My story is probably a little different from most of the others but it is proof that it always is worth trying.
I first heard about studying in the US when I met Sandra at a tournament three years before my high school graduation. Already back then I knew I wanted to go study and play volleyball overseas one day. However, time passed and I found myself in a relationship and as you probably can imagine my boyfriend back then wasn’t too happy about my adventurous plan. Being young, naïve and in love, I gave in and started college in Austria. After my first year in college, the relationship ended, and first thing I contacted Sandra again. I knew I was already “old” and enrolled in college but I figured why not give it a shot and guess what, it was the best choice I’ve ever made! I really appreciate all the help and support VolleyUSA offered me throughout my recruiting and college application process. Not only did Sandra advise me what colleges are a good fit for me athletically such as academically and in terms of location but also always had my back when I got lost in all the paperwork. Arrived at my college of choice, Long Island University Brooklyn in NYC, I immediately noticed this was the place I would call my second home from now on. It’s unbelievable how fast friendships are built and strangers become family. Before moving overseas I always had doubts about sharing a room with some else but now I can tell you it was probably the best thing I’ve experienced. It allowed me to spend 24h hours a day with my teammate, roommate, and soon-to-be best friend. People would soon call us “twin towers” because we were so inseparable. Besides the friendships I built within the team, I also got to know people from other sports teams coming to NYC from all over the world. Today I can claim to have friends from Australia to Germany, the Netherlands to Puerto Rico, and South Africa to California.
Not only the relationships with other athletes made my experience worth it, but also my coach contributed a lot. If there is one person in the world I look up to it’s him. I’ve never learned so much on and off the court within such a short period of time than I did from him. I like to say that now, after being coached by him I do not only play volleyball. I understand it. Thanks to him, I became an overall better player, a mentally stronger person, a more supportive teammate, a more compassionate leader, a more aspiring student, a more loving daughter/sister/friend… I could probably go on like this forever. There are no words in this world to describe how thankful I am for everything he did for me.
Besides building relationships, I also got to see a lot of the US. For pre-season tournaments, we traveled to places such as Colorado, Las Vegas, Portland, Utah, Wyoming, Florida,… my personal highlight was playing against BYU, at that point #9 in the country, in front of a couple of thousand people. An experience that’ll always stay in my mind. For spring break, I and a couple of teammates once traveled to Puerto Rico and I also got to travel to Miami for a couple of days. On off days in NYC, my favorite thing was to stroll through the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn with my friends and discover new places, restaurants, and cafés. Who knew there could be so many hidden gems in one city? Occasionally I also went to watch NBA games of the Brooklyn Nets next door.
For me, there couldn’t have been a better choice than going to LIU. It might not have been the stereotypical college experience as you know it from the movies but in my opinion, it had a lot more to offer. It provided me with the opportunity to live in the middle of NYC, calling the Brooklyn Bridge Park my backyard and a never-ending amount of adventures. Before making big decisions I always ask myself what story I’d rather tell my grandchildren one day and my NYC experience, that I can promise you, will be one of my favorite stories to tell.