Dutch Student Tatum van Aartsen Plays for GRC Varsity Soccer Team
By Tatum van Aartsen, December 13, 2022
Hi, I am Tatum van Aartsen, a gap-year student from the Netherlands. I came all the way to the USA to attend fall quarter at Green River College, one of the best choices I have ever made. When I came here, I had no idea who I was going to meet or what my experience of living alone in the USA would be like.
When I arrived here, everyone was super kind, and I was very happily welcomed. Coming here alone was scary, but luckily, I was able to meet a lot of other international students who were going through the same thing. These students became my best friends here. It is weird to think that I have only known these people for three months, but it feels like I have known them my entire life.
In addition, I was incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to join the Green River College women's varsity soccer team as an international student. This made my gap year experience in the United States complete. Soccer in the USA is a lot different than in the Netherlands. Think of all the clothes you get for soccer for example or having practice every day instead of twice a week. I also got to meet 23 new American students, who made me feel very welcome on the team. We had practice on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Games would be played on Wednesday and Saturday. Another thing that was quite different from soccer in the Netherlands is that we took big buses to away games, and we would drive far, like 3 hours. I really liked receiving all of the clothes, and having practice every day, although sometimes this was very rough. I enjoyed riding on the bus and going to a lot of places to play soccer matches. I am thankful for the soccer coach, who made it possible for me to play soccer here and for the girls on the soccer team.
According to Keith Bleyer, Head Women's Soccer Coach, "Tatum was a wonderful addition to our squad this season and fit in right away. We have a very welcoming group of student athletes who make up the team and they were thrilled to have some 'international flavor' to our roster. Tatum is a skilled player and had no problem playing 'The Gator Way,' which demands technical ability and soccer intelligence. No surprise she had that in spades coming from a football crazy country like Holland! But more importantly, she was a dedicated and positive member of the team and no doubt made some lasting friendships. We had two players from the International Program play for us this year, Tatum and Angie Lemos from Ecuador. They are the first two of many international students at Green River that I hope to have as Gators in the years to come!"
Lastly, I would like to say that Green River has an exceptionally good international program, which makes you feel more at home by helping you whenever possible and organizing a lot of activities. Dutch students even have their own Contact person, Lansing Bryan, who also tries to organize events and I am very thankful for her. If you doubt going to Green River College as a gap year student, you should go, even if you are only going for one quarter, you will have so much fun and new experiences!