Life as an International Student-Athlete at East Central College 

By Joe McInnes

           When I saw East Central College in the flesh for the first time on Aug. 20, 2020, after months of looking at pictures and videos of the college online from my home in Scotland, I felt nervous yet excited. A new beginning. A fresh start. As I am on the cusp of leaving to start another new adventure, I reflect on my time at ECC with fondness.

           From the unfamiliarity that I felt on my first day to the homely feeling I now feel upon entering the college. ECC has made me feel welcome from the very start, something that is very important for an international student to feel being so far away from home, living away from family and friends. I have made many lasting friendships with students and staff alike, showing what a special place ECC is.

           I came to East Central College to play soccer, in the Fall of 2020, with the hope of achieving both individual and team success alike. And thankfully, that has come to fruition during my two years as a Falcon, with the men’s soccer team winning its first Conference Title since 2014 during the Spring 2021 season, and myself earning 2nd team All-American recognition in the same season. Both were great achievements that I am proud to have accomplished, and although the latter was an individual award, I wouldn’t have achieved it without my teammates and coaches.

           Academically, the college has been great, and despite having to initially adjust to a slightly different academic system than I was used to, it has been enjoyable. Another hurdle that I’ve had to overcome has been many people’s difficulty in initially trying to understand my accent: albeit somewhat frustrating, it also has its humorous side, especially when asking someone a question, and they respond to the said question by nodding their head, “Sorry, I asked what your name was.” Another frustrating aspect of my academic journey at ECC has been adjusting to American English, especially as a journalism major. No matter how much I try to get used to it, I can’t get used to spelling words like “color” without a ”u.”     

           For someone who had never heard of Union, Missouri, before flying over here, this small town now holds a special place in my heart, thanks to East Central College. I plan to return to visit in the future to revisit the college and all the memories that I’ve created here. Thank you ECC! 

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