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From BTEC Esports to Northwood University!

In an era where virtual arenas are as fiercely competitive as traditional sports fields, esports has risen to become a globally recognized and respected industry. Among those looking to succeed in the area is Level 3 BTEC Esports learner Ciaran, who is ready to take the next steps towards his future career. But this isn't just any step – it's a leap across the Atlantic Ocean to join Northwood University's esports team in the USA.

The journey began with a spark of curiosity that blossomed into a well-orchestrated plan. Studying abroad had always been on the radar, but it wasn't until a past esports team manager suggested it that the idea gained serious traction. With Overwatch boasting an official collegiate circuit in the USA, opportunities to transition into pro leagues from universities abound, unlike the UK's esports landscape. These American institutions also offer scholarships to talented players, setting the stage for both academic and esports advancement.

Ciaran had honed his Overwatch skills for over five years, and his aspirations extended beyond gameplay alone. A desire to work in collegiate esports in the UK fuelled his ambitions, and a transatlantic education seemed tailor-made. However, the decision wasn't made lightly. The selection process was methodical, involving careful filtering of potential universities based on factors like esports courses, strong teams, and scholarship opportunities.

Directly reaching out to coaches, esports directors, and managers of collegiate Overwatch teams was the next strategic step. Each university had its own scouting process, which often entailed showcasing gameplay through VODs (videos of gameplay), revealing ranks, and detailing path-to-pro experiences. The standout choice was Northwood University, renowned for its robust esports program and a victorious collegiate circuit run. Surprisingly, before he even sent a comprehensive application, Northwood had already scouted this aspiring esports pro.

The news of selection came from none other than Cody Elsen, the Director of Esports at Northwood. Ciaran's prowess had caught the eye of this prestigious institution, underlining their talent and potential. Now came the momentous decision of accepting the offer. While the prospect of moving abroad alone was daunting, the scale seemed to tip overwhelmingly in favour of acceptance. The allure of enhancing their CV, gaining valuable experience in the US collegiate esports system, and playing alongside esports heroes became irresistible.

Fast forward to the present day, and preparations are well underway. Flights are booked, residence secured, and essential arrangements like healthcare and banking are being sorted. The anticipation is palpable, fuelled by the excitement of experiencing American life, excelling in a future career, and elevating esports prowess.

However, the journey isn't without its apprehensions. Battling anxiety and social anxiety in the past, Ciaran acknowledges the challenges of acclimating to a new environment and starting afresh. Having previously experienced living away from home for his studies, this transition is an entirely different ballgame. But with resilience honed over the years, Ciaran is ready to tackle these new challenges head-on.

Ciaran concluded by saying: “I'd like to thank my parents their financial and social support. My mother has helped me through the whole application process immensely (the recent decision to study abroad has made this quite the rush). She is all things esports. She might actually watch more esports in her own time than I can. My father has kept me grounded and realistic. I'm lucky to have to both of them as my parents. I'd also like to mention that my lecturers at Weston, Cam Lyes and Will Price, were excellent all throughout my time there. We said goodbye to Cam at the end of this year, I wish him the best in Bristol. Will is staying at Weston College this year. People planning to study esports at Weston are in good hands.”

We wish Ciaran the very best of luck with his future!

If you are passionate about education and are looking for an opportunity to join the staff team at a leading college, then look at the latest job vacancies available at Weston College here. You can find all the latest job opportunities that Weston College has to offer, with a commitment to providing quality education for learners and a focus on continuous professional development for staff, Weston College is an excellent place to work and grow in your career. 

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