Calumet College of St. Joseph takes pride in the diversity around campus. Students-Athletes from different parts of the world have come to CCSJ to continue their academic and athletic careers.
As different as the United States may be from their home countries, it has become their home away from home.
Every year, it seems a new athlete from a new country joins the CCSJ family.
The CCSJ softball team signed its first international player, Josselline Monge, who arrived from Guatemala earlier this semester. Monge is studying biomedicine and says her goal is take what she learns back to Guatemala to help her people.
“Guatemala is a poor country. I wanted to go to college to be able to help those less fortunate in my country and make a difference in their lives,” Monge says.
Monge’s experience in the U.S. has been a shock for her so far due to the differences she’s seen here than that of Guatemala.
“In my country, it isn’t safe to be walking places whereas here you can pretty much walk anywhere and be okay. Everyone is also so nice here. My teammates are great, and I’m excited to see what else is in store,” Monge says.
Monge adds depth to CCSJ’s team’s rotation due to her experience pitching for the Guatemala national softball team and is expected to play a huge role.
Connor Power is another international student, hailing from Mandurah, Western Australia. Power currently serves as the goalkeeper for the CCSJ soccer team and also feels the pangs of being thousands of miles away from home.
“One of the hardest obstacles about moving to the states was being away from family and being on my own for the first time. I rarely I get to see my family in person, but I am able to see them through Skype.”
Power’s recommendation to international students is to make friends with the local and the other international students.
“Take as much in as possible to learn about where you live and make friends with other local college and foreign students. This makes the transition into America that much easier and you also learn how other survive as well as learn about the surrounding area,” Power says.
Many international students have come to CCSJ and are now where they dreamt coming to the States would take them. Ex-CCSJ baseball player Andres Rondon, who moved from Venezuela, currently serves as a strength and conditioning coach for the Chicago Cubs thanks to the help he received from his teachers at CCSJ.
“Because of my teacher, Rachel Luehrs, I realized how much potential I had in the field I chose and knew exactly what I wanted to do,” Rondon says.
Like Power, Rondon saw his share of struggles when he first moved away from his native country.
“My collegiate career began during the economic crisis my country was facing. During my third and fourth year of school I had difficulties paying the tuition [costs] beyond my scholarship. I’m really thankful for the school because they were very understanding about the situation, and I was able to obtain my degree.”
Rondon says coming to CCSJ was the best time of his life.
“International students should come with an open mind and eager to learn not only about school’s subjects but also about the culture in the United States. Try to soak in as much information and enjoy it.”
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