Intern Insights: International Spotlight

July 19, 2021

International Spotlight

Intern Insights allows current departmental interns to share their perspective on topics relevant to their experience as an undergraduate student. Italicized terms will appear in glossary at the end of the post


Part 3 Nini Dica


When I met Nini Dica I thought to myself, this kid has to have one of the sickest accents I’ve ever heard. If you don’t catch his accent, you can’t miss him burning through campus on his notorious electric scooter between the dorms and athletic facilities. Nini was born and raised in Timisoara, Romania. His hometown is one of the biggest in Romania due to the economic benefits found there which means there is a greater influx of people and cultures coming to Timisoara from eastern Europe.


Timisoara, Romania.


Nini began playing football at the age of  two because his father, Nelu, had a coaching and management role for the professional team, Poli Timisoara. Nini’s journey with tennis began one night when he was seven while his father, Nelu, was hanging out with some friends, including a tennis coach. Nini started messing around with the racket and ball that was available and football was replaced with tennis.  At 12, Nini became more serious about his tennis career after he won the Nike Junior Master competition and had the opportunity to travel to the United States and compete in a larger competition. After visiting the United States he “knew the tennis was great here.” Nini moved to Belgrade, Serbia, and spent the last five years training where tennis greats like Tiravic trained.


Timisoara, Romania


It was Nini’s Mother who pushed him to pursue an education in the United States whilst continuing his tennis career. As we all know, mother knows best!  With her encouragement, Nini began his US college journey and was caught between two college choices, Pepperdine and Clemson.  Ultimately, Nini said his decision was made easy because he “…came to Clemson because of the coaches and the tennis team.” He knew this would be a great move to continue to develop his game and pursue his goals. Additionally, upon reflecting on his visit to Clemson with his father, he said, “I liked the people and the community. I came when Clemson played Wake Forest, it was the first American football game I saw and the atmosphere was nice!”


Nini competing in Europe


Nini arrived in Clemson in May 2021 on a quiet Friday night. He explained to me how the first weeks here were tough for him because he missed his friends and the spontaneous nature and busy pace of the lifestyle associated with living in European cities. Nini said “[being at Clemson] continues to get better as my teammates return and more people arrive back on campus … I love the nature here, the tennis is nice, the people are nice.” Nini is a man of few words but deeply introspective and grateful to be here.

Nini is currently recovering from knee surgery on his ACL which he had operated on in January of 2021. He is working with one of our athletic trainers, Donna,  to do rehab and exercises in our basketball facility, Littlejohn Coliseum. It’s great seeing Nini put in the work every day to heal and get ready to compete for the Tigers this year, to which he is “very excited for the season to start.”


Wishing you the best for your freshman season mate and settling into Clemmy!!





Local Terms/Phrases/Slang to Get Familiar With


Sickest: Often used in Australia as a synonym for awesome or cool.

Clemmy: In Australia we give literally anything and everything nicknames or contract words, I don’t know if anyone else refers to Clemson as this lol but I do.


Nini Speaks Romanian


Football: It is common for people to refer to soccer as football.


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