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Lehigh Carbon Community College

Rafael (2)

The opportunity to play soccer while earning a degree at Reinhardt prompted a student to move across the Atlantic Ocean. Senior Rafael Pais is from Switzerland, one of 55 international students from 22 countries currently attending the university.

Pais graduated from high school during the Covid-19 lock down which shut down sports. Even without the pandemic, Pais says a heavier course load at Swiss universities doesn’t allow time to play a competitive sport. Reinhardt University offered him the opportunity to be on the Eagles soccer team while getting his degree. Without ever visiting Georgia, Pais enrolled. Less than six months later the midfielder was named Offensive Player of the Week by the AAC. Twice he made the all-conference team.

Moving around the world, with few supplies, no familiar faces, and English as a second language is not easy. However, Pais says the kindness of people at Reinhardt made all the difference in settling in, “I thought people back home were nice, but southern hospitality is unmatched. On my first full day on campus, someone I didn’t know took me shopping. I don’t know if that would have happened back home.”

Support services offered by the university, and his teammates’ cohesiveness and giving nature also positively impacted his success. Pais enjoys giving back and helping people. He tutors on campus and is a Resident Assistant.

Pais says his coolest accomplishment on campus is being a part of Glo-Bus in Strategic Management class. It’s a simulation where you construct and run your own mock company and compete for global market leadership. His team scored in the top 100 in the world for 6 weeks straight. In his free time, Pais is learning how to code. He also speaks five languages.

Three years later, Pais is getting ready to graduate with a 4.0 GPA and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. He hopes to stay at Reinhardt to get an MBA and keep playing soccer.

Pais has advice for other international students considering studying at Reinhardt, “Do it. You will never have an experience like being a student in the US. Here the workload is manageable, and you can still play sports. It challenges you differently. The experience of coming here, adapting, and getting to know everything has brought me much more than the degree. The degree is technical knowledge, but everything I’ve learned apart from that is lessons I can have for life, and that’s valuable.”