Georgia Southern University is familiar territory for Jaap Aaldering. The Slamstox tennis player started his American adventure in 2019. As a freshman student Jaap told us about his first experiences in the USA in an interview. Now, Jaap is a junior student and today ‘his’ Georgia Southern University is in our weekly University Spotlight.

Roster photo Jaap Aaldering

As a child, Jaap was always playing with a ball. When he was five years old, he started playing soccer and from the age of nine he started playing tennis as well. He enjoyed playing tennis so much, he eventually decided to only continue playing tennis. After graduating, Jaap planned to start his Masters study in Tilburg. But the hard combination of study and sports in the Netherlands made Jaap decide to leave for the USA.

As the name suggests, the university is located in the state of Georgia. Subtropical temperatures and hurricane threats, that was something Jaap had to get used to. But after 2 years of being an student-athlete at Georgia Southern University, GSU became his home away from home.

Do you want to know more about the university of Jaap? Keep on reading!


Georgia Southern University (GSU) is a public research university that was founded in 1906. GSU has three campuses: Statesboro Campus, Armstrong Campus en Liberty Campus. Statesboro Campus is the largerst of the three with approximately 20.000 students. Despite the size, there is still a ‘community feeling’ on the campus. The campus was recently named one of America’s best communities! That’s cool right?

In Statesboro, you will also find the “Sweetheart Circle”. It is called the Sweetheart Circle because previously, the men and women dormitories were set across the fields. So when students wanted to meet their ‘sweethearts’, they had to meet in the middle of the field. The saying goes that when you walk three times around the circle with your sweetheart, you will get marries. Nowadays, many marriage proposals and wedding ceremonies are held here. How romantic?!

Sweetheart Circle – Statesboro

The Armstrong Campus is located on the Atlantic coast in beautiful Savannah. One of the unique features of the campus is that it is an ‘arboretum campus’. This means that there’s a big collection of trees and plants, which are intended for educational purposes. All kinds of plants from six of the seven continents of the world can be found. Which makes the campus a perfect place for anyone interested in biology!


The athletes at Georgia Southern University used to be called the ‘Blue Tide’ and ‘Professors’. The current nickname is ‘Eagles’. The university has 17 sports teams that play in the NCAA Division l. The university’s athletic program exists of men’s teams in baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, tennis and football. Besides that, 9 women’s teams are part of the university. They compete in basketball, golf, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track & field, volleyball and rifle. In addition, the school has 2 cheerleading squads cheering all sports teams.

The football team has a big history, the team won 6 National Championships before moving to the Football Bowl Subdivision. That is the highest level of college football in the USA. The football stadion of Georgia Southern has seats for 25.000 spectators. In 2014, the school invested 10 million dollars for a bigger stadium. Check out the video below to experience the football game atmosphere.

It is almost inevitable, but the mascot of the ‘Eagles’ is … ofcourse an eagle. In fact, the mascot is not just a mascot. He visited the Georgia Capitol, posing with business and political leaders and has even been an ESPN ‘favorite mascot’ nominee. In the picture below, you’ll see the #1 fan of the Eagles named GUS. Let’s go GUS!

GUS – mascot of the Eagles

One of the most popular traditions at Georgia Southern is “Freedom’s flight”. Before each football game, an American eagle takes flight in the football stadium. The eagle starts high above the field and lands at the midfield. Below, a Georgia Southern student tells more about this tradition:

“It’s pretty much the 30 most exciting seconds of your entire life. It’s really the coolest thing and I just love that we have something like that here, because it’s really unique to our school.”


Besides sports, studying is also an important part of the university. The student-athletes of Georgia Southern University are very good at both. In the academic year of 2019-202, the 400 student-athletes achieved a GPA (average grade) of 3.08! Converted to Dutch grades, this is an average of approximately 7,1. That’s great right?!

About 26.000 students go to Georgia Southern University annually. There is a wide range of bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degree programs: in total there’s more than 141 choices. The most popular are: kinesiology, Biology, Psychology, Mechanical Engineering and Management.

Tap here to watch the video made by Georgia Southern students. In this, the students tell more about the university and you learn more about, among other things, the atmosphere at the university. Check it out!

Do you want to become a student-athlete just like Jaap? Or do you want more information about college sports at an American university? Then click on the button below, we are happy to help you with this!