Student Stories

Nadine de Koning – Field Hockey at the University of Virginia

Nadine, one of our great talents, started playing field hockey at a young age in Laren in the Netherlands. After graduating from high school, she decided to pursue one of her dreams: to combine top-level hockey with a study in America!

Nadine was certainly motivated, but once she figured out everything she had to arrange, she quickly became overwhelmed.

Fortunately, she came into contact with Marina, who, thanks to her vast experience with American schools, was able to properly guide Nadine through the entire process.

For example, Nadine’s sports and academic profile was sent to coaches, including video footage from showcases Nadine participated in, and suddenly the whole process became much clearer.


Moreover, Nadine was helped with preparation for Skype conversations with coaches and guidance was provided throughout the entire application process. After following the steps laid out for her, Nadine’s dream came true and she was accepted to attend the University of Virginia!!

A dream come true

Nadine was so excited. The moment she had been looking forward to for so long was close approaching. Still, she sometimes wondered if this was the right choice.

But Nadine always remained true to her dream and after a few months at UVA she felt completely at home. Thanks to her “buddy”, Nadine quickly became comfortable with college and field hockey life.

She liked it so much that after two months she knew for sure that she wanted to stay for the full four years.

Throughout her time at UVA, the friends she made played an important role. Playing together in a top team, sharing the highs and lows with her teammates and keeping “team spirit” created a natural bond.

Nadine felt strongly that she could best represent her school through her positive attitude and by providing a good example, which meant that she received a lot of admiration from her peers.

Motivation, adrenaline and teamwork were on high during competitions. When the stadium filled with more than 2,000 people and the American fanfare began to play, the feeling of pride, adrenaline, enthusiasm and admiration surged through every players body.

In addition, Nadine was treated as a professional athlete both on and off the field. A personal nutritionist, lifting coach, doctor and  physiotherapist were available at all times on campus.

The perfect combination of sport and study

Not only was Nadine encouraged to succeed on the hockey field, she also received a lot of support and guidance while studying for a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Virginia.

Her class schedule could be adjusted when she had to fly to hockey matches in other states and the professors were sympathetic of her busy program.

It didn’t hurt that Nadine was performing extremely well academically, which was mainly due to the mentality that prevails at American schools. For example, students are awarded honors when they achieve a high grade point average and every student works hard, which only increases motivation.

Having built up a broad profile at the University of Virginia made it easy for Nadine to return to the Netherlands to start following a master’s in marketing at the VU.

Looking back

Nadine looks back with pride on the four great years she spent at UVA.

She made and maintained many close friendships in the US, successfully completed her studies and field hockey still has a special place in her heart.

Her advice to prospective student-athletes is:
“Give it a try, you are not committed to anything and it is a fantastic opportunity to develop yourself in another country.”

Her motto:
Go for it, there is a place for everyone!!