The challenges faced by an international student might be unfathomable for some on the campus of the University of Miami. But for freshman Claudia Wasilewski, it’s just another day as she adjusts to American life and competes with Miami’s No. 5 ranked women’s tennis team.
Wasilewski has played in three singles matches thus far in her first year for the ‘Canes and has won once. She defeated FAU’s Eve Xantahopoulos in her first collegiate match.
While Wasilewski’s track record isn’t long yet, her path from France to the United States is one filled with twists and turns.
At first it seemed Wasilewski was destined for athletic greatness, but not necessarily in tennis. She swam competitively from a very young age, loving the water. However, her health, and destiny, stepped in.
“I swam for five years, but I began having ear and nose problems,” Wasilewski said. “I always played tennis with my dad, so I decided to stop swimming and start playing tennis.”
Her career took off from that moment, as her skills put her above her peers. She was a member of the French Junior Tennis Federation and competed in various International Tennis Federation tournaments in Europe.
“I always loved to play, and I started to realize that maybe I could succeed,” Wasilewski said.
She has grown up since her first tennis match and was forced to face the decision of where to go to continue her education.
“In France, you have to go to a university next to your home,” Wasilewski said. “Even in Paris, the school is only one building. Here it’s different.”
While a move from Boulogne, France to Miami, Florida may not seem like such a simple choice, it was a slam dunk for Wasilewski.
“A lot of tennis players in France go to university in the United States, and I know a lot of my friends here. I decided [to come to the U.S.] maybe three years ago.”
While she admits that it has been a very busy time for her, Wasilewski, who is a business major, has taken some time to notice some of the more prominent sights the Magic City has to offer. She even finds the time to enjoy some of her passions.
“I really like the big streets lined with palm trees, it’s really lovely. I like South Beach too,” she said with a chuckle. “I still love to swim, but my favorite thing is just relaxing and enjoying the things around me..”
Now in only her second month in the United States, Wasilewski’s situation isn’t bothering her.
“I love my team,” she said. “I love my coach. I love everybody. I love every girl on my team. It’s so miraculous.”
Matthew Bunch may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.