Leaving home behind is a big part of every college student’s experience, but for Humbert ’19 and Andrea Ferrer ’22, that meant a new culture, a different language, and an eight-hour plane ride away from their native home of Barcelona, Spain. The Ferrer siblings, both soccer players at Iona, embarked on this journey for an opportunity to both pursue their athletic and educational goals simultaneously, which was not an option in their home country. College athletics are uncommon in Europe, so the choice for aspiring young athletes is to either pursue their sport or give up their dreams for a college degree. With the help of scholarships and the opportunity for a great education near one of the most exciting cities in the world, the Ferrers felt fortunate not to have to make that choice.
Humbert, a finance major and captain of the Iona men’s soccer team, started his love for soccer at the age of four after watching his father play. With several Division 1 offers he chose Iona because of its business school’s prestige, its proximity to NYC, and the style of play of the soccer team. A dean’s list honoree, and member of the Finance Club and SAAC (Student Athlete Athletic Committee), Ferrer says, “I have had many great experiences during my time at Iona, both on and off the field. You undergo a personal growth process, in which you get to know yourself better and make many connections that will last forever, creating a home far from home.”
Andrea, a Business major, who watched her big brother play soccer, had no plans of being left behind. At the age of five, she joined her brother’s soccer league as the only female player. At that time women’s soccer was only beginning to gain popularity, which didn’t leave her many options for training at a young age. Two years ago, while visiting her brother here at Iona, she knew this would be a place to call home. Leaving home at 18 is difficult for any freshman, but knowing she’d have her brother with her on this new journey made it an easy decision. Andrea adds, “I’m grateful for how well received international students are, especially because we need more help in getting used to the language, system, and culture, among other aspects. There are also lots of activities to do and it gives you a good opportunity to prepare for the professional world once you finish college.”
Currently, in his last year at Iona, Humbert is focused on having a great final season with hopes of continuing to pursue his athletic passion and eventually finding a job in the financial services industry in NYC. In offering advice to younger students, he states, “follow your dreams just like I did; working hard towards your goals while enjoying your college experience as much as you can.” Andrea, who has just begun her collegiate journey shares a similar sentiment and adds, “to any international students hesitating to leave home, it is not an easy decision, but there is no better satisfaction than realizing that you have gone through that process and grown as a person." She is looking forward to giving her best to the Iona women’s soccer team both on and off the field.