Student Athletes

Traveling as a Student Athlete can pose unique opportunities and challenges.  This page aims to assist students involved in Varsity Athletics prepare for their time off-campus – academically and personally.

If you are thinking about or planning to study off-campus, please be sure to have a candid conversation with your Coach and Trainer.  This conversation should include which semester you are considering, developing a plan for training off campus, and if you will need any rehabilitation support while you are off-campus.  We also highly recommend that you also meet with an IOS Advisor to discuss the program(s) you are interested an applying for and/or your needs while off campus.

#OlesOffCampus: My Identity Abroad Story

“Traveling off campus and missing the second half of my basketball season as well as my entire track season was more difficult than I thought it would be. Going from nearly always being in season and working out with my team, to working out alone and non competitively whenever I could fit it in, was a big change. I had a really difficult time adjusting at first, especially as I watched my team finish their season without me. I still identified as an athlete but all of a sudden I wasn’t surrounded by my team. Eventually I joined a gym, and made some workout buddies, and really dove in to my experience abroad. I’m 6’2″ and I was constantly asked by Spaniards if I played basketball! It was a nice reminder that even as I was struggling with being unable to compete, others could still view me as a varsity athlete. In the end, I had an unbelievable experience in Seville, and it was well worth the cost of missing the competitions that I did. That being said, I’m looking forward to getting back on the court and on the track next year.”
– Makenna ’19, CIEE Liberal Arts in Seville

“This past interim, I had the incredible opportunity to study human development in India! As a member of the cross country and track teams, I was nervous about missing part of my indoor track season and staying in shape while abroad. However, my coaches were very supportive, and encouraged me and my teammates to take advantage of the many study abroad options St. Olaf offers its students. In similar regard, my professor was helpful in discussing feasibility and safely precautions of running in India. While training in India was definitely not easy, I was able to stay fit while still making the most of my time there. Looking back at everything I experienced while in India, I don’t at all regret missing part of my track season in exchange for an amazing month of growth, exploration, personal and social discovery, and stimulating thought!”
Meredith ’20, Human Development in a Cross Cultural Context, India (Interim)

“This past fall semester, I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. While abroad, I studied graphic design, and truly loved how each of my courses integrated the surrounding landscape of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Europe. That being said, as a student-athlete, studying abroad was one of the most difficult decisions that I have made while at St. Olaf — I knew I would miss being with the softball team here! However, one of the best parts about my time in Denmark was joining a local softball team, based out of a town called Hørsholm. I flew to Denmark three days before my program started, and played a softball game with the team that same evening! I made so many wonderful connections with teammates, and learned so much from them about the Danish culture. And, as an added bonus, our team won the Danish National Softball Championship!”
Kate ’19, DIS Copenhagen

Things to Consider



Common Myths About Studying Abroad as a Student Athlete – article
NCAA – Summer of Success: Student Stories – NCAA
Why Student Athletes Should Study Abroad – article
Yes, Athletes Can Study Abroad – An IES Abroad resource (including some student stories!)

Statement of Support

“The athletic department fully supports student athletes participation in study abroad programs. The educational opportunities, in diverse settings, that the study abroad program provides, benefits the development of our student athletes and reinforces the lessons we strive to teach within athletics.”  -Ryan Bowles, Athletic Director

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