Originally from Barcelona, MSU women’s golf’s freshman Paz Marfa Sans is adjusting to life overseas in East Lansing.
Junior Sarah Burnham, Marfa Sans’ “big sister” and teammate, said the freshman is a great companion to everyone. She said Marfa Sans has offered her words of encouragement when she has had trouble with her game.
Burnham said being a sisterly figure isn’t hard because everyone else takes care of her. She said Marfa Sans has also done a good job taking care of herself.
Aside from competing on the golf course, Marfa Sans has excelled in the classroom, earning a 4.0 grade-point average during her first semester at MSU.
The women’s golf team has taken home the award for highest team GPA for the past six years, head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll said.
It’s something she and her team are proud of.
Marfa Sans said there were a few significant differences in Michigan compared to back home in Barcelona.
“In Barcelona I’ve never seen snow,” Marfa Sans said. “I never practiced indoors, it was a big difference, in the golf game and especially the weather was very different.”
Marfa Sans said she’s always had the desire to play golf in the U.S.
“Since I knew I could go study in the U.S. I knew I wanted to,” Marfa Sans said. “I just love English, and when I went to the movies I was like for sure, I want to go.”
Marfa Sans caught Slobodnik-Stoll’s eye at a tournament in Florida, where Marfa Sans came in second place.
“We just started talking and she was really nice and she gave me confidence, and I was just feeling really comfortable talking to her and I just decided to commit here,” Marfa Sans said.
She said she committed early. Slobodnik-Stoll said Marfa Sans committed prior to getting to MSU’s campus.
“(The tournament) happened in December, and I committed in April,” Marfa Sans said.
Marfa Sans said receiving help from tutors during her first semester helped her adjust well to a college curriculum.
Another change for Marfa Sans was playing for a team and not at an individual level, she said. She said she played for Spain’s national team and got a feel for what it would be like playing on a team, though. It wasn’t too big of an adjustment for her and she enjoys playing on a team.
Marfa Sans said two major modifications were getting used to the food here and having all of her classes taught in English.
She said she’s spoken English for a long time.
“All my classes, all the people, and I just didn’t find many people that talk Spanish,” Marfa Sans said. “At my international orientation, I found a few people from Panama that talk Spanish and it was nice to talk to them.”
Along with the food and classes, Marfa Sans said the eating schedule in the U.S. is different compared to the one back home.
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“But also, the food, the food is the biggest adjustment ever,” Marfa Sans said. “For sure. And the time schedule too. Like, at home I’ll usually eat breakfast at nine ... then maybe have a snack at 11, 12. Then I have lunch at two. And then we have like a snack at six then we have dinner at nine.”
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