A body-weight work out.  Two: an exercise band.  I didn’t have access to a gym close to where I was living and going to school.  So, I asked for workout I could do with almost no equipment.  Normally, I go out to the beach, do a little workout, run up and down the coast and then take a dip in the Mediterranean Sea.  It sounds like a dream.  Yes, I know.  Last year, I would have laughed in disbelief if someone told me this would be how I was spending my June.  But now, it is my reality.

  1. Stay Connected to Teammates and Coaches

I love being with my team and have an immense connection with them.  I have built trust over the years of working hard and putting the team first.  Telling them that I am traveling abroad and missing the first month of summer workouts was hard.  It is easy to stay connected to my teammates because they are my best friends!  I usually chat with them on a daily basis to see how life is.  I stay connected with my coach through email if there is anything that comes up.  Although I am in another country, I want to know how my team is doing and how summer weights are going.

My biggest advice for any student-athlete that has a dream of studying abroad: do it.  Take the leap.  Find a way to make it work and get the best of both worlds.  Hey, you have already accomplished one dream of becoming a student-athlete.  Now, accomplish another!

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