Laura de Chavarria
1. Whats your name, where are you from?
2. How did you get the idea to go to the US and how did everything get started?
I have always loved to live away from home (not that I don’t love my family), but I realized how much can be learned from living and studying outside, and what a better place to study and play a sport than in the US; living here is exactly as they show in the movies.
3. What was your first impression landing in the US/meeting your team?
My first impression landing in the US was so nice, it was just a lot of fun to get to know new people. Living in the dorms, being in a volleyball team, having this awesome facilities, meeting these crazy people… it all felt like a movie.
4. What position did you play and what was your major/degree?
I played Outside Hitter, and my major was Interior Design.
5. How was the training different compared to your home country?
What makes US practices different is the energy, whoever has more energy and whoever scraps the most is whoever will win the game, so every single practice we bring the energy and if we don’t, Coach Booker (my coach at Daytona) has taught my how to bring it even though I don’t feel energetic at all; you can have a bad day but you can’t have a practice without energy and scrappiness.
6. How would you describe the game day atmosphere?
Indescribable. It’s amazing how much a good crowd, music and motivation can change your game play. You would walk into the locker room as you normally do, focused on what you have to do, but you would walk out of that locker fired up, next to your teammates, and it’s in that moment when the game begins. From there, that energy you built in the locker goes with you throughout the warm up and the game, it doesn’t matter whether you are playing or at the bench, you are fired up and cheering for your teammates.
7. What was your best moment in volleyball?
My best moment in volleyball was here when we beat the number one in the country. It was an amazing game and the energy was all over the gym, I could feel the fire in my body, wanting to go to every single ball, going strong in every hit, celebrating every single point as if they were the last ones.
8. How did you manage to balance sports and studying?
Here it’s pretty easy to do that, coaches help you setting up study tables in teams and doing regular grade checks, you just have to schedule a time to dedicate to the studies, managing your time the best you can. What helped me a lot were the study tables, the fact that all my teammates would go there, as well, made me feel doing homework and studying a little bit funnier and enjoyable.
9. Did you travel a bit in the US? If so, where and how did you like it?
Besides the trips that we made with the team to Miami, Orlando, Tampa, South Carolina… I visited my brother in New York a few times, I fell in love with the city, I felt like a little ant walking through it.
10. What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
I honestly didn’t have any big challenge while being here, the only thing was having family stuff going on and that made me lower a little bit my level at practice and games and I lost some of my self-confidence, but I overcame it by practicing harder and using the gym as a place to not think about my life and enjoy the practice.
11. What was your funniest moment?
My funniest moment here was one time that we went to yoga (we would go once or twice a week during season) and when we were doing a yoga pose one of my teammates farted, we all laughed and talked about it for weeks.
12. How has your experience in the USA influenced your personality and your life?
My experience in the US helped me grow as a person, I have learned a new language and a lot of new things that I wouldn’t have learned if I hadn’t com here. Traveling makes me happy and I will always love to meet new people and get to know new places. The US is the perfect country for student-athletes, it’s an experience that I will never forget.
13. What advice do you have for other players?
My advice for other players is to work as hard as you can. It will make you mentally strong and you will see improvements in yourself every week. Focus on one thing that you want to improve and practice it until you learn it. Take the coach’s advices seriously and know that they will be there for you if you ever have any questions or want to work with them individually.