It was ‘hard’ leaving home for guard, but transition will ‘pay off’

Jasmine Casimir // Assistant Sports Director

Student-athletes are known to have the busiest schedules out of the whole student body, especially when they’re in season.

They have classes, practices, meetings, games —home and away—  and community work. With these components taking up most of their time, finding time to see their families and loved ones may be tricky.

Senior guard Nikolina Todorovic is one of many student-athletes whose family lives almost 6,000 miles away in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It’s difficult for her to go home when she wants.

“The biggest trouble would be the flight over the ocean,” Todorovic said. “That would take about 10 hours to land. Then, I would have a layover for an hour and a half.”

Bosnia doesn’t have an airport that connects anywhere near Todorovic’s home. So after a lengthy plane ride, she then has to land in a neighbor country and drive six hours to reach home.

Because the basketball season is practically year-round, Todorovic takes advantage of the two months she has off to go see her family.

“From May to June is the only time that I can go home to see my family,” Todorovic said.

Following the war in Bosnia in the 1990s, Todorovic’s family was greatly affected but was able to relocate.

“At the time, my mom was pregnant with me when they were bombing the whole town,” Todorovic said. “My dad had the power back then to move us to a bigger city. The war was tough, but the consequence gave me and my sister better opportunities.”

The Bosnia and Herzegovina native may not see her family as much as she would like and although it was hard for Todorovic to leave her family and travel halfway across the world, she knew the decision will eventually pay off.

“It was hard, but that is something that had to be done,” Todorovic said. “Of course I miss my family, but we’re doing this to make them proud.”

Coming to the United States was always her dream, and Todorovic made sure to pick a university that would best suit her. FIU was second on her list, but eventually became the No. 1 pick after ruling out Texas Tech.

“On [FIU’s] roster, I saw they had a couple of international players,” Todorovic said. “I reached out to them and they gave me good feedback and had no complaints.”

Since living in the U.S., Todorovic has been following in her sister’s footsteps who also decided to move to the states for a better opportunity. She graduated last spring with her bachelor’s degree in international relations, and has started graduate school to obtain her master’s degree.

With all that she has accomplished and is striving to accomplish while playing college basketball, Todorovic gives a piece of advice on how to do it.

“To be a student-athlete, the number one thing is time management,” Todorovic said. “I don’t consider basketball a hobby anymore, it’s my job. So it’s very important to have your schedule on point to know when to study for classes or when to do homework.”

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