Syllabi, quizzes, scantrons and finals.

All the things that come with being a college student.

Now, imagine doing these things in a different country and in a different language.

Senior tennis player Agustina Serio, a native of Argentina, said it took time for her to adjust to English.

“It took me about two semesters to be totally comfortable in the classroom,” Serio said. “I speak Spanish a lot of the time.”

The 15 players that make up both the men’s and women’s tennis teams are all foreign players.

None come from Englishspeaking countries.

Spain, India, Japan and Argentina are some of the countries represented on the teams.

There are big differences in how course work is presented between the U.S. and Argentina.

“The way the classes are organized is different. Over there, you just study for the test,” Serio said. “Here you have homework, you have more opportunities like quizzes that help your grade, I like that.”

Head coach Diego Benitez, from Venezuela, also faced the same difficulties when he came to the U.S. to play college tennis.

“Every time you come to a different culture and different country you have to adjust and you have to adjust quick,” Benitez says. “They have to deal with the pressure of maintaining grades and athletic performance. I know this because I did it myself when I went to a university and played tennis for a scholarship.”

Benitez said with tennis being a very international sport, he and his staff use their connections worldwide to recruit student athletes.

“UTA is amazing in this regard. They have invested so much on academic support for all of our athletes. We count on various student advisers whose only job is to make sure they are doing well in classes and registering in the right classes,” Benitez said. “If there are any problems, we try and target those troubles early so that they don’t become a big issue.”

Benitez said he believes the U.S. is a unique place for student athletes.

“There is no other place in the world other than the USA where you can combine a high level of education with a high level of athletics,” Benitez said. “The NCAA and the schools here in America provide a system where you can excel in both.”

Junior Guanarteme Nuez, who is from the Canary Islands, a territory of Spain off the coast of Africa, said he misses the island life.

“I lived on an island. I was used to always be near the beach,” Nuez said. “Here at UTA, I haven’t checked a GPS, but the nearest beach is really far.”

According to the University of Pennsylvania, Spain has the fifth highest number of foreign athletes competing in the NCAA.

“Spain has really good athletes, I don’t know why,” Nuez says. “The Spanish government and federations don’t help the athletes. The athletes just work really hard and that is the most important thing.”

Luckily with technology, getting a piece of home can be just a phone call away.

“I can call my parents with FaceTime, see how my grandpa is doing. I do that when I get lonely,” Nuez said.


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