National Transfer Student Week: An Athlete’s Perspective

William Anderson, News Writer

In a perfect world students all hope to make their college decision only once.   

In the United States each year 1.9 million students transfer from two-year community colleges to four-year schools. Transfer students make up 21% of all current Wayne State College students or 642 total. This past year alone the college welcomed 197 new faces including 23 student athletes who’ve decided to pursue their education alongside their sport. In celebration of national transfer student week, one of these athletes and her experience since arriving in fall 2021 is highlighted.  

Viktoria Bortiekiwcz-Hamelin, a women’s golf team member, made the journey across the border transferring from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.  

“At first, I was not planning to come to the states,” Hamelin said. “My coach at the time encouraged me to look at schools as I was shooting scores like others in college golf here.”  

Hamelin endured a different transfer process compared to most students – one littered with paperwork, illness and adjustment to life in a new country. 

“COVID really slowed down the process of transferring for me with all the shutdowns and testing requirements,” Hamelin said. “At the time I sent out emails to different schools and had a few offers, including one Division 1 offer from a school in Alabama. I had to take the SAT, fill out the National Collegiate Athletic Association eligibility questionnaire and file for a work visa. Once I arrived in the Midwest it was a different planet compared to Montreal with the size of the community and its way of life. I knew English going in but the biggest factor to my golf game was the way the wind is here. I had to adjust my style of play to fit it.” 

Hamelin is hardly alone. According to the NCAA, there are 20,000 student athletes from abroad competing throughout its three athletic divisions, not including the many more in community colleges. These athletes compete in all types of sports, including Ice hockey, tennis, golf and cross country. 

“I was playing golf as a club sport at the time, so I never had to enter a transfer portal before I received the offer from Wayne State,” Hamelin said. 

Student athletes look at many factors when deciding where to transfer to, including facilities, cost of attendance and program prestige.  

“Wayne State had nice facilities for a school its size with the Wayne Country Club, as well as having indoor putting greens for winter golf practices and education that fit for my career path,” Hamelin said. 

While at Concordia University in Montreal, Hamelin pursued a degree in economics before switching to sport management when she arrived in Wayne. Once she graduates, she said she wants to pursue a job in the Professional Golfers Association as a tournament director. On top of this she wants to use her media skills on social media making graphics and providing coverage of her tournaments.