The university is home to over 250 international students from over 70 different countries who contribute to the diversity on campus.
Of these international students, many play sports and represent the university. The nationality of these students range from Mexican to German. The tennis team is a prime example since it has a comparatively larger percentage of international athletes compared to other sports programs.
Ximena Yanez, a sophomore biological sciences major, is from Mexico. She shared that she loves playing tennis for the university because the students create an atmosphere of accommodation.
“I chose to play tennis at Southeastern because the people made me feel very welcome,” said Yanez. “They put a lot of importance on the value of my culture and what I believe, which meant a lot to me. I also loved the way the coach treated me on my first visit.”
Yanez talked about the responsibility she holds in playing tennis at the university.
“It is definitely a big responsibility playing tennis here because there is a pressure to represent your country in the best way possible,” said Yanez. “I just want to do the best that I can do.”
Bernadette Dornieden, a freshman biological sciences major, is from Germany. Dornieden feels it is an opportunity to play for the university.
“Southeastern gives you the opportunity to play college sports with a team,” said Dornieden. “In Germany, sports are played as an individual. Here, you get to play with other people who slowly become your family and share the same goal as you. That goal is to win.”
Katya Cornejo, a sophomore engineering technology major, is from Mexico. Cornejo described that she and her teammates have bonded and created a family dynamic.
“It’s a wonderful experience being on this team because you don’t have your family here but you create a family out of your teammates, and we are always pushing each other to do the best we can,” said Cornejo.
Putri Insani, a freshman accounting major, is from Indonesia. Insani explained the process she underwent before she joined the team.
“I didn’t visit the school but I met the coach and talked to him,” said Insani. “He really made me want to come here, and he is a really good coach. He is also very humorous. We have the same sarcastic sense of humor, so we get along pretty well.”
According to Yanez, Head Coach Jason Hayes motivates them to be the best they can be.
“Coach reminds us every day how blessed we are to be here because not everyone has the opportunity to come from a different country and do what they love,” said Yanez. “Everything he tells us, he tells us for our own good, and it helps us in the long run. He is always pushing us to do our very best on the court and encouraging us to put in all of our strength and effort to achieve success.”