Joaquin Pasquet, from Uruguay, and Nicholai Lassen, from Denmark, play first grade soccer for Macquarie University. They are watching World Cup 2014 in Australia, undaunted by game starts in the early hours.
The first priority for study abroad student Joaquin Pasquet when he arrived at Macquarie University from Uruguay in February was to find the University’s soccer (football) team. A player since he was six years old, he played professionally in Europe until he returned home to Uruguay to study business.
Joaquin was joined by fellow internationals Nicholai Lassen, from Denmark, and Alex Aguiar, also on exchange from Uruguay, on the Macquarie team for the 2014 season. Nicholai met the club president at O-Week. “It’s been a great opportunity to become friends with some Australian guys who you wouldn’t necessarily meet otherwise,” says Nicholai, who is studying a Master of Science and Economics.
They will be watching the World Cup from their University village accommodation and at the campus UBar, undeterred by game starts in the early hours in the middle of exams.The month long World Cup begins June 13 in Brazil.
“I hope Uruguay isn’t playing the same day as an exam,” Joaquin jokes. “I don’t know what I will do…can I get special consideration for that? I’m a bit sad I’m not home for the World Cup as it is the biggest event in Uruguay to watch. But I am loving being in Sydney. It is such a cosmopolitan city. I love the weather and this campus…at my university at Uruguay, you go to class and go home. Here you can stay on campus all day.”
“I want to watch as many of the matches as possible even though it’s going to be pretty early in the morning,” Nicholai agrees. “I’m probably going to watch them with my friends in the village and the guys from my soccer team.”
The team currently train twice a week at Macquarie University sport fields near the University. They play every Saturday and remain undefeated in the area, so are on track to win the competition and compete in Sydney’s ‘super league’.
“Every year we are lucky enough to attract a few high quality players and I would love to encourage this further,” says coach Mark Cadle of his international team.
“I scored my first goal three weeks ago, which was exciting,” says Joaquin. “I got a little memento from the match with my tooth chipped – it was my fault! Soccer here is not as technical but it is more physical. Players are bigger. I think we are a good team as we are both technical and physical and we have a good coach. We play well together.”
On weekends and breaks they are exploring Sydney and Australia. Their Australian friends have shown them favourite Sydney beaches, Palm Beach and Bondi, invited them on weekends to coastal beach towns and introduced them to local football – rugby league.
“We drove to Byron Bay and the Whitsundays (The Barrier Reef). We are going to Melbourne soon,” says Joaquin. Nicholai has adventured on a fishing trip in Cairns, Far North Queensland, stayed at surf camps and sailed in the Barrier Reef too.
Most of all, Joaquin wants to return to Australia after his exchange to do the rest of his degree here, or postgraduate study so he can stay for a longer time in Sydney.
“I have to leave before the end of the soccer season in August,” he says regretfully. “The coach would like me to stay too.”
If you’re a uni student interested in visiting Australia, why not study abroad at Macquarie for either one or two semesters.
Macquarie University sport offers competitive and social teams for all abilities and interests.