By ERIN MATUCZINSKI
UMW has become a home away from home for international students, many of whom play on the men’s rugby team. Adam Thomson, a senior and a history major, shared his experience.
Thomson began playing rugby when he was seven years old in Banchory, Scotland. He attributes his start in rugby to his family.
“My grandfather and dad both played and my grandmother was a massive rugby fan during her lifetime,” said Thomson, “so when I became of age and developed what she called ‘rugby shoulders’ she sent me along to rugby training and supported my participation in the sport fully by buying me new rugby boots for every birthday that I had.”
Thomson heard about UMW when he was recruited by the former director of rugby. He became interested when the rugby leadership showed interest in both his “rugby value” and his value as a person to the wider campus community.
“I also really liked the idea of a smaller campus,” said Thompson, “having been out of education for around two years before coming to UMW in the fall of 2016, I think going to a bigger school and not having the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with my professors that I have during my time at UMW would not have been a good thing for me.”
Thomson described his experience in America as “absolutely unbelievable.”
“I wouldn’t change my experience for the world,” he said. “I have made friends that I now almost consider family members as for the last three years I have seen them more than some members of my immediate family. I like to think I have my Scottish family and my UMW family.
Attending a college away from home has not been without its challenges for Thomson, however, such as being away from home when my grandfather passed away his freshman year.
“I was lucky enough to be able to go home for the funeral and mourn with my family but not being able to say goodbye was tough on me emotionally,” said Thompson. “I was at practice when I heard that it was just a matter of time and I broke down but I had my teammates there to pick me up.”
Thomson emphasized the role of the team in making him feel at home.
“I soon realized that it didn’t matter where I was in the world, back home or stateside, rugby people are the same the world over,” said Thomson. “It’s a brotherhood unlike I have seen or come across in other sports. While in our case I prefer to refer to it as a ‘Motherhood’ because it’s a fantastic pun.”
Thomson also appreciates that the rugby team has so many international students.
“UMW’s international recruiting for the rugby team has also made going through the tough times of inevitable homesickness much easier as we have players from all over the world that are going through the exact same thing as you, as an international student, so you have people to confide in.”