The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

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International students athletes talk about adjusting to EIU

Eastern athletics is comprised of a wide variety of students and faculty from places all over the United States.

But did you know just how many international students take part in athletics here? Truthfully, I had no clue until I asked the question. The answer is more than you think.

I asked some of the international students a few questions about where they were from and how they had adjusted to being in a country they aren’t from.

Freshman middle blocker Julia Stanev, middle, said she misses her family and friends back in her hometown of Reggio Emilia, Italy. (File)

One of those students I asked questions was Julia Stanev, a freshman middle blocker on the volleyball team.

Stanev’s from Reggio Emilia, Italy, and she’s been in the United States for only three months.

“I was born and raised in Italy,” Stanev said. “I moved to different cities and left home at a young age to play volleyball. I miss my family and friends, but I hope I’ll visit more places.”

She says that her time here at Eastern is her first time ever being to the United States.

“I had a lot of culture shock when I came here but the biggest thing is the food,” Stanev said. “Another thing is the style.”

Stanev, in her three months here, has helped the volleyball team obtain a 19-2 record with eight games left in the regular season.

Midfielder Jesse da Costa (35) has lived in Western Australia and Ireland before coming to Eastern to play men’s soccer. (File)

I also talked to Jesse da Costa, a senior midfielder on the men’s soccer team.

Da Costa’s hometown is Perth, Western Australia. Like Stanev, he also has moved to a variety of different cities.

“I lived in Perth for 18 years prior to coming to the US,” da Costa said. “I also lived in Ireland for just under a year in 2008. I’ve been here since August of 2019 but returned home during the height of COVID for about 10 months. Before EIU, I attended a community college in Jamestown, NY.”

Da Costa noted that he was introduced to American life through watching the same shows as American kids did when he was a kid.

“The only time I’ve really been in shock is whenever I visit major cities,” Da Costa said. “They’re so much bigger than the city I grew up in, and I thought that was huge.”

Da Costa also mentioned some things that he misses about his home in Perth.

“The biggest thing I miss about home is my family,” Da Costa said. “I come from a fairly big family and my siblings have started to have kids which makes us even bigger. I also miss meat pies. I feel bad for people who have never had a good meat pie. They’re the best food on the planet.”

Sophmore forward Bat-Od Buman-Uchral says one of the biggest things he misses from his hometown of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia is his mother’s home-cooked meals. (File)

Finally, I talked with Bat-Od Burman-Uchral, a sophomore forward and teammate of Da Costa. Buman-Urchral is from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

“I lived in England for 7 years and in Mongolia for 11, and I’ve been in the U.S. since January 2022,” Burman-Uchral said.

Burman-Uchral compared his time living in England to his time living in the U.S., noting the two aren’t that different from each other in terms of living. Like Stanev and da Costa, Burman-Uchral mentioned having feelings of being homesick.

“I miss my friends and family in Mongolia the most, especially my mother’s home-cooked meals,” Burman-Uchral said.

Missing home was a commonality between the three Panther athletes, which is to be expected being in a country far away from where home is.

Even with them being homesick, all three expressed excitements in being in a new and different environment.

Hopefully, with their teammates, coaches, and new friends, Eastern feels like a home away from home.

Maurice Phipps can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Maurice Phipps, Sports Reporter
Maurice Phipps can be reached at [email protected] or 581-2812.
Luther Yoder, Assistant Sports Editor
Luther Yoder is a sophomore journalism major. This is his first year at The News.

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