From ’round the girdled Earth they hail
Of Dartmouth’s nearly 1,000 varsity athletes, over 60 hail from abroad, with 23 of Dartmouth’s 34 varsity teams featuring a foreign athlete. The women’s hockey team has the most international players, with 13 Canadians on the roster.

Some international athletes said they chose to attend college in the U.S. because of the opportunity to both play sports at a competitive level and attend an institution with strong academics. “In the U.S., the academics and athletics system is way better than in Europe or anywhere else in the world,” said basketball forward Gabas Maldunas ’15, who is from Lithuania. “Back home I either would’ve had to play basketball or go to school, because managing both at the same time is pretty much impossible.” Similar to domestic recruiting, these athletes often initiate contact with Dartmouth through the athletics website, and teams then follow up with interested potential athletes, swimming and diving head coach Jim Wilson said. The men’s swimming and diving team has five international athletes and the women’s team has three. Online resources, like coaches’ contact information and a virtual campus tour, allow faraway students to connect with coaches and get a feel for the school. Many international student-athletes that express interest do so both because of Dartmouth’s “typical college community” and its academic reputation, Wilson said. Though every recruited athlete has a different experience, the process after students get to know the coaches is largely similar, said field hockey player Janine Leger ’15, who is from South Africa and has started every single Ivy field hockey game since she joined the team. Maldunas, who attended high school at the Holderness School in Plymouth, was recruited by the College to play basketball. Since his school was nearby, coaches could watch him play during his senior year. Others, who lived further away, said they faced a few obstacles when communicating with coaches. Laura McCulloch ’16, a swimmer from South Africa, said that due to the six-hour time difference, she often talked to coaches at odd hours of the day throughout the recruiting process. Wilson also noted language barriers sometimes causing an issue, especially as athletes worked to adapt to American English. Over half of Dartmouth’s international athletes come from Canada, many of whom are on the hockey team. Women’s hockey player Laura Stacey ’16 said she first became interested in Dartmouth after a conversation she had with program alumni who had played for her club team, the Toronto Jr. Aeros. Four current members of the Big Green played for Toronto. The strong alumni network has helped Dartmouth hockey “gain a foothold” in the Toronto area, she said. “If you do have an interest in the Ivy League, it makes it a lot easier to look at Dartmouth since so many alumnae have,” Stacey said. In general, while top high school talent tends to play in prep schools in the U.S., in Canada, high school competition is weaker, and many players compete in the Provincial Women’s Hockey League, Stacey said. The swimming and diving team boasts a large number of international students, including swimmers from South Africa, Canada, Slovenia, Jamaica, Estonia and Honduras. Many international swimmers, McCulloch said, choose to attend college in the U.S. because the sport is not very popular at a college level elsewhere. “I think every athlete in this school has different experiences. It depends more on the sport than on your background,” Maldunas said. “I spend most of the time at school with my teammates, so I feel like everybody’s experience depends on the people that they usually hang out around.” During the 2014 Winter Olympics, the Big Green represented four different countries — Bermuda, Canada, Estonia and the United States — and brought home three medals, showing that even a small school in the woods can cast a very big shadow.
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