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Scholar Athletes

The Office of Education Abroad understands that, as a scholar athlete, you have commitments to your team during the athletic season that may extend into the off-season, depending on your sport. If the spring/fall semesters are not feasible for international academic study, the summer term may be an option for you as summer programs can range in length from three weeks to two months. Some students may be able to take part in an international study option that fits into winter break. Finally, a number of virtual, high-impact international study experiences developed during the 2020 pandemic may be worth pursuing if you have a particularly tight schedule year-round.   

Davidson Scholar Athletes Study Abroad


Communication: Discuss in advance your interest in study abroad with your coaches, and if applicable, your teammates. It may also be helpful to speak with other athletes who have studied abroad to consider the pros and cons of your decision. 

Timing: Study abroad programs are available for the semester, full academic year, and summer and winter breaks. Think about when your athletic season takes place. Do you have obligations in the pre-season or additional tournaments in the post-season? Are there team commitments and training scheduled in the off-season?

NCAA Compliance & Eligibility: As scholar athletes, there are certain rules you must adhere to regarding monetary compensation, accepting “gifts,” coaching, and competing in events not sanctioned by the NCAA. These regulations can get complicated while you are abroad. If you have questions about the regulations, please speak with Katy McNay, Associate of Director of Athletics, at

Nutrition: Depending on your host country and region, your eating habits may not be the same as in the United States. We recommend consulting with Elizabeth Allred (, Registered Dietitian and Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics in the Center for Student Health and Well-Being, to create a nutrition plan prior to your departure. Your access to particular dietary needs may be different than what you are accustomed to, and it will be helpful to do some research about this prior to departure. Additionally, upon your return, we recommend following up with your nutritionist to discuss responsible and healthy steps that will ensure optimal health and nutrition for your sport.

Training While Abroad: It is your responsibility to stay in good physical condition for the duration of your study abroad experience. Speak with your program director or partner program about what training and athletic facilities you will have access to in the host community.    Taking advantage of sports clubs and fitness facilities is a great way to get to know local residents with similar interests in your host country. You may also want to create a workout routine with your strength and conditioning coach before going abroad. Keep your coaches and your teammates updated about your routine and progress.   

Returning to Davidson: When you return, you may experience difficulties readjusting to life in the United States and at Davidson. This is normal, but the severity and when it occurs varies with each individual. If you require additional assistance during your readjustment process, you may contact John Brunelle (, Associate Director of the Center for Student Health and Well-Being and Clinical Director of Counseling with expertise in issues facing scholar athletes. Other resources that can help you reflect and build on your study abroad experience are outlined in the Returning to Davidson section.

Davidson Student Testimonials

Field Hockey Athlete
"My field hockey team has an email chain and group text where we can always send messages and hear from each other no matter what people are doing or where they are traveling. I loved reading the emails and texts from my teammates while abroad, and I also sent them some updates from Spain whenever I got the chance. I never felt out of the loop or like I was missing something important going on with my team."

Football Athlete
"I would absolutely recommend considering studying abroad for student athletes. I originally didn’t plan to because of football, but I think it is just too good of an opportunity to pass up. I think it’s worth it in the long run, and I certainly don’t regret it.... If you can find the right time and the right program, it won’t hurt your athletic performance, and it’s an incredible opportunity."

Campus Resources:
  • Katy McNay, Associate of Director of Athletics
  • Elizabeth Allred, Registered Dietitian and Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics - Center for Student Health and Well-Being
  • John Brunelle, Associate Director of the Center for Student Health and Well-Being and Clinical Director of Counseling (expertise in issues facing scholar athletes)

Additional Resources: