Finding family from abroad to Beloit

Jacopo Tamburini’27, Aina Mallorqui’26, and Candis Damste’24 all ventured to Beloit from abroad to continue their athletic and academic careers. The three have thrived athletically and also have enjoyed college life in many different ways outside of athletics.

Jacopo, Aina, and Candis in sport. Jacopo Tamburini’27, Aina Mallorqui’26, and Candis Damste’24 traveled from abroad to continue their athletic dreams at Beloit.

Jacopo Tamburini’27

Jacopo Tamburini stands on second base celebrating. Jacopo Tamburini celebrates a double while paying tribute to his Italian heritage.Jacopo, a first-year baseball player intending to major in engineering, has seen lots of opportunities at the plate in his first year with the Bucs. Jacopo moved from his hometown of Bologna, Italy, to attend Beloit College.

He spent his junior year of high school in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, playing travel baseball. During that season, he got in touch with coach Dave DeGeorge. With family in Madison to assist him, he was able to set up a visit to Beloit.

The tour was a crucial factor in choosing Beloit. “The amazing tour, the great coaches, and the good engineering program all helped me realize that Beloit College would be the right fit for me,” he said.

Jacopo Tamburini prepares to swing. Jacopo Tamburini loading up, preparing to swing at an incoming pitch.He also emphasized camaraderie with teammates. “My relationship with the team as a whole is amazing; There is a feeling of family,” he said. The biggest difference in athletics at Beloit compared to Italy, according to Jacopo, is that U.S. baseball is faster-paced and the season is a lot more demanding, with more games in a more compact schedule. However, he also described that “the beauty of all sports in general is that they are international, and they all speak the same language.”

He said the biggest difference for him socially was spending every moment with his peers and teammates. “We spend a lot of time together, whether it is during class, at Commons, on the field, or at night. I believe it is one of the best things about college,” he said. Baseball was one motivator for Jacopo, plus the ability to pick classes he was interested in.

“If baseball didn’t mean a lot to me, I wouldn’t have left my family and friends to live in a different continent,” he said. “The sport definitely keeps me very motivated and makes all the sacrifices well worth it.”

Aina Mallorqui’26

Aina Mallorqui standing up and cheering. Aina Mallorqui cheering on her teammates after a great play.Aina is a sophomore basketball player double majoring in business management and psychology who is also a member of Kappa Delta (Upsilon Chapter). A native of Valls, Spain, she hopes to work in sports, and maybe even get a masters in sports psychology after Beloit. She was coming into games off the bench in her first season with the Bucs before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

Aina found herself in a strange situation when her home university shut down in 2023. She chose Beloit because of the basketball team’s warm welcome and the admissions team’s assistance in getting her credits transferred. Aina described her team as being like a family. “We have so much fun as a team, and we’re all really close. We hang out outside of basketball, and they’ve become important people in my life.”

Moving from Spain to Wisconsin and playing basketball has had its challenges. In Spain, she was accustomed to a shorter schedule, with four practices and one game per week. Beloit athletics have practice almost every day and multiple games per week. Some technical plays also are officiated differently overseas. “At first it confused me, so it made for some funny moments,” she said.

Aina Mallorqui gathered with a group of friends. Aina Mallorqui gathered with her friends and fellow Kappa Delta members.Adjusting to everyday meal scheduling also was necessary. “At home, we do everything later,” she said. “Lunch is a heavier meal and it’s between 1-4 p.m., then dinner between 8-11. Here it’s earlier, and it was hard to adapt.”

But even with the challenges, Aina looks to her family in Spain for support and inspiration to succeed. “What motivates me the most is making my family proud and having them see that all their effort to get me here was worth it,” she said. “Also, proving to myself that I made the right choice by moving here and pursuing my dreams keeps me going.”

Candis Damste’24

Candis Damste is a senior track and field runner from Accra, Ghana. She is majoring in business management with a minor in mathematics and is set to get her master’s in accounting from Rice University in Houston, Texas, next year. Along with track, she enjoys being a member of Theta Pi Gamma at Beloit.

Candis Damste, teammates, and coach posing for a picture. Candis Damste posing for a picture with her winning relay team and her coach.Candis is running in the spring outdoor track and field season after a record-breaking indoor season. She was part of two relay teams that finished first and second, while also winning the individual 200 M and 400 M. Her time in the 400 M broke the Beloit College school record. Her performance earned her the Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championship Outstanding Track Performer award.

She actually found Beloit through her SAT prep teacher, who helped her create a list of schools. Out of the schools on that list, Beloit fit all of the qualities she was looking for: “a close-knit community, diversity, prestige, and a small student-to-faculty ratio.”

Cadis drove home the family environment, not only with her teammates, but also with her coaches. “Coach (Brian) Bliese is my American father and best friend, and Coach Ellie (Waddle) is my big sister,” she said. “My teammates are my siblings. Even though we do not always get along, I have a warm spot in my heart for everyone.”

She actually never ran track in Ghana. “I was at every track meet, but it never appealed to me because my high school team practiced on a dirt field,” she said.

Candis said that going from having no weight rooms, trainers, or track has made her experiences at Beloit sweeter. “I am grateful for every single bit,” she said. “My experience here can never be compared to what my friends who ran track in Ghana had.”

Candis Damste posing for a picture with friends. Candis Damste surrounded by other members of Theta Pi Gamma.She continues to stay motivated through trusting the process, belief in the program, and how it sets her up far in front of your peers.

“The difference between last season and this season is my mindset,” she said. “That’s what motivates me. Once I put in the work behind the scenes, I trust I will be right where I need to be on competition day.”

She added that the biggest difference between Beloit and home is her positive relationships with her coaches and the athletic trainers. “I’ve never felt so comfortable and close with my coaches and trainers,” she said. “I look forward to stopping by the Sports Center everyday, greeting Emily at the front desk, eating lunch in my coach’s office, and going down to the trainers before and after practices for rehab and to pet their dogs.”

By: Miles Souza'25
April 29, 2024

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