Name – Daniel McQuade
College/University – Central Washington University
College/University course – Managerial Economics
Rugby Position – Loosehead Prop
What has been your favourite aspect of living and studying in the United States?
The best part about being here is that I play the sport I love almost every day in an extremely competitive environment. Being a foreigner is always fun and makes conversation very easy.
Describe your first month in the United States. Was it a culture shock? And if so, why?
Living in the states is very different to living where I am in England, but it’s hard to pinpoint why. There wasn’t so much a culture shock as the differences are very slight and easy to adjust to; this was made even easier by the other international players in the team who went through the same transition and were all very helpful.
What is your current degree, and what has been your favourite course so far? What courses do you intend to take in the future?
Currently, I am double majoring in managerial economics and business analytics. I’ve taken several interesting classes, and one that piqued my interest was a philosophy class titled “the meaning of life”. I took this class to fill a gen ed requirement but non the less. It was a class that kept me interested throughout. I’ve also taken numerous business and economics classes; these are the subjects I enjoy the most and will continue to take throughout my time here.
What was the onboarding process like for you? How helpful was Brendan in finding your desired university?
I can confidently say there would be no chance I’d be studying in America if it weren’t for Brendan. Navigating the American college system is a minefield, but Brendan made it incredibly easy. Aside from applying to the universities themselves, Brendan was very knowledgeable about processes such as applying for Visas and made doing so as easy as it could be.
How would you describe U.S. collegiate rugby compared to your home nation? Comment on the competitiveness/pace/physicality
U.S. collegiate rugby isn’t to be underestimated. Whilst the gap between the top 10 teams and the rest might be considerable, those teams who rank highly are brilliant. Each team has their own attributes, but every single one of them have incredible skill sets, hugely physical players and a competitive edge that makes every game a battle.
What would you say to someone that is potentially unsure of taking the leap and starting their ERS journey?
The opportunity to study and play rugby in the U.S. is one not many will get, and an experience I’ve loved every minute of. It will provide you with countless lifelong memories, and had I not taken the leap I can’t help feeling that I would have regretted it.
What are your long-term plans? Do you intend to pursue a career in professional rugby or pursue other avenues with your degree?
Being a freshman, it is hard to commit to one future path at the moment. Should professional rugby in America be an opportunity available for me, I will definitely take it, however, the fact that I will also come out the other end of this wonderful experience with a degree from an accredited college of business means that there are plenty of opportunities in the business world that I can pursue.
Do you have any hobbies outside of rugby? Do you have plans to travel to the U.S. during term/summer breaks?
Studying and rugby take up a lot of my time so I wouldn’t say I have any hobbies, unless physio counts. During the Christmas break I took the chance to go home and it was definitely worthwhile; I will be doing the same over summer, so I get to spend time with my family and friends and get some sun across Europe.
What has been your main highlight of your ERS experience so far?
As mentioned before one of the best aspects of being here is playing rugby almost every day, but in terms of a specific moment, I think travelling to California stands out. Flying over San Francisco and seeing the likes of Alcatraz and the golden gate bridge stand out, but just the whole experience of travelling down the west coast to play Cal Berkely was incredible.
How would you describe the American college campus experience?
A campus makes things immensely convenient. Everything is so accessible that a 15-minute walk seems like something of a chore to me now. The downside is that things to do off-campus are limited
Describe your average day in the life on your campus/day in the life on an Elite Rugby Scholar.
During the seasons, our days were very busy. Wake up would be around 5 am; this would give me enough time to get ready and have something light to eat before heading to the pavilion at around 5:40. Get changed, and then do weights at 6. I can’t comment on the sessions at other colleges, but ours are great, fast-paced and exhausting. 7 am weights done, time for some food. After a chat with some of the guys over breakfast, I’ll head back to my room at around 8. Because of the time difference, after weights is always a good time to catch up with the family, so if I’ve not spoken to them in a couple of days, I’ll give them a FaceTime. I have no classes scheduled for this time, so I take the opportunity to relax a little, and at around 11:15 I’ll head back to the pavilion. I always like to get there early to give myself enough time to get my body ready for practice, whether this is just simple stretches or specific rehab, I always like to get it done before and after practice. At 12 we’ll have a quick team meeting, in which we’ll review our weekend performance and prepare for the upcoming fixture. After the meeting its out to the field for a training session lasting anywhere between an hour and an hour and a half dependent on what is on the plan for that day. Once practice is done, I’ll head back into the training room to stretch out and do any rehab. After practice is when I had most of my classes scheduled, so until around 4, I’d be in class. After classes, I try and make some time to go to the library and get some studying done. Once I’ve got enough work done, I’ll get some more food and hang out with friends until it’s time to go to bed and do it all again.
What are your top tips for anyone going through the selection process/selecting colleges?
Try to reach out to other internationals at colleges you are looking at. The best way to do this would be to ask the coach to put you in contact with them. They can give you honest reviews and more student/player-based insight to what being at that college may look like.