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Study and Play: University scholarships

STUDY AND PLAY

The protagonists

Jan Pallarés

"Study and Play Scholarship. University of Memphis"

“In the USA everything is perfectly organised to help students and athletes”

The University is incredible. We have great facilities and many things to do. In fact, here in the USA everything is perfectly organised to help students and athletes. The other students are very supportive, helping out with anything you need and in training we all cheer each other on to make sure we all give our best.

The classes are more interesting and enjoyable than in Spain, we use many online resources and this helps with our studies. The teachers do everything they can to help the students get the best possible grade, and they have even given us the chance to repeat exams in certain cases.

Without doubt, I’m enjoying the tennis more than anything. The training is very intense and at a very high level. I feel really good, I’ve considerably improved my serve, volley and the mental aspects of my game.

I live in a shared house with three of my tennis teammates, which has its advantages and disadvantages. On one hand I have to responsible and do the things that my parents had always taken of, but on the other hand I like it because I’m learning to cook and to be more independent.

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Jan Pallarés

Màrius Castellà

"Study and Play Scholarship. Missouri Valley College"

“I’m doing things that I’ve never done before”

What I’m enjoying most is the independence that I have here; I make all my own decisions and decide what I want to do at all times, and this is helping me to grow up and to learn. I’m doing things that I’ve never done before: all of the university paperwork, the process to open a bank account, taking care to keep everything organised, etc.

My day to day life here is basically studying and training. I have classes in the mornings and then after lunch I normally have some time to relax until around 3 in the afternoon, which is when we start training. We have the weekends free and I tend to do things with my friends like watching other sports at the university, or going for coffee, etc.

Life on campus is very nice, we’re all young and there are all kinds of people. In general, it’s a very enjoyable experience.

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Màrius Castellà

Berta Masdevall

"Study and Play Scholarship. University of Wisconsin Milwaukee"

“I love feeling and being part of a team”

All of my friends and coaches are very nice and have made me feel very welcome in the team. My main coach is really special, I’m very happy with him, he always helps me with everything, he takes care of me and I can really count on him; and my second coach is very nice and even speaks Spanish.

What I’m most enjoying is the tennis. From my point of view it has gone from being an individual to a team sport, and this means that I feel so much more when I win or lose a match. I love feeling and being part of this team. Thanks to this I am enjoying tennis even more here than I was in Spain.

Life on the campus is good. I have a double room but no roommate, so I have plenty of space, but in reality I don’t spend much time there. When I’m not in class, I’m on court or in the library studying, so I tend to arrive quite late to my room.

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Berta Masdevall

Eva Miralles

"Study and Play Scholarship. Augusta State University"

“It’s a pleasure to be able to study and train at the same time”

One of the things that has most impressed me about American universities is how much they value student-athletes. I already knew that they were treated differently than in Spain, but until you experience it for yourself you can’t really believe it.

What I’m enjoying most about this experience is the chance to combine tennis, studies and a completely independent life, where I am the one making my own decisions. It’s a pleasure to be able to study and train at the same time every day.

When you are living at home you get used to having your parents helping you with most things, but once you start to live alone you realise how much work there is. Now I have to prepare my food every day, clean the apartment, etc. Sharing an apartment with your roommates means that you are able to live your life how you want to, whilst always taking into account your obligations.

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Eva Miralles

Marta Fernando

"Study and Play Scholarship. Cumberland Universtity"

“What I like most is the atmosphere in the team”

What I like most is the atmosphere in the team; we all get on really well, so training is always fun. What impressed me most on the academic side is that we already had our work deadlines and exam dates from the very beginning, everything is very well-planned.

My typical day starts early. Three days a week I get up at 6.20am to go to and work out, afterwards I have classes every morning and I train at 3.30pm from Monday to Friday.

Once that’s finished, three days a week I have conditioning. A quick shower, dinner and homework before relaxing a little before going to bed.

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Marta Fernando

Anna Daniel

"Study and Play Scholarship. Western Illinois University"

“Everything is designed to help you”

I’d Heard that American universities treat athletes really well, but it was only once I got here that i realised just how much they appreciate us. It’s a pleasure to go to classes and to tennis training because they help you to combine both perfectly. There are no problems with schedules and everything is designed to help you.

Although the Americans tend to stay indoors there are always loads of free events on campus: archery, marathons, hot air balloon displays...it’s always good to do different activities during the weekend and it helps you to integrate into the group.

At first I found it a little difficult to adapt to life on campus, as it was very different to life at home. I had to be a lot more responsible, but it helped me to grow as a person. Now I feel like I’m at home here.

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Anna Daniel

Aintzane Castarlenas

"Study and Play Scholarship. Vincennes University"

Jumping towards my dreams

My name is Aintzane, I’m 19 years old, from Barcelona, and I am a pole vaulter. At this point in my life I’m living a dream come true: I’m in the second year of studying at university in the United States, which is something that I’ve really wanted to do ever since I was small.

Pole vaulting is my passion and this sport is what enabled me to obtain a scholarship to study my degree in physics – my other passion – at the University of Vicennes in the state of Indiana. Another thing that I’d always wanted to do was to learn English, and now that’s also a reality. The experiences that I am having here in the United States are incredible, and I will never regret deciding to embark upon this adventure.

Despite getting a good scholarship thanks to my pole vaulting, the scholarship offered by the University was not complete, so although I was close to achieving what I had always hoped for, I couldn´t go. Luckily for me, the Rafa Nadal Foundation granted me an additional scholarship thanks to the Study and Play project, which enabled me to jump the highest bar of my life and cross the Atlantic to makes my dreams come true.

Now my daily routine at Vincennes University consists of clases every morning, training in the afternoon, and afterwards going to work. Although my chosen subject is not easy and I occasionally have to study late into the night, I am passionate about that I am studying and learning and so I always feel that’s worthwhile. Now I have found a job as a personal teacher of physics and calculus, so I am also having my first experience of employment in this country. On top of that, I have just finished the athletics pre-season and am now starting to jump.

I love going to train with the jumping team as everyone supports each other. I’m dying to start competing again! Last year I travelled a lot thanks to the competitions. My best event was probably in Texas, where I finished second in the Nationals! Although I didn’t improve on my best mark, I did improve my technique a lot and I am sure that all of the work I have been doing throughout the last year will bear fruit in the next semester.

During the first year, I have gotten to know the culture and the people, I’ve learned a language and have made great friends from all over the world, many of whom are living the same as experience as I am, and it’s incredible. The university league has enabled me to travel, to get to know other States, take part in high level competitions and get to know some great athletes.

After my first year, my evaluation is totally positive. I would encourage anyone that wants to study and train at the same time to go through this process. I’m already very motivated and looking forward to seeing what lies ahead in my second year in the United States.

Many thanks to the Rafa Nadal Foundation for believing in me.

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Aintzane Castarlenas
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