Chasing Opportunities in the U.S.


David Jenkins

Sophomore Nikita Katsnelson follows through a swing during his singles match Friday, March 31 against Mesa Ariz. College. Katsnselson won his singles and doubles match.

David Jenkins

Nikita Katsnelsin is an international student-athlete at Cerritos College. Katsnelsin is a sophomore tennis player for the Falcons and finished the season 8-4 in singles matches. In doubles, Katsnelsin played this season exclusively with fellow Ukrainian and international student-athlete Sasha Krasnov, the duo ended 12-2 on the season.

Where in the Ukraine are you from?


A: Odessa, in southern Ukraine.



When did you come to the United States?


A: I came two years ago. My first semester was Fall 2015.



Did you come on your own or did you come with family members?


A: I came with family members, but we knew already that we were going to leave (Ukraine). We lived in a house with nine to ten guys. All the guys were international, but now I live with my parents.



What made you decide to come to the United States?


A: My major, at first I really didn’t know what I wanted. But then I decided to major in business because I think it’s one of the best majors to study here in the states.



At what age did you start playing tennis?


A: When I was seven.



Did you play tennis in the Ukraine?


A: Yeah. I used to play in European and National tournaments in other countries around Europe. I have some experience in this sport.



How are you liking the states so far?


A: Well, it’s better than my home country, because being from Ukraine it’s not as developed as the U.S.

Over here we have more fun, more opportunities to spend time in every way.

Here it’s more interesting to live. In Ukraine there’s not a lot of choices on what to do. I can practice and hang out and that was something I didn’t get to do.



Did you go to school/ college in the Ukraine?


A: I came here right after I gradated from high school, right away. I graduated in May and got here in August.


Are you planning to transfer?


A: Yeah, I’m going to transfer after this semester. I’m going to be done with my AA degree. So, I have some suggestions. I don’t have the full answer to this question. I’m going to figure that out in a couple of weeks to see where I’m going to transfer.


Are you planning to do anything with tennis or is this just while you’re in school?


A: I mean… I’ll see after I play some tournaments, but probably I think I will just work something out with my major which will help to get to work here.

Because to be a pro is not very easy. Especially in Denmark for example, in Denmark if you want to have good profit you have to be in top value and it’s pretty tough. There are a lot of players who move up in level but are top 200. There good players and they can have good biographies, but they will have a new mind from this experience.



Do you ever think of going back to the Ukraine to visit or maybe to even live there?


A: I go there each winter break, for example I was there this past winter break.

Probably, I’m thinking about staying here and try to work after graduation because in Ukraine there’s really no perspective to work.


Are there any benefits that you get from the college as being an International student? That you know of?


A: Well, I get benefits for being an athlete because I got a scholarship, but for international really don’t have any benefits.