International Athlete Feature: Luis Hernandez

Luis Hernandez. Photo by Candid Color, from snuathletics.com

By Matthew Wellman

This week, I interviewed one of my teammates, Luis Hernandez. He is a junior baseball player from the Dominican Republic.

MW: How did you find out about SNU?
LH: A friend of mine told me about the school needing a player, so I contacted Coach Lee, who I met in summer of 2011, and I visited the school and liked it and ended up coming here.

MW: What’s the best part of being an international student?
LH: Just the experience of being in a whole different culture makes it awesome. Also, the opportunity of bringing another culture to my friends is cool. I get to show people what I am about and what my culture is like throughout my everyday life. It is fun sharing all my stories with people and just getting to know a whole new culture here in the U.S.

MW: What is challenging about being an international student?
LH: Being an international student at the beginning is hard. You feel lonely, sad; you miss your country and family. But once you get to know people, it gets better. I’m not going to lie, I miss my family like crazy. But I have to remind myself that I am here to make my life better by getting an education and trying to be someone better in the future. So the challenging part about being an international student is being around new people that are different culturally than you and not being able to see your parents for almost a full year. It gets tough sometimes.

MW: How is the culture different here and in your country?
LH: I would say people here are really busy all the time. There is not much time to enjoy the little things in life. I would say people focus a lot on money, school, work, I mean life in general that they don’t notice the small things that matter in life. I think in Dom. Rep. we like to enjoy family time a bit more, and not just in the holidays. I think that is the biggest culture shock I have. Besides the fact that people don’t really appreciate what they have here. Coming from a lower income country like Dom. Rep. we really need to appreciate and take care of what we have. In the U.S., I think people sometimes take for granted the things they get to enjoy. For example in baseball, most of kids growing up don’t get to enjoy many new gloves, and bats and cleats and things like that. They usually buy used things and treat them like gold. That was also hard for me to process, the idea of “I don’t care, if it breaks I get a new one” that the athletes have here in the U.S.

What do you think?