Stranger in a Strange Land

How far are you willing to go in pursuit of a career and an education?

In the case of international student athletes, some, if not most, are willing to go to newfound extremes in pursuit of not only an education, but also a dream to one day play in the biggest stage of their respective sports.

Photo provided by Krasnov’s profile on the Cerritos Falcons website.

For Cerritos College international student athlete Sasha Krasnov, 20, his journey starts in the the cold, Eastern-European lands of Ukraine, and now finds himself 6,500 miles away from home to the sunny, warm Southern California city of Norwalk, where he attempts to reach for a career in the the sport of his passions: tennis.

This dream, however, doesn’t come without some sort of sacrifice.

From the obvious sacrifice of abandoning one’s family and culture, to the struggle of adjusting to life in a new country, a student athlete has to completely reinvent himself in order to get through many challenging obstacles of daily life as an exchange student.

Aside from the aforementioned sacrifices, there is still a rigorous process of exams and procedures needed to be completed before one is allowed admission into the United States of America as an international student athlete.

According to Krasnov, “[In order] to attend school in [the] United States, international students must pass a lot of exams, such as Toefl (English exam),” he says.

The results then determine where a student will be placed in the hierarchy of colleges and universities, and is handed a shortlist of schools willing to accept the student based on the merits of the results.

Krasnov, who is majoring in business administration, says the process is what exactly landed him to the campus of Cerritos College.

“Because my results were not high enough to attend [a] good university,” Krasnov begins, “the company which was helping me search for schools asked me if I wanted to go to community college, so that’s how I found Cerritos College.”

But Krasnov is not bashing Cerritos in anyway — it’s the complete opposite, really.

Krasnov enjoys being at Cerritos College and praises the friendly staff and faculty found in abundance throughout the campus.

“International student[s] [are] treated really well at Cerritos College,” Krasnov adds. “People always ask me where I come from and what language I speak, it’s nice to talk to them.”

He also adds, however, that despite enjoying his stay at Cerritos, he wishes he could share the experience with a compatriot of his.

“It’s not common to see many international students at Cerritos College, especially from Ukraine,” Krasnov states.

Moving forward, Krasnov has inspirations of one day making a name for himself in the world of tennis, and if he succeeds, then Cerritos College has had a helping hand in molding a potential bright career, and the school should be proud of that.