Campus Life

Costa realizing academic, athletic dream

Sometimes all the recruiting efforts in the world pale in comparison to a word-of-mouth endorsement and a Google search.

Such was the case for Brazilian international student Guilherme Costa, who showed up on the University of Lethbridge doorstep this past January looking first for an opportunity to study kinesiology and physical education, and secondly to play soccer.

"A few years ago my brother did an international exchange through the Rotary International program and we hosted a girl from Edmonton at our house for five months," says Costa, a 24-year-old from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

"She introduced me to Canada, and I was amazed to learn about the people, the nature and everything that was here. I decided then to come to Canada; it was my dream."
He first landed in Vancouver, B.C. and spent eight months there before finding a university that suited his interests.

"I heard about the kinesiology program at the University of Lethbridge and about the chance to do research. Now that I've been here for almost a year, I just love it," says Costa. "I did an independent study when I earned my degree in Brazil and that's what I want to keep doing here, and I thought that Lethbridge would be the perfect spot."

Gui Costa
International Brazilian student Gui Costa played a key role in the success of the Horns men's soccer team this past fall.

A third-year student in kinesiology, he comes from a family that values education and is extremely supportive of his goals. His father is an engineer, his mother a lawyer and his brother a doctor.

"My interest of study is in sport and rehabilitation," he says. "I want to work with metabolic disease in sports. We all know about the impact of physical activity in sport and metabolic disease, and I want to see how indoor sports like indoor soccer, volleyball and basketball have an impact on the body."

Coming from the world's seventh largest city in population, it is obviously a huge culture shift to arrive in a city of less than 100,000, but Costa seems at ease with the transition.

"It's a pretty calm city and I'm really enjoying that. Sao Paulo is so busy so we don't really have time for anything, and living here is pretty relaxing," he says. "I'm really looking forward to my parents coming here for Christmas. They're going to spend a month with me and we plan to travel all over Canada."

Costa grew up playing soccer and even looked at trying to play professionally in Brazil, but he prioritized education over sport, something that suits him well now as a Canada West student-athlete.

"It's been a little bit hard, because this was my first year and I've had to manage my soccer, my school and work, because I have to support myself here," he says of his job with Sodexo. He also plans to work on the Horns' game day staff team through the winter.

"I chose my classes well so that I could manage things and now that soccer season is over I plan to study and work more."

It was a banner year for the Horns men's team, which set a new team record for total points and equaled its best ever win total. That the team still fell one win shy of qualifying for the playoffs has Costa and his teammates eager for next season.

"I think we were all happy with what we did but at the same time we were frustrated because looking back, there were probably five games we should have won and didn't, and that was the difference at the end," says the first-year centre-midfielder. "So, we know we can do more next year and it makes us confident.

I think everyone wishes next season started tomorrow."

As with soccer and Costa's educational aspirations, this year is only a beginning.

"I want to finish my undergrad degree and then start a master's degree," he smiles. "I want to stay in Canada, that's my plan. Hopefully Canada will accept me."

In many ways, the country already has.


· Horns men's soccer posted a 4-5-6 record on the year and finished three points behind the University of Saskatchewan for the final Canada West playoff spot

· Costa played last summer with the Lethbridge Football Club in the Alberta Major Soccer League

· Many of the Horns will play together throughout the indoor soccer season, an opportunity to further develop their skill set for next fall

· Costa says he has no issue with the snow and cold he encounters in Canada but he could do without Lethbridge's winds. "It shocks me a little," he says

This story first appeared in the November 2012 issue of the Legend. To view the full issue in a flipbook format, follow this link.