Award-winning, student-run, weekly campus newspaper of the University of Illinois, Springfield

The Observer

Award-winning, student-run, weekly campus newspaper of the University of Illinois, Springfield

The Observer

Award-winning, student-run, weekly campus newspaper of the University of Illinois, Springfield

The Observer


From France to UIS: Camille Terré

Contributors: Elena Dimaggio

Starting as an exchange student in 2022, Camille Terré, from France, immediately fell in love with UIS and the Cross Country/Track and Field Team (XCTF). This led her to pursue her studies in the United States, seeking a master’s degree in communication and saw her becoming the first international student-athlete for the XCTF team at UIS. Although many people might perceive XCTF as an individual sport, Camille Terré emphasizes the great, friendly and supportive team at UIS as the secret to successful competition. From cross-country competitions in France to running for an American track and field team, surrounded by modern and compelling facilities, Camille is living her American Dream. I had the pleasure of interviewing Camille to learn more about her background and her passion for the sport.


The Observer: Why did you choose UIS for your study abroad program last year and what influenced your decision to return for your Master’s degree?

Camille Terré: My former university had an exchange program with many American universities. I found UIS’s setting and its status as a new partner university interesting. Also, having family near Chicago reassured my parents, as I would have been close to my cousins if anything happened or just to spend time away from the university.

Story continues below advertisement

My decision to return was mainly influenced by the track and field team. That was the sole reason I decided to come back. The team was incredibly welcoming and caring, even though I wasn’t competing for them, as I was just an exchange student. It was my American dream to run for an American university, and until I had lived it, I couldn’t return to France. I have never regretted that choice, and it’s one of the best decisions I have ever made!


The Observer: How did you first get involved in track and field in France?

CT: When I was very young, I started competing in cross-country races in the town where I lived. I was often on the podium, so I decided to join a triathlon club. When I moved to a city where there were no triathlon clubs available, I shifted my focus on track and field and sprinting became a passion. It really helped me grow.


The Observer: What challenges or adjustments did you face when transitioning to the track and field scene in the USA?

CT: There wasn’t really one. I had taken a two-year break, so I was expecting a fresh start regardless of whether it was French or international.


The Observer: How has being the only international student-athlete shaped your overall experience in the track and field team?

CT: It’s great, I feel I have a privileged status. It’s an honor to be the first international athlete in the program. My teammates are curious and often joke around, but I have never felt uncomfortable. They are always there to help me and translate unfamiliar words for me. I love this status; it makes me feel special in a good way!


The Observer: Are there any unique traditions or rituals associated with track and field in France that differ from the USA? Or are there any traditions that both happen in France and USA?

CT: The biggest thing is the tradition of singing the American anthem with hands over hearts and facing the flag before each competition. It’s incredibly moving and something that really impressed me. It gives me goosebumps every time! Additionally, I have noticed that the bibs are different: here they are numbers stuck on the left hip. Moreover, here is forbidden to show your navel, whereas in France, running in a bra is allowed. Here, running in “knickers” is much more common than in France, which I found wonderful. It’s definitely more comfortable for running.


The Observer: In terms of facilities and resources, what disparities have you noticed between the two countries?

CT: There is more budget for infrastructure here in the USA. Sports are truly prioritized, and it shows in the remarkable facilities at every university I’ve competed at. The interior design is simply incredible – it’s infrastructure unlike anything I have seen before. I find that it explains a lot about the USA’s participation in international track and field competitions. Here, there’s the budget, the time, and the ambition to succeed.”


The Observer: What advice would you give to other international students considering participating in track and field or other sports while studying abroad?

CT: I would say that they won’t be disappointed. Among all the university track teams I have met in competitions, there is a strong sense of unity and cohesion. We have worked and continue to work on this cohesion, and it has a huge impact on results. We tend to think of track and field as an individual sport, but it’s not. The support, encouragement and days spent with a team like this make this sport even more rewarding and beautiful.



Throughout our conversation, Camille Terré shared fascinating insights into her personal life and the world of Cross Country and Track and Field. Her perspective on the rewarding life of a student athlete, where sports commitment is highly valued, is both inspiring and thought-provoking. Her story leaves you feeling inspired to dive headfirst into your own pursuits, both on and off the track.

More to Discover