Anita Oppenauer – Miami, Florida

Anita Oppenauer
Miami, Florida

To study and to play volleyball in America was so far the best decision of my life. I got to know so many awesome people and I learned so much as a person off the court as well as on the volleyball court.

Everything started when I read through my e-mails and found a message from Sandra about the possibility to play in the US. The reason why I didn´t reply at first was because I was still very young and this dream seemed too far and too impossible for me. But with 17, about one year before my graduation, I decided to give it a try. I was lucky; I got to know many coaches from overseas and a lot of them offered me a scholarship. It was really hard for me to decide where to go because I have never been in the States before. I made my decision in the very end and finally ended up in Miami, Florida. Now I can say that this was the best place I could have chosen. Barry University, a private catholic University, had a nice familiar environment; Miami is beautiful, the beaches are awesome, and the weather couldn’t be better. It took me a while to get used to the whole new place, but my new teammates made it very easy for me.

I was a starter on the court and enjoyed playing with our “international“ team. But in the middle of our season I wasn’t really lucky. I twisted my ankle badly and had furthermore trouble with my shoulder. I made it back to the court in the end of the season but I wasn’t a starter anymore. The season was tough and Coaches were strict, but they cared about us.

In the spring semester we had off-season, which means more weights and conditioning plus beach volleyball; but also more free-time in the afternoon, since we practiced early in the morning before classes. I have never experienced such a great team spirit in all the teams I have played before. Our team was from all over the world: four other players from Europe (Estonia, Latvia, Bulgaria, and Serbia), two players from Puerto Rico, two from Mexico, one from Colorado, one from Arizona, and the others from Florida. I was unfortunately only able to stay for two semesters in Florida, but I am glad that Sandra gave me this great opportunity.

The best thing of the whole year was getting to know these awesome people in my team. We had so much fun together, be it in the gym or in our free-time. I also grew a lot as a person this past year and I can just recommend everybody to take this big step and to be ready for a great experience. I just loved my life there and you will too (: