Lena Kindermann – Jacksonville, Alabama

Lena Kindermann
Jacksonville, AL

My name is Lena and I‘m from Germany. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life after high school, but I knew I wanted to keep playing Volleyball, so I decided to give it a shot and see where it’d take me!

I had a horrible experience getting to the USA because I missed a flight and I was awake for 30+ hours, but I learned a lot from it! Everything was really crazy at first because it was my first time ever in the US, but it didn’t take long to get used to it, and the girls helped me a lot with everything!

I was a rightside and currently I’m finishing my masters degree in English. The training was very different in terms of intensity! Practices were a lot more exhausting and intense. Often times, our coach would make us run sprints if we didn’t get a drill on the first try, and it took me some time to get used to that. Practices being a lot harder helped me a lot to build a better mindset and expect more from myself and the team! The atmosphere would sometimes be really crazy depending on who we played. We’ve had games where our entire coliseum was filled with students cheering for us. It was insane and it made the games so much more fun to play!

I have too many great memories from my time there to actually pick a favorite one. I’ve had a lot of fun throughout my time there!

Usually it’s pretty tough to keep up with volleyball and get good grades at the same time. I developed a kind of daily schedule for myself that I’d stick to, which helped me a lot to get everything done on time and still find some time for myself to relax.

I didn’t really travel that much because I always wanted to go home and see my family during breaks, but I’ve always had the plan to go back later on and go on a big road-trip to visit all of my friends and all of the great places!

My biggest challenge in freshmen year was staying away from home for so long, but once I started trusting the girls and becoming friends with them, it almost felt like another family away from home. We had so many moments where we ended up almost dying of laughter. Every team has one or two people who just have crazy energy and make everyone laugh all the time!

I know for sure that I’ve grown a lot as a person after my time there! I‘m not as insecure about myself anymore and it was great to get the chance to experience all of this and collect those wonderful memories. I know that I’ll always have friends over there to stay in contact with and visit whenever I get the chance to do so and that’s great!

Embrace the differences and the new things! Don’t try to be too focused on being homesick or how different your home country is from the US. Come to terms with your new environment and the people in it! Soak it all in because your time will be over before you know it. Give it your all and you’ll have the best time of your life!