by EMILY STADELMYER
Drake University is well-known for being a diverse community in Des Moines, Iowa as their homepage for international students states, “No matter where you come from (and Bulldogs come from all corners of the world!), you’ll find opportunities, and a home, at Drake.”
Not only does Drake have many international students, they also have a wide range of international athletes in the Drake athletic programs. When meeting international students, one might wonder why they came to Drake University out of all places. As our athletes come from all over the world, we want to know why they chose to become a Drake athlete.
Okay Djamgouz, a freshman on the men’s basketball team, is from Toronto, Canada and is loving Drake as he says, “Everyone is very friendly and supportive.” Djamgouz also reveals why he chose to come to Drake to continue his basketball career, “I felt very comfortable during the recruiting process with the coaches and I felt that Drake was the best fit for me both on the court and in the classroom.” Djamgouz isn’t the only athlete who chose Drake because of the connections. Luka Jankovic, freshmen, has also expressed this feeling when joining the men’s tennis team. Jankovic is from Belgrade, Serbia and explained, “I liked my teammates and coaches, they made me feel like family. Drake was the best relationship I had over the other schools I was considering.”
Along with Jankovic is one of the women’s tennis players, Daria Walczak. Walczak, junior, is from Lodz, Poland and was looking for a school that was close to a big city. That wasn’t her only reason for choosing Drake.
“The environment here is very welcoming, professors take care of all their students,” Walczak said. “Our coach helps the team not only in practice but also in everyday life, she wants to make sure that our physical and mental health is right, and we don’t have problems in school.”
In addition to Walczak was one of her teammates, Liza Petushkova, expressing the same connection with their coach too.
“When being recruited, I really liked the conversations we had through video calls and emails,” Petushkova said. “I knew I was going to spend a lot of time with the coach here, so it was very important for me to find someone who understands me and is supportive on and off the court.”
According to our international athletes, Drake offers more than just a chance to continue playing sports at a college level. Drake offers connections, a welcoming and open environment to all, and a chance to build relationships and an extended family. Being able to move across the world and still being comfortable is crucial for international students during their college search. It is a proud moment for Drake’s coaches, faculty, teachers, and most importantly all Drake students for welcoming our international students and athletes with open arms.