When I first met with Sandra in 2013 I had no idea what I was going to do after graduating High School, but after talking to her and emailing back and forth, I was soon convinced that the opportunity she offered to me was exactly what I wanted to do.
I started working on my video, took the Toefl and SAT tests in the fall of 2013 and waited for offers to come in. It took me a while to figure out which schools could be a fit and which ones were not right for me, but Sandra, who knows a lot of the coaches, gave me great advice on their athletic and academic pros and cons.
Then finally, in April 2014, I chose to sign with Paris Junior College in Paris, Texas. The decision was an easy one, the coaches were really nice and answered all the questions I had about their program, the college and the team. Even though Paris is a very small town 160 km away from Dallas, TX, I felt like it was the right choice for me and I never regretted it since I got off the plane in August 2014. The small town atmosphere made it easy to make new friends which turned out to be the most important thing, especially during the first few weeks and months away from home.
At first, the list of things that had to be done in order to obtain a scholarship and to be eligible in the United States seemed infinite, but with Sandra’s help on every step of the way I managed to get ready for my freshman year in Texas.
Before leaving Germany, I was intimidated by the different culture and language, but getting used to everything was easier than it seemed at first. Of course, practice was different from what I’d been used to, but since I was one of eight freshmen that all came from different schools and had to adjust to the new environment we all helped each other out. Arriving on campus three weeks before school started was great, we had a chance to grow together as a team on and off the court and when classes started I had become pretty confident with the language and felt ready for the new challenge. All my teachers were nice and supportive, especially because it was such a small college where everyone knows each other.
Even though the season did not go quite as well as everyone hoped, we never had any problems as a team and became even closer during the second semester. Since we had most of the weekends off I had a chance to visit Dallas and spend some time with the families of my teammates. It was great to see how welcoming and kind everyone was and how interested they were to hear more about Germany and Europe in general. The second semester was less about volleyball and as much as I had enjoyed being on the court and competing, it was great to enjoy the other big part of being a foreign student athlete: getting to know a new culture.
During the second semester I made the decision to come back to PJC for another semester and play another season as a dragon which turned out to be a great one!
In retrospect, these past three semesters were probably the most exciting time of my life. I’ve met so many new people, made great new experiences and even greater memories. If you’re reading this and are considering to take to opportunity that Sandra is giving you, do it! The experiences you make living on campus with your team and being a collegiate athlete are amazing and with Sandra’s help there is nothing to worry about, she’s going to be by your side every step of the way.
Overall, going to Texas in 2014 was definitely the best decision of my life, I couldn’t have asked for a better team and coaches or better support from Sandra, there was not a situation that she wasn’t there for me and helped me as much as she could and I’m really thankful for that. I could always ask her for help whether I needed advice on picking a school or support with the scholarship papers.
Now that I’m back home in Münster, looking at pictures from the amazing three semesters at PJC and thinking about the memories I’ve made with friends I hope to see again as soon as possible, I am beyond grateful that I could make this experience. So again, if you think about playing in the United States, just go for it! There is nothing Sandra is not helping you with and the little amount of work it takes to fill out the forms and put together a video is totally worth the experiences and memories you’ll make that will last a lifetime!!