How Does an American Degree Better Prepare You For Your Career?
Many of our specialist and managers have traveled to America internationally to obtain their degrees and continue their athletic careers. Adela Hofmannova is a former stellar track and field student-athlete from the Czech Republic. She started out her journey to the United States thinking she would just be there for one semester; she ended up staying for seven years and later on got to run communications for an American company!!
Adela is an example of how pursuing an education in something you are passionate about can lead to an extremely fulfilling career. She studied at Oklahoma State University and earned a degree in Public Health. She then moved on to complete her NCAA eligibility and get her Masters degree at Utah State. After six years, she had two degrees, a number of athletic accolades, countless friends and memories and experiences to last a lifetime. Not to mention the fact that being fluent in English makes you a very attractive candidate in the job market. Read more about her journey below!
What sport did you do in college?
Track and Field.
When and how did you get started competing?
I started competing in track and field when I was about 15, before I played basketball.
What were the biggest accomplishments during your career?
Seems like a cliché, but it was the journey. If I should pinpoint some big moments for me, however, definitely a top 3 finish at European Team Championships, Czech national championships, regional and conference championships in the USA and winning the Mt. Sac high performance meet in California as well as Stanford Invitational. I still compete, but not professionally.
Why did you choose to leave to go to the US?
I felt like it was an opportunity to grow not just as an athlete, but as a person. There was a much better chance to combine sport and education at top level and also get paid along my studies through scholarship.
What was the biggest challenge in the transition process?
Getting used to a different culture and training habits, trusting in the unknown.
What were your expectations and what was the reality?
I think my expectations met with reality, better yet, the reality way exceeded my expectations. I flew overseas to try for one semester or one year and then we would see, but at the end I stayed 7 years and those were the best years of my life.
What were the biggest lessons you have learned in college or as a result of going through your college experience?
Work hard, be patient, trust in the process, learn from mistakes and be flexible with whatever life throws at you.
What has been the hardest thing about your years in school?
Getting sick and being so far away from family when I got the diagnosis. It was not the disease itself, but rather the direction I had to take in order to get healthy again. I was not able to do any physical activity for quite some time, and had to find ways to stay optimistic. Apart from that, finding a solution when my grad school assistantship got cut down due to the school's tightened budget and had to find ways to pay for school two days prior start of my last semester. I prayed and meditated to find a solution, and then had to come up really fast with a solution and act quickly in order to be able to start the semester and finish my degree. Those were some tough but good life lessons, that nothing is ever given to you for free and that we must not take things for granted.
What has been the best thing about your years in school?
The memories and friends I‘d made, places I‘d seen, two degrees obtained and much confidence to deal with whatever comes.
In what way did your life change (attitude to things, opinions, etc.)?
Every aspect of my life changed. My way of thinking, trying to be less judgmental and more appreciative of the small things, those that matter the most. I am able to identify what works well in my country and on the contrary, what can be learnt from other countries, my training habits changed and I learned to do sports for the joy of it rather than being oriented purely on results. I feel like I matured as a person and got strengthened and enriched in every way.
What direction did you go after graduating?
I went to a grad school, masters and PhD studies and now in my job I try to combine everything from my favorite topic – health, sport, communications and helping others.
What do you do currently?
I am the Operations Director for USA Sport and Study, where I manage the day to day operations with the ultimate goal to help young people experience a similar journey like myself. I also teach at the university occasionally, work on a dissertation for my PhD, and I have been in charge of communication and public relations for one successful American company.