Student Athlete Shares How She Got Involved in Sports in Granada

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Ashley Houston
November 17, 2015

Some students are hesitant to leave their U.S. campuses and venture abroad for fear of missing out on an exciting season for their sports team. They don’t want to lose ground on training, they want to remain a part of the group, and worry they won’t be able to pursue their sport overseas.

What many student athletes don’t realize is that they don’t have to miss out when they study abroad. There are opportunities to get involved on sports teams, leagues, and intramural groups while studying abroad as well!

Meet Natasha Daviduke (Granada, Fall 2015) of Haverford College, who joined the local Ultimate Frisbee team in Granada. Here she shares how she was able to continue her athletic passion while abroad:

“When I first told my Spanish host mom that I wanted to find a Frisbee league in Granada, she asked me how playing fetch with dogs could be a team sport. I laughed and attempted to explain the basic rules of the game and describe my experience playing for the women’s Ultimate team at Haverford College.

Frisbee has been a part of my life since high school and an absolutely irreplaceable, foundational aspect of my college experience. I knew before I arrived in Spain that I wanted to play with a team here, not only to get exercise and improve my skills, but because Ultimate is marked by a culture of inclusiveness, encouragement, cooperation, and community. I figured it would be the perfect venue for making Spanish friends and practicing the language, and it has been all that and more. 

The activity coordinators at IES Abroad Granada helped me find a co-ed club team called 'Granayd' and in mid-September, along with several of my IES Abroad friends who I encouraged to try Frisbee, I started attending the twice-weekly practices.

Team photo of Granayd (Natasha is third from the right, front row)

We were immediately welcomed by the team, given patient Spanish explanations of practice drills, and invited out for tapas. Granayd is a wonderful mix of Granadinos, Spaniards, Germans, Slovakians, Americans, and travelers from everywhere who want to pick up with the team for a couple days. One of the captains is from las Canarias, and she connected me with a team from her home town that was playing a beach tournament in Valencia. I traveled up the coast in early October and met them for a glorious weekend of sunshine, Ultimate, food, and fun. 'Las Platilleras' hailed from las Canarias, Galicia, and Madrid. I jumped into two intense days of travel and Spanish immersion, and returned with connections to the loveliest group of women, great memories, and a pretty nice tan. 

Partial team photo of Las Platilleras (Natasha, second from the right, top row)
Credit: XeQueBo! Beach Ultimate

We played four games on Saturday and two on Sunday, becoming a cohesive force on the field surprisingly fast and coming out with four wins. We went up against teams from Spain, Germany, and the U.K. In true Ultimate style, competing equipos (teams) would mingle and circle-up after each game to compliment each other’s performance, exchange treats, and attempt silly challenges. In between partidos (games), we chatted, cheered for other teams, swam in the Mediterranean, and enjoyed paella and horchata. The entire tournament ate dinner in the same restaurant, which was easily the most raucous and hilarious three hours of the weekend. It was a truly unforgettable experience and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to pick up colloquial Spanish, see the country, and satisfy my love of adventure.

Las Platilleras warming up before a game
Credit: XeQueBo! Beach Ultimate

I’m looking forward to continuing practices in Granada and becoming closer with the friends I’ve made on the team. It’s so exciting to tread outside my comfort zone with people who share my love of Ultimate and I would absolutely encourage any future IES Abroad students to seek out a team while they’re abroad.” 


Natasha is from Seattle, Washington, and is currently a junior at Haverford College where she studies Political Science and Education. She chose to study abroad in Granada for the semester because she was excited by the city's manageable size, its unique and vibrant culture, the beautiful surrounding landscape, and, of course, the free tapas. So far, her favorite things about Granada are the street musicians, the gardens around the Alhambra, the food, and the ethos of "no pasa nada." When Natasha is not playing Ultimate in Seattle, Haverford, or Spain, she enjoys performing with her improv comedy group, cooking, and hiking. 


Learn more about our Study in Granada Program!


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Ashley Houston

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