My Internship Experience is a series where Ithaca College students share their time in the field of Sport Management and Media. Below, Sport Media major Miles Surrey shares his experience and published work with Columbia University Athletics.

“International Lightweight Rowers Thriving at Columbia”
For a lot of college students, the stress of moving possibly hundreds of miles away from family is a scary thought. The rigors of leaving home for months on end can be a tough adjustment.

Frederick Aasaaren, Anders Smedsrud and Maximillian Fenner have travelled over 3,500 miles to study at Columbia as well as row for the Lions’ Lightweight rowing team. Not only have these student-athletes had to balance schoolwork and athletics, but have also had to overcome unique cultural barriers most students are never faced with.

One of the most challenging aspects of being an international student is adjusting to the language, according to Aasaaren.

“Not being a native speaker alters you a little, makes you more reserved,” Aasaaren said. “It takes you a little longer to process information and the everyday conversations don’t run as smoothly as they did back home.”

After being born in New York, Fenner has moved back and forth in his life between the Big Apple and Berlin, and through these moves had felt like an outsider until attending college at Columbia.

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“Lightweight Rowing Spotlights Senior Class”

With a strong core of 10 seniors not only leaving Columbia University but Columbia Lightweight Rowing after this year, it will be a hard group to replace. That being said, the impact the class of 2014 had on the lightweight rowing program cannot be overlooked and will not be forgotten.

Seniors Connor Dougherty and Curtis Kachline believe the dynamic of the team has changed since their first year, and there is more of an emphasis on team success rather than individual triumph.

“The greatest shift has been in the mentality of the team. The team has transitioned from a team that imagined success, to one that expects success. Our class was the first freshman class in recent memory to win and win consistently,” Dougherty said. “The difference in our team now is the value we place on cohesiveness, and I think a large part of that is due to the closeness our of class.”

“During our first year, there were many individuals with a clear drive and ambition to take a medaling spot at the IRA National Regatta, but there wasn’t really an obvious collective commitment towards success. The group was much more divided on erg scores and individual race speed, so it was difficult for the slower athletes to push the faster ones, and vice versa. Our team is now the largest it’s been in recent history and also the deepest. Not to mention, the team is extremely close outside of practice, and the tight friendships contribute to the competitive camaraderie, which is absolutely essential in a sport that require complete cohesiveness and trust in order to succeed,” Kachline said.

The memories of competitions, and especially ones that garnered medals are what John Hold and Steve Boyle will recall most from their time in the water.

Photo Credit: Columbia University Athletics/Gene Boyars


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The expressed opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and do not represent Ithaca College.