Name: Thomas Mayhew
Hometown: Brookfield, Wisconsin
Varsity sports participated in: Baseball and Football
Study abroad semester and location: Moscow, Russia Fall 2013
Majors: Creative Writing and Russian
Describe your favorite place in your host city/country and why.
My favorite place wasn’t any one place, but the moments when I was moving – when I wasn’t in any place at all. Being in a constant state of transition and absorbing everything around me felt like I was on the threshold of the world where its differences dissipate.
What was your proudest/most exciting moment abroad?
After compiling a semester-long project about Russia’s abandoned worlds, like estates and churches, I traveled to and naturally, explored my first abandoned estate in Russia. Being able to stand in so many places where everything had been forgotten truly felt like I was taking part in a moment of Russia’s long and complicated history. I brought home a number of souvenirs like old skeleton keys and signs.
How were you able to stay in shape or stay prepared for your sport while you were gone?
Simply being able to exercise and work out while having a modicum of the equipment you need is important. It can be difficult to find any of the food you need in order to maintain your diet, which is a process of exploring for the things you need.
How did your identity as an athlete influence your experiences abroad?
Being an athlete helped me make a lot of great relationships, and communicate with people whose language I’m not great at, so I had a lot of things to say. It was also great being able to play in pick-up games with people at the park in whatever sport they were playing.
Has the time you spent abroad changed the way you think about your athletic experience or your sport in general?
It was very upsetting to me to be in a place, in the fall mind you, that doesn’t know the sport of American football. Although there are many great sport enthusiast scenes, it helped me get a grasp that firstly, the television service doesn’t have coverage of much, and secondly how much the rest of the world would love football if they really understood it and had access to it.