September 8, 2023
In the World

Pushing Boundaries

Trio Of Tiger Women's Basketball Players Participate In Summer Tour Of Spain

In their own words, Jade Simpson '24, Kelsey Ragan '25, and Jazmyn Gaines-Burns '25 discuss their summer abroad experience playing basketball in Spain. All three students are members of Wittenberg University's women's basketball team, and they participated in a study abroad experience organized by Beyond Sports International.

Jade Simpson
Class of 2024
Edgewood, Kentucky

Jade Simpson Action PhotoI participated in the international trip to Spain because I thought it would be a good opportunity to be able to play oversees and being able to get the exposure to different type of basketball. I gained the knowledge and experience of a different culture which was a unique and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

This trip supplemented my experience that I will have at Witt because I learned how to play with a group of people who I never met before in conditions that I have never played in. But if you can play and work together then you will be able to accomplish things. Building that bond off the court was just as important as the bond on the court.

Kelsey Ragan
Class of 2025
Whitehouse, Ohio

Kelsey Ragan Action PhotoI’ve always wanted to travel, and this basketball tour gave me the opportunity to do so. It was also a chance to play a different style of basketball against excellent players, which also excited me. We got the email about the tour and started talking amongst ourselves. We knew that this was a rare opportunity and decided that we couldn’t pass it up. When else would we ever have the chance to do that again?

I gained a lot from participating in this basketball tour. I got new perspectives on the game of basketball whether that was from my opponents, coaches, teammates. Keep in mind that I have never met any of the coaches or players that went on that tour, besides Jade and Jazmyn, until I got to the airport. That means, though, that I made new friends that live around the U.S. and learned how their day-to-day life could be different than mine simply because we live on opposite sides of the country. The tour wasn’t only about basketball, so we were able to learn about the history and culture of Spain. I really loved that side of the tour because learning about new cultures is very interesting to me, and it causes you to be more open-minded generally.

This trip supplemented my Wittenberg experience in many ways. I was able to become closer with my Wittenberg teammates by having these incredible shared experiences from the trip. This trip allowed me to play against a wider range of players that I may never have been able to without Wittenberg. If the team wasn’t as successful as we were last year, who knows if we would still have had this opportunity. The trip and Wittenberg both are supplements to one another in my opinion. I don’t think I would have had this opportunity without the support and success of the team here at Witt. Yet, the trip also brought me to closer to my teammates and more knowledge about the game that I can hopefully use here in games and practices.

Jazmyn Gaines-Burns
Class of 2025
Bladensburg, Maryland

Jazmyn Gaines-Burns Action PhotoI, along with Kelsey Reagan and Jade Simpson from the women's basketball team, participated in an invitational tour hosted by a company called Beyond Sports. The concept is to pair with high school and college students to provide an experience in which you can play your sport and also experience a foreign country. I was presented with the opportunity to go to Spain with my teammates, where two teams of people traveled to visit five cities while playing pro teams in three cities. With an opportunity to go to another country and tour while also playing against women in that play in professional euro-leagues, I couldn't miss the opportunity.

I learned a lot on and off the court. On the court, I learned that teams tend to always look for the extra pass and not many women play 1-on-1. They utilize their teammates very well and play like they drill, always looking for the best shot no matter who it comes from. Also, they can all shoot. Off the court, I learned a lot about Spanish history and cultural norms. We went to five cities, including Madrid, Toledo (my personal favorite), Valencia, Tarragona, and Barcelona, which all have similar customs and also differ. For example, overall Spaniards love ham!!! Man, did I have great ham there. There are different kinds of ham, too, that can differ in price range based on how they were fed (which, believe it or not, is taken very seriously). The streets are narrower and the average person is bilingual in these cities which made it easy to get around. I mainly picked up on small cultural differences and really enjoyed my trip.

This experience was something to refer to over the year on and off the court. When in Spain, I played with girls that I had never met before and had to figure out a way to communicate and work together. I was put in the position of point guard, which is not my first position and I was forced to think of ways to make my team successful, and at Witt, I plan to do the same thing. With 13 newcomers, I plan to continue the tradition of healthy competition within the team while also thinking of ways to contribute to a team I may not have played with before. Off the court, Spain taught me to be open-minded. I learned there are all kinds of people in the world and that every single person has a story like I do. The beauty is sharing and learning from each other.

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About Wittenberg

Wittenberg's curriculum has centered on the liberal arts as an education that develops the individual's capacity to think, read, and communicate with precision, understanding, and imagination. We are dedicated to active, engaged learning in the core disciplines of the arts and sciences and in pre-professional education grounded in the liberal arts. Known for the quality of our faculty and their teaching, Wittenberg has more Ohio Professors of the Year than any four-year institution in the state. The university has also been recognized nationally for excellence in community service, sustainability, and intercollegiate athletics. Located among the beautiful rolling hills and hollows of Springfield, Ohio, Wittenberg offers more than 100 majors, minors and special programs, enviable student-faculty research opportunities, a unique student success center, service and study options close to home and abroad, a stellar athletics tradition, and successful career preparation.

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