First-Year Spotlight: Mirthe Karstens Feels “Adopted” by Field Hockey Team

By: Lilyen McCarthy

Adelphi Field Hockey began their season with a #9 ranking on the NFHCA Division II Coaches Poll, just behind three other NE-10 schools: Assumption, Saint Anselm and Bentley. Freshman international student Mirthe Karstens joins the team this season coming across the Atlantic from Oss, Netherlands, to play for the Panthers.

Growing up and playing field hockey in the Netherlands, Karstens notes the multitude of differences between the game here in the states versus at home.

Karstens with her family in front of the panther statue.

“The atmosphere around the game here is so different: the pregame warmup, the music, the bleachers,” she said. “It’s all so exciting.”

She recalls games in the Netherlands being an hour and a half away at the farthest and receiving, at most, 20 minutes for warmups. The team never traveled together on a bus but in separate cars driven by parents. If they wanted music, they had to bring their own speaker. Her games never had a starting lineup announced and players had to pay for all of their own gear.

Karstens speaks very highly of the sport and her team’s family dynamic. “It felt like I was straight-up adopted. Everyone is super nice, and it felt like family,” she said. “I can always talk to someone and there are always people around.”

Mirthe Karstens with her field hockey teammates.

The Netherlands have a six-hour time difference with New York, making it more difficult for Karstens to keep in touch with family. With the season in session, she is extremely busy with classes, practice and spending time with her teammates, so there isn’t much time to feel homesick.

“Of course, when you’re in bed at night, the thoughts start creeping in and things get tough, but I just let all of my emotions out when they come and move on,” Karstens said about dealing with homesickness. Despite the time difference, she keeps in touch as much as possible, and her family can watch the games through NE10 Now digital streaming.

Aside from field hockey, Karstens loves life at Adelphi. She majors in environmental science and said she “really enjoys the beauty of campus,” adding there are definitely pros and cons. One of the pros is the Starbucks in the University Center. “It’s definitely not good for my caffeine addiction, but if it’s a part of my meal plan, why not?” she said.

Karstens playing in a game

Beyond trying to dress for air conditioning inside and the heat outside, something she is not used to doing at home, Karstens complains about America’s thin toilet paper and loud toilets. She jokes about the toilets “sounding like an airplane taking off” after standing.

Karstens gladly ignores the toilet paper when considering how kind the Adelphi community has been and America in general. After nearly two months in the states, she is very happy with her leap of faith in choosing Adelphi and the move to Long Island.

“Not to be dramatic, but my parents kind of just left me here. I’ve been figuring it out ever since,” she said.

If you are interested in being an active Panther and supporting field hockey, you can find the team’s schedule at aupanthers.com.



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