Photo courtesy of Karl Bercy ’17 | Bercy spent his spring semester playing soccer in Italy.
By Joseph Valencia ’17
Karl Bercy ’17 decided to spend the second semester of his junior year studying abroad in Italy while exploring his future interests in soccer.
Bercy lived and studied at Convitto Nazionale Principe Di Napoli, a boarding school with a soccer team, from January to June of 2016. He spent most of his day-to-day life living in a dorm in what he called “a precollege experience.”
“I wanted to see what it’s like to play at a higher level,” Bercy said. “Since Italy is well known for its competitive soccer, I wanted to see what it’s like to play at that level, and how I can improve.”
Bercy said he initially experienced some difficulties in adjusting to the weather of Italy, since he arrived in the winter.
“The weather was so different, it was really cold in January,” Bercy said. “And it was really inconsistent, sometimes it would rain, other times it would be sunny and a few days it snowed.”
Overall, Bercy said he thoroughly enjoyed his time in Italy, and described some of the highlights and impacts it had on him.
Bercy’s trip to Italy also drew surprise from some of his friends.
“When Karl left to go to Italy I was initially surprised. But I understood that he was following his passion and set on his soccer goals,” said Geoffrey Salmon ’17. “It’s good to have him back again.”
Other friends admired Bercy’s willingness to go out into the world.
“He went to a foreign country, met new friends and spoke a new language all for the sake of pursuing a dream,” said Eason Skelnik ’17. “That’s beyond impressive.”
It was immersing himself in a different culture that really stood out for the soccer player.
“My main takeaways were being able to understand a new culture and to experience it for myself, trying new food, and challenging myself,” Bercy said.
Bercy also said that the trip had an effect on how he views playing soccer and it helped him evaluate his future plans in the sport.
“My time in Italy motivated me to train more and to maintain my focus in improving my skills to reach my goals,” Bercy said. “I hope to play D1 in college, and professionally if I can, preferably in Europe because that’s where the most challenges are.”
Bercy is currently focusing on narrowing down his college list, and hopes to receive some scholarship offers in the near future.