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International student says physics and football drew him to PSU

July 13, 2012 12:00AM

Merab Basilaia, a student from the Republic of Georgia, may be one of the few international students at Pittsburg State University whose choice to come to PSU was influenced by Gorilla football.

Merab mug shotBasilaia, a rugby player who has enjoyed watching American football on television, said the Gorillas’ national championship helped him choose PSU from a list of about 15 universities that he and his parents considered.

“When I saw you were champions, I was excited,” Basilaia said. “When someone is the best, being part of it makes you proud.”

Basilaia is quick to note that football (and rugby) weren’t his only considerations, or even his first.

“I was looking for a school with a strong Physics Department,” said Basilaia, a physics major, “and Pittsburg State has that.”

He said the university’s affordability and friendliness were also important factors in his decision. Basilaia said his mother works for the U.S. in the Republic of Georgia and by chance, her supervisor is from Kansas and had good things to say about PSU.

“When you have friends, you really trust what they say,” Basilaia said.

So far, those opinions have been borne out, Basilaia said, especially about the quality and friendliness of the faculty in the Physics Department.

“All of the faculty I have met have been great,” said Basilaia, who is taking physics classes during the summer.

He even made a trek over to the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, where he learned from the football coaches that getting an opportunity to play football for the Gorillas would take a lot of work and practice.

Like a lot of things, Basilaia said with a smile, “It’s a dream.”

Although he won’t be suiting up, Basilaia will be at Carnie Smith Stadium when the Gorillas play their first home game on Sept. 8.

“I’ll be there as a fan!” Basilaia said with a smile.

©2012 Pittsburg State University