Moving away to college is a pivotal turning point for anyone, an experience known by many coming to the University of Colorado at Boulder. With such a large out of state student population, students making their way here bond over homesickness, newfound freedom, and the simple joys of being in college.
But within all of the talk surrounding those out of state students, one group is almost always left out of the conversation—international students, of which there were 2,558 enrolled at CU as of Fall 2015.
If there is one international student who's gotten a bit more press than the rest, it's Diego Gonzalez. Winning the job as the team's full-time placekicker last season, adjusting to the college game has been the least of obstacles facing him, coming to Boulder from Monterey, Mexico.
In a one-on-one interview with BSN Buffs, Gonzalez said that despite his home country's enthusiasm for football, American rules football is actually rather popular in his hometown. Missing home, like most college students, remains a battle. Despite the distance, he told BSNBuffs.com that his family has come to town five times already, helping him adjust to life in a town that, he says, he could definitely imagine living in post-college.
In the end, for Gonzalez, football has been the bridge between Monterey and Boulder, opening up opportunities to travel, earn a world-class education, and form personal relationships that he says are as important to him as anything.
Of course, for the casual observer, the only thing Gonzalez needs to adjust is his kicking accuracy. But that's the thing about college sports overall; it's more than a game. For many athletes, the majority of their growth happens outside of their position meetings, practices, and weight lifting sessions.
That growth, the idea of becoming a man and adding skills to one's life experience, is part of what has made Gonzalez's experience in Boulder more than finding the right touch with each kick.