I am sitting in my room in Hamburg, Germany right now. I am on Summer Break back home and I can look back at the last nine month as a foreign student athlete in the United States. Since 9th grade I wanted to combine my sport and a high qualitative education. I always struggled to fit school and volleyball practice in my personal daily schedule and I knew that one day I want to get a college education. An athletic scholarship in the States seemed to be the perfect solution to combine the two most important things in my life. I tried to contact sport scholarship organizations to get to know what I have to do but soon I figured out that there is a lot of money involved and I felt like a mass product that is tried to be sold to a university. I knew that that was not the way I wanted people to decide about my future, my life. I had concrete plans where I wanted to go, what kind of teams I wanted to play for and how I wanted my education to be like.
I was desperate because I didn’t know how to realize my dreams and I felt that nobody was able to help me. By accident I met Sandra Brunke and she told me that she experienced the same thing before she ended up in the United States. She promised me that she does not want anyone else to have the stress and the ambiguity that she had to go through and that she can help me to end up where I will feel great.
Today I look back on two out of eight semesters I went through already, one great season with my American college team and dozens of new friends I found in Indiana. In nine months I have seen California, New York, Chicago and D.C, and many other places I always wanted to go.
I experienced my first Thanksgiving, Christmas the American way and Spring Break. I experienced the unexpected hospitality of the Americans as well as a completely different way of team spirit and way of living.
But it was a long way to come to the point where I am now. Sometimes when I sit on the team bus and we drive through the states to an away game, I think about the desperate emails I sent Sandra because I didn’t know how to apply for a visa, how to take the TOEFL test or the SAT. I know that I would not have made it without her help and without the patience and effort she put in my application.
I study in Indiana. Even though I wanted to end up on Hawaii like Sandra or somewhere else where the sun is always shining, I did not regret my decision to go to Indiana at all. More important than the location are the people, the school system and the living expenses.
I will go back to continue my studies in fall ’08 and cannot wait for the next season to begin.