Getting out of your shell 

A transfer, international student-athlete describes his experience at UF 

By Lauren Wolters 

Eisley Swaine is a senior guard for the University of Findlay men’s basketball team. He played his freshman year at Northwest Oklahoma State University before transferring to the UF for the 2018-2019 basketball season. In addition to being a transfer student and a student athlete, Swaine is from West Yorkshire, England.

“I wasn’t happy in the environment I was in at my first school and sought change,” Swaine said in an email interview. “I heard great things about the University of Findlay from a friend who also played on the basketball team a while back. After speaking with the coaching staff, I came on a visit and immediately felt at home.”   

The size of the city contributes to the homely feeling that Eisley described after visiting Findlay. 

“I love the size and the culture,” Swaine said. “It is in a very underappreciated town. It may not have everything you want [but] it does have everything you need. It isn’t so big and busy that you get lost and overwhelmed, yet it isn’t as small as you think.” 

While Swaine says he feels at home here it’s not quite “home”.

“I think the hardest part is always family,” Swaine said. “I have a very close immediate family and grandparents I love dearly, so putting the ocean between us is never an easy thing to do. However, having a good group of people around me in Findlay has made that process much smoother.” 

Swaine says his friends and teammates have made it much easier for him to live far away from home. Swaine advises other international students to meet new people to avoid homesickness.   

“I have made connections with people all over the globe that I will always have contact with,” Swaine said. “[I met] people I wouldn’t even know existed if I hadn’t traveled and furthermore got out of my shell in a new environment.” 

Getting involved on campus is not only a great way to meet new people, but it also allows international students to have new experiences. Basketball helped Swaine get involved in UF’s campus culture but it was a big adjustment to the American style of play.

“The game is a much faster and higher intensity game,” Swaine said. “Gaps are smaller, and players are bigger and more athletic. The European game is a lot more strategic and calculated, relying on skills and creativity. This was initially a difficult adjustment but as I have progressed to the later stages of my career it has helped me.” 

These types of adjustments for student-athletes and international students can seem daunting at first, but as Eisley said, having the right people around you and a positive mindset makes it much easier. Eisley advises other transfer and international students to get involved on campus and in the community. 

“I think my best piece of advice would be to get out of your comfort zone,” Swaine said. “Go out and experience your new environment and see what it has to offer. Learn about the culture and take part in events that you don’t have back home.” 

The University of Findlay’s men’s basketball team is 12-10 on the season, and they look to take on Kentucky Wesleyan College Saturday Feb. 11.