27th December 2018

BGS STUDIES ABROAD PROGRAM: Players from Brown University.

Barcelona Global Squash caught up with the two Brown players as they came to the end of their 4 month training period in BGS while doing a Study Abroad Program in Barcelona.

BGS is already expecting further American college players for a similar program in the fall in 2019. We asked both players some questions about their clearly successful stay during these last 4 months:

The Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona.
The Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona.

Why Barcelona and BGS for your Study Abroad Program?

BGS: You’ve spent 4 months in Barcelona as part of your Brown University Study Abroad Program. Tell us briefly why you chose Barcelona, how the program works and where and what you’ve been studying.

Player 1:

“Yes! I’ve spent the last four months in a program called C.A.S.A. (Consortium for Advanced Studies Abroad). The C.A.S.A. program stood out to me because 1) all of our classes are taught in Spanish, at local universities, which gave me the opportunity to work on my Spanish and connect with the local students; 2) the group of students in the program is relatively small (only around 40); and 3) our living situation is very conducive to meeting other students (a residency filled with hundreds of international students all studying at different universities in Barcelona). And, finally, knowing I would have BGS here as a community to support my training was a huge factor. If I hadn’t had the access to training that BGS provides me, I’m not sure I would have considered studying abroad.”

BGS: I first caught up with you a few years ago prior to you going to college while you were still training with Peter and Jess at their NCA activities at Poly Prep in Brooklyn. I believe your sister spent some time in Madrid so tell us briefly why you chose Barcelona and what you have most enjoyed about the city.

Player 2:

“I knew when going into university that I wanted to spend a semester studying abroad in a foreign country, as is common for American students. Having taken Spanish at Brown for two years, I wanted to do a language intensive program in a Spanish speaking country. As such an incredible city with so much to do, Barcelona grabbed my attention. An older friend who did the program the previous year had incredible things to say about Barcelona and the study abroad program. Hearing all of the great things the city had to offer, I was very drawn to spend my fall semester here. I have most enjoyed walking around the city and familiarizing myself with its many lively neighborhoods and feel like each day I discover something new. When I chose to study abroad in Barcelona, I was unaware of the full scope of the BGS academy but now that I have spent time training with BGS, I am very happy that it has been such a big part of my experience. It has been a great opportunity to meet players from all over the world and has been important to my time here. Victor has created an atmosphere that makes the academy feel like a team more so than a group of individuals simply training together.”

How do you rate your training experience in BGS during your Study Program Abroad?

Nicholas Pitaro and BGS Head Coach Víctor Montserrat during his Study Abroad.


BGS: After your first experience here in BGS in the summer of 2016 when you joined us for a personalised program and our International Summer Camps, tell us how you’ve found your training experience this time during these last 4 months.

Player 1:

“Training with BGS in the summer of 2016 was an incredible experience, and from the moment I left I knew I would be coming back both for the academy and for Barcelona. When I did return for this semester, I could not have asked for a more perfect training set-up. Victor worked thoughtfully with my schedule to make sure I could play with the pro academy players every day, even if my class schedule prevented me from training as often as the other players. I was also very lucky to have Chloe Kalvø to train with. Chloe is the first consistent training partner I’ve had for such an extended period of time, and I definitely feel like we now know each other’s games inside out, which lets us push each other to keep our games improving and evolving. Chloe also came into the academy as a professional, often meaning her focus and dedication to the sport was unmatched to anyone else I’ve trained with. She inspires me every day, and I’ll miss training with her very much.”


BGS: Your time here in Barcelona is part of a Study Abroad Program with Brown; more and more American Universities are sending their students abroad for an international experience as a component of their degree and the college squash arena is as international as it ever has been with and more and more colleges actively recruiting players from abroad. How is the health of college squash perceived from inside?

Player 2:


“College squash is stronger and more competitive than ever, with the quality of play rising each year. Each year, new teams make a big push to raise the quality of their recruits and their teams in order to be more competitive. While the strongest teams in college squash have always recruited from the international arena and filled their rosters with American players of very high level, now more and more teams are doing this which has ultimately raised the general quality and level of competitiveness. As squash continues to grow in the United States and as more universities commit to growing their squash teams, the level of college squash will only continue to rise.”

College Squash and the Study Abroad Program.

BGS: How do you see and rate this training experience in BGS as a component of your Study Abroad Program within the perspective of college squash at Brown?

Player 1:


“While all the other players in the pro circuit had their next tournament to train for, I was mostly training in preparation for my return to Brown in January. It was strange to go so long without competing, and I hated being away from my team for our first few matches, so it felt great when I had the opportunity to travel to Oslo with Sandeep, Chloe, and Alvaro to play a tournament there. Even though we were all competing individually, they were all so supportive that it still felt as though I was traveling with a team. Overall, I feel inspired by the passion and drive of all the academy players and excited to return to Brown for our winter season.”

BGS: While you’ve been with us in BGS for the last few months, you’ve focused your training exclusively around on-court work with no S & C; how do you rate this training experience within the context of a season at Brown

Player 2:


“While the Brown season began in December, my first match of the season will be on January 12th against Princeton, a fact that I have had in the back of my mind throughout my training with BGS. While I worked with BGS to generally improve my level, my goal was always to reach peak performance by this January date in order to be fully ready for a competitive season. While I was disappointed that scheduling issues prevented me from being able to do strength and conditioning work, I have felt that the on-court work has improved my level and taught me to play at a faster pace. Having supplemented my on-court work with some independent fitness work, I feel as though I am well prepared to hit the ground running when I return to Brown in January.”

The Study Abroad Program.

BGS: And concerning your university studies here in Barcelona, tell us how you’ve found the program and how the methodology and study routine compares and/or differs from that of college back home.

Player 1:


“As for my studies here, I’ve been able to take classes in three different faculties of the Universitat de Barcelona (psychology, sociology and audiovisual), unlike a local student who would only take classes in one faculty. I’m certainly given fewer assignments and spend less time studying compared to my time at Brown, but participating or presenting in a second language is a constant challenge. My classes have mostly taught me about pushing through discomfort and not being overly perfectionistic about my work.”

Finally, concerning your university studies here in Barcelona, tell us what you’ve been studying and how it fits in to your 4-year degree.

Player 2:


“At Brown University, I am studying neuroscience and medicine and plan to attend medical school when I graduate. I have had the opportunity here to take classes outside my field of study in any department at the University of Barcelona. I am taking one class here in the psychology department of UB for which I am receiving credit towards my degree in neuroscience at Brown. I am also taking two classes in the sociology department of UB that are outside the scope of my education at Brown. I chose these classes because I wanted to capitalize on the opportunity to push my comfort zone and learn about topics outside my area of study. I have enjoyed my classes here and the chance to learn from a new perspective.”

For more information about our Study Abroad Program, visit us on our Web Site and on our social networks:

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