Former USCA international student returns to Paris to work at 2024 Olympic Games

For Abelardo Rodriguez, the University of South Carolina Aiken study abroad program is the gift that keeps on giving. The 2023 graduate spent his final semester studying in Paris through the IESEG Exchange Program, an experience that helped him land a job in Paris for the 2024 Olympic Games.


A native of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Rodriguez attended USCA as an international student from 2019 to 2023. He played for the Pacer men’s soccer team and earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise science with a concentration in business management. He plans to channel both his love of soccer and background in business into a sports management career. 


Rodriguez is currently pursuing a master’s degree in sports management at the University of San Francisco, a program he will complete in May 2025. While he enjoys the coursework, faculty, and friends in his new city, he dreams of returning to Par


After his study abroad experience last year, Rodriguez said, “The spring 2023 semester was one of the greatest experiences of my life … Every day I spent in Paris was simply extraordinary.” His dream of returning has now come full circle, thanks to a job opportunity with Visa, the official hospitality provider of the 2024 Olympic Games.


Rodriguez received notice of the opportunity from his sports management program in January and immediately applied. After an extensive interview process, he was offered a position in March as a Guest Experience Supervisor. He plans to be in Paris from July 12 to August 15, with a Visa providing for travel expenses.


It is an opportunity so important to Rodriguez that he forfeited his last year of soccer eligibility, for which he had planned to try out for the University of San Francisco team.


“I was going to try out, but my knee isn’t in good shape,” he says. “Then when I got the news for Paris, I thought it was too risky because of potential injury.”


Rodriguez credits his study abroad program and his experience as an international student at USCA with helping him land his new Paris opportunity. They are experiences he looks back on with gratitude as he continues to chase his dreams.


“Because I lived in Paris as a study abroad student, I know the city, am familiar with the culture, and speak some of the language. All of these things helped set me apart in the interviews,” he says. “I look back and see all of the great things that USCA gave me, and those experiences provided me with the tools to be selected for this job.” 

For more information, contact Leigh Thomas -