Purdue University student-athletes Lindsey Rains and Lauren Grant are spending their final months as college students 4,400 miles from campus. The softball teammates chose to spend the summer before their graduation in Berlin, Germany; it’s an experience that, both insist, has enriched their lives.
Both Boilermakers completed internships last summer, which allowed them to use this break to meet final requirements for their respective majors. Each needed to fulfill six elective hours and wanted to spend time immersed in another culture.
“The language barrier here really exposes you to a different culture and challenges your ability to communicate,” Grant said. “I think getting a well-rounded experience is important and this is something I can take with me into my future career.”
The seniors are taking an introductory German language class together. Through only a few weeks, Rains and Grant pride themselves on their newfound ability to order food and ask for directions in German.
Grant, hailing from Louisville, Ky., had never been out of the United States before her trip across the Atlantic Ocean. She admits that studying abroad never crossed her mind when she first arrived at Purdue. Now, she views the trip as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“It’s not something every student-athlete, let alone student, can say they were able to do during college,” Grant said. “I hope this isn’t the only time I get to travel like this, but you never know. So I appreciate what I was given as a student-athlete and I don’t know that I could have financially managed this trip without softball, so it’s been a blessing.”
Rains, a native of Fullerton, Calif., was encouraged to take part in the study abroad program by her future employer, Marriott. Following graduation in August, Rains is set to begin her career as a hotel manager.
“Anything I learn here I’m going to be able to use in my career,” Rains said.
Both Rains and Grant agree that being a student-athlete is appealing to companies. Now, though, the Boilermakers will have even more to talk about in future job interviews.
“In (an unexpected) way, softball was preparing us for life,” Grant said. “Now, studying abroad is another résumé-building opportunity we could take advantage of with our scholarship.”
The two have relied on each other throughout their journey overseas, just like they did on the softball field.
“It’s definitely been a team effort, which we’re used to,” Rains said. “In terms of traveling together on weekends, there’s no way we could have done it without each other.”