My name is Andrew Zehr and I am from Jackson, Mississippi, USA, and am attending Newcastle University this year to (hopefully) receive my Master’s in Engineering Geology. I currently play for Newcastle University’s lacrosse team and for the Newcastle Knights Men’s lacrosse club.
Now, I don’t have the most extensive lacrosse background, coming from a state where there was only one other team to play against (the rest of our games required travel to neighboring states) and playing on a team that, for the most part, only had enough guys to fill the positions on the field. But, I quickly fell in love with the sport and taught myself how to play. This was not enough, as I found out when I went to college, as the talent there was on a much higher level than I was accustomed to playing on. So I was quickly cut from the varsity squad, but made the most of my experience playing some club ball. Eventually my schoolwork required me to stop playing, to be able to focus fully on my schoolwork, but the drive to play never went away.
After graduation, I had no idea what I wanted to do. Everyone else was gearing up to enter the “real world” or start internships or grad school, but I still had no idea what to do now that I had my diploma. That is until I remembered Lacrosse The Pond, which I had learned about years earlier and bookmarked as a potential post-graduation opportunity. Get my Master’s degree in one year AND get to play lacrosse again? Sign me up!
I quickly got in touch with Sam, Tim and the rest of the LTP crew, expressing my interest in their program, and they suggested a few schools to apply to, based on my academic pursuits and lacrosse background. Sam and Tim immediately got to work, helping me with every step along the way: applying to the university, applying to get my visa, helping me find a place to live. You name it, they facilitated the transition as best they possibly could. This made for a relatively seamless transition from life in the U.S. to lifeacross the Atlantic.
Now that I am here, I am loving it. I have been pleasantly surprised by the level of competition and skill of lacrosse here in the UK. You can tell that it has really grown in the last couple of years and there are teams and players of all skill levels. School is hard, but that is to be expected, as a similar MSc program in the states would require 2-3 years and would be much more expensive to complete. Sam and Tim (and the whole LTP crew) have been in-touch throughout the year, making sure that everything is going smoothly for us, and providing a support network for any troubles that you may be having. Additionally, they have been organizing events for us LTP guys, which have been a blast. We recently got together as a unit, and, along with some Americans from Durham, competed as a team against the England Men’s National Lacrosse squad, giving them some practice for the European championships coming up in 2016. Never having competed at this level of play, this was an amazing learning opportunity for me, and one I will remember for years to come.
If you are a lacrosse player and don’t want your career to end when you finish your undergrad studies, I highly suggest looking into participating in Lacrosse The Pond. Not only do you get to continue your athletic career, but you also get to do all of it while getting a Master’s degree (not too shabby of an added bonus, if you ask me) and while being granted the opportunity to travel the UK and Europe.
* Cover photo via: Newcastle University Men’s Lacrosse