International athlete feature: Mike Hearne

Golfer Mike Hearne talks about what it’s like to be an international student. (Photo from Sports Information)

By Matthew Wellman

Here at SNU we have quite a few international student athletes. This week I got to know sophomore golfer, Mike Hearne, a little better.

Hearne is from Bridgend, Wales. He has been playing golf since he was five years old when his Dad first put a golf club in his hands. He has played competitive golf since he was nine and won his first golf tournament when he was ten years old.

There are some difference between golf in the US and golf in the UK.

“It’s very different,” Hearne said. “The courses are tighter and the grass is different. I think back home golf in general is more traditional compared to the clothes that people wear out here when golfing. There is a dress code back home.”

Sometimes it can be hard to adjust to different conditions in a sport, but Mike has done well since he has been here. He has led the Crimson Storm in scoring average this fall.

Adjusting to different cultures also can be difficult for an international student.

“Being an international student, there are many things that are different and I have found it difficult to fit in sometimes,” Hearne said. “There are some rules here that I don’t agree with, but I have tried my best to abide by these rules. Another thing for me is learning how to manage my time so that I am not stuck up pulling all night studying because I have been at practice or away at a tournament. We also socialize much differently than Americans.”

There are some positives to being an international student athlete.

“I’ve really enjoyed learning about new cultures and making new friends. The best thing about being a student athlete is the feeling of being needed by the school. They recruited me here for a reason and there is a special feeling when I fulfill my purpose as an athlete. Although I do miss my friends and family back home, the great friends I’ve made out here have made this a wonderful experience,” said Hearne.

International students are part of what makes our student community so diverse and interesting. If you see any international students around campus, make sure you make them feel very welcome!