Europeans compete in U.S. Sports

Most student athletes in America participate in sports through their school and have practices after school. For the majority of European countries, activities are not school related, but rather clubs that meet a few times a week. German exchange student senior Patrizia Cugnetto said she likes the opportunity to be on the swim team with her friends.

“Here in America, one thing I enjoy is the fact you get to attend school with your friends and then after school you get to go to swim practice with your friends,” Cugnetto said. “In my country, schools are not included with sports and so you don’t usually do them with your friends.”

Senior Kasper Rasmussen has been swimming in his home country of Denmark since the age of six, and he became a member of the swim team this season.

“A couple years back I started working as an assistant swim coach at my local club,” Rasmussen said. “And then when I got here, I thought, ‘You know, this is the time where I should get better.”’

While some American students may take sports facilities for granted, most exchange students agreed having school gyms, stadiums and tracks is something different from a large part of the world.

According to Cugnetto, American sports are much more socialized events than other countries. Additionally, she said girls often do not participate in sports in Germany and there are many more experiences for females in America.

There are also differences in the popularity of sports, according to senior Daniel Adam, a German foreign exchange student.

“In my country, soccer is the main sport and the equivalent of the Super Bowl is the World Cup,” Adam said.

Rasmussen said unlike large home gatherings for the Super Bowl, people do not gather in each other’s houses to watch sporting events but go to a pub instead.

“When my friends and me watch big events on the television we either gather in the main square and watch on the large screens with hundreds of other people or we just go to the pub and hang out,” Rasmussen said. “We never just invite people to our houses to watch games.”

Although there are large differences from country to country, exchange students agreed there is a greater opportunity to participate in sports in the U.S.

“It is much more enjoyable to do sports here in America. You are more engaged here because you do it every day after school,” Rasmussen said. “You get a tight knit relationship with the people you do sports with, and you don’t really get anything like that in my country.”