Q & A From Ella Kleinschmidt Returning Athlete
Q. What made you decide to compete and study at a US college?
A. I decided to compete and study at a US college because I wanted three things after I graduated year 12... I wanted to continue my studies and get a degree, keep swimming and travel. This gave me the opportunity to do all three at once.
Q. How did you commence the process and how long did it take?
A. I commenced the process after seeing an advertisement in one of my swim meet programs. I contacted the website and it started from there! The whole process took just under a year I believe. I cannot remember the exact dates. I stated some time at the beginning of year 12 and finished when I signed to Brenau University in February the following year.
Q. How did it compare to competing in your sport in Australia?
A. I loved growing up in swimming Australia, I have so many great memories. However I feel as though the US (especially the NAIA system I was in) was incredibly cohesive with so much comradery between teams. I was not competing for myself but a team.
Q. What qualities do you feel a student athlete needs to possess to be successful at a US university?
A. I think time management is a HUGE one. I graduated as a successful national finalist level athlete and at the top of my graduating class with a 4.0 GPA. I can only commend this success to being able to time manage between schooling, training and also giving myself time to enjoy experiencing life in a different country. Determination, perseverance, and the ability to accept help when you need it.
Q. How did you balance your athletic and academic interests during your scholarship?
A. I balanced these two things by, calendars, writing all things down that I had to do and communicating closely with my teachers to work with me.
Q. What are the key challenges you encountered during your scholarship?
A. I feel as though the key challenged I encountered were battling homesickness for both Aus and the US when I was in either place, but I feel as though the biggest key challenge was the abrupt shock of how much more work (mentally, physically and emotionally) being a college athlete was. There’s a reason why it’s commended.
Q. What were some of your most memorable moments during your experience?
A. For me to pick just some of my most memorable moments is impossible. For me, it’s the entire experience. The entire experience from the friendships I made, the academic successes I had, the training sessions, the successes in the pool by myself or with my team, experiencing ‘life as an american’ to doing things I never would have had a chance to do. Leaving after 4 years was so difficult.
Q. Would you recommend other students consider a US scholarship experience?
A. Yes yes yes and YES! It is the most incredible experience I’ve ever had and I would go back to do it again and again if I could! I would reccommend it to everyone!
Q. How did you benefit from studying and competing in the US college system?
A. I benefited by being able to continue to succeed in the pool, achieving placings in times I wouldn’t have if I had stayed in Aus after year 12, as I would have stopped swimming. Academically I never would have gotten the individual attention and copious amounts of help. The academic system in the US and everyone at college is so driven to do so well and achieve the best grades they can, which most definitely pushed me to do the same. I would not have not as well academically if I had not been in this environment.