Now captain of the LSC men’s soccer team, Leonardo “Leo” De Faria Almeida is from Bragança Paulista, a small town in Brazil where everyone knows everyone. “I used to play soccer on the streets of my hometown. It was really fun,” he said. “Duluth feels bigger because of the lake.”
“I was surprised at how nice people are here. Back home I had heard that people from the U.S are rude, but when I got here I felt the “Minnesota nice” happening around me. My instructors helped me and my other international teammates a lot. They are always giving us support and help.”
He is working on his A.A. degree and plans to transfer to play soccer at a four-year university. “The A.A will help me to transfer there since I will have completed my generals.” Now in his second year at LSC, Almeida has found support from not only his instructors, but at the Intercultural Center, run by Jayce Mayberry, where international students meet all the time. “We consider Jayce like a dad to us. He helps us a lot. He is the guy who takes care of the internationals and makes us feel at home.”
The Tutoring and Learning Center is another positive resource for Almeida. “In my first year here I was there every day in order to try to keep my GPA as high as possible. I am hoping to get a good scholarship when I transfer next fall to play soccer on the university level. My dream is to become a professional soccer player, but if it doesn’t work, I want to be a businessman and a get a business degree that I can use to be successful in life.”
His advice for other international students? “I was scared the first week of class since everything was new. I knew nothing would be easy since it was my first time out of my country.
Being away from your family is not easy. Work as hard as possible because in college you have a lot of distractions, but you cannot let this affect you. You need to look towards your future and your family’s future as well. So, just take care of yourself, manage your time and money, work hard and everything will work out!”