Can I study abroad as an athlete?
Yes! Athletes are encouraged to study abroad just as much as any other liberally educated student. Lawrence students are, above all, students first. Students are encouraged to speak with their coaches and academic advisors and find a time that works best with both their academic plan and athletics schedule.
In addition, there are some other things athletes in particular can gain from studying abroad.
The trimester calendar is advantageous for athletes going abroad.
We have program options ranging from term, semester and academic year programs. You can choose to go any time that works well with your academic schedule and athletics schedule. As part of the Lawrence application process, you will meet with your academic advisor to discuss your course options off-campus and how your time off campus will work with your individual major. As an athlete, we encourage you to speak with your coach as well.
"Studying in London is basically a tradition for the basketball team. 10 weeks is the perfect amount of time to be abroad. There were lots of opportunities to play in different countries and meet new people." -Owen Mitchell '19- Basketball- LU London Centre
"Studying abroad has been something I have always dreamed of doing, but as a committed athlete, I was worried studying abroad would require I miss my softball season. However, thanks to Lawrence’s trimester system, I was able to study abroad and still fully participate in my sport! My abroad experience taught me leadership, dedication, and teamwork skills that I am able to apply to my sport and in turn, I am a better athlete and teammate." -Emilia Jackson '20- Softball- IES Music: Tradition and Innovation in Milan, Italy
Training abroad is possible in either gyms in your host institution or community or via independent personal training advised by your coach at Lawrence.
Working with your coach, it is possible to continue training in your off-season abroad. Many international institutions will have gyms and other training facilities for your use. You can craft a plan with your coach in advance or potentially work with trainers at your host institution. If this is something you desire to do, please speak with the Off-Campus Programs Office in advance so we can see what coaching resources are available to you in your program of choice.
"The trimester calendar has allowed me to go abroad for a term without missing any in season practices or games, which was important to me in my decision to go abroad. And once abroad in Amsterdam, I have been able to keep up with my sport in other new and exciting ways. The place where I live has its own gym to keep up with weight training outside of softball. But by far my favorite way of making sure I’m ready to jump into our season when I get back, has been the biking culture in the Netherlands. The Dutch bike everywhere. To school, the grocery store, to meet up with friends, and for leisure. It’s the fastest way to get anywhere, you get a quick workout in, and it is super fun! Using the gym has allowed me to connect to other athletes and students studying here, while biking has allowed me to connect to the locals. This has really shown me that you can train for your sport in many different and fun ways! I might even find myself biking to practices once I get back to Lawrence." -Lexi Angemi '20- Softball- ACM Amsterdam
Participating in sports abroad can help you to make friends with similar interests and get to know more local people.
Students can also elect, at some institutions, to participate in clubs or competitive sports while they are abroad. This will allow you to not only continue to practice your sport, but also be a great outlet for you to meet local students outside of the classroom. If students choose to compete in competitive sports abroad, please speak with the Director of Athletics at Lawrence to be sure that participation is in compliance with NCAA regulations.
"I found running in London to be a great experience that really helped me get to see and know the city and its people. I found ten weeks to be the perfect amount of time to study and train abroad. This way, I only missed indoor track and escaped the cold, snowy runs that come with it. To top it off, I got to visit Olympic Park and cheer for many Olympic medalists in the London Half Marathon!" -Aaron Arthur '20- Cross Country and Track and Field- LU London Centre
Learning about the work/life/sport balance in another culture can give you a new perspective on your own training and identity as an athlete.
The United States is most often a culture that allows people to identify with what they enjoy doing. Many student athletes take pride in their sport(s) being a large part of their identity and their team being an extended family. Getting a chance to join such a close knit group abroad will give you the opportunity to get closer to your host culture outside of the classroom. It could also afford you the opportunity to learn how other cultures view athletics and what it means to train and be an athlete. This can be a very valuable personal learning experience to understand your identity on a global scale.
Taking a term off can help you to avoid burnout.
“At Lawrence, I am so much more than an athlete, and I am a student-athlete where the student part really comes first. Studying abroad was an integral part of my academic experience and allowed for personal growth that makes me a better athlete and leader on my team today. I found that my coach was supportive of my decision to go abroad because he understood the academic and personal value this experience could have for me. While it was not always easy, I was able to train and stay in shape during my time in Dakar. It was actually a great way for me to feel comfortable and like a local in the city as I ran on a route that was frequented by many other runners. Mentally, before I went abroad I was in a bit of a rut training where it felt more like a chore than an activity that I chose to do. My time abroad made me think about why I run and compete. I actually have a distinct memory of running on the beach in Toubab Dialaw where I was like "this is why I love running and this is why I do what I do." The time away gave me a whole new outlook and focus in athletics that really was beneficial. I feel in love with running and competing again. Since coming back, I have had some of my best season at Lawrence and improved significantly, in part I think, because I had the time away to re-focus and re-commit myself to the craft of running.” -Molly Doruska '19- Cross Country and Track and Field- LU Francophone Seminar in Dakar, Senegal
"For me there was never really a great time to study abroad because track was a year around sport. I decided to go abroad during outdoor season, which was difficult because of how important outdoor is for track. However, when I went abroad I was feeling really burned out as an athlete and a student. Traveling abroad gave me the opportunity to take a break from athletics. I did not train while abroad and instead enjoyed having time off. While I was abroad, I was able to become closer to one of my teammates who was from a different event field and also came back to campus refreshed and ready to compete. I think going abroad as a student athlete is a very rewarding experience and one that I was fortunate enough to have. " -Brenna Ori '17- Track and Field- LU London Centre
"Study abroad allowed me to take a break from sports and take a step back before my all-important senior season. Although I didn't play at all while I was abroad, there were many opportunities to do so if I wanted. It's very empowering to be able to choose and give yourself a break if you need it." -Annie Harincar '19- Tennis- IES Salamanca, Spain
**If you are a student athlete that has studied abroad and would like to share your experience with other student athletes on this page, please contact the Off-Campus Programs Office.