Valentina Bevilacqua – Honolulu, Hawaii

Valentina Bevilacqua
Honolulu, Hawaii

Aloha everybody,

to make a long story short, one day, out of the blue, my ex-coach from the team I played in Switzerland and who was leaving the club I was playing for, asked me: “why don’t you go to the States?”

I laughed, it seemed like a crazy idea, but the next day I contacted Sandra. It was January, and very late to do the whole process, but Sandra really took care of everything, and with lots of effort she was able to find many scholarships offers. It definitely was not the easiest thing to do, my NCAA registration was problematic, and I could take the ACT test only very late, so coaches were not able to make an offer till the results from the test were known. Everything was rushed up, but Sandra made it work!

Anyway, among the offers there was one for this small private school in Hawaii… yep, I didn’t think about it twice!

So here I am, attending a University in Honolulu, and living in paradise!

It might sound crazy, but the transition from Switzerland to heaven was not the easiest. The American culture is very different, and I had a cultural shock for the first couple of months, but the beautiful beaches, and the 26°C in November helped a lot, and I finally could get used to the culture, and find myself at home.

Volleyball was definitely different from what I was used to play back home. It is way more physical, with practice every night, conditioning every morning, and a season that goes from the end of August to mid November, during which weeks with three or four games are not unusual, and I promise you; it is all another story compared to the one game per week rhythm of Europe. Anyhow, by sophomore year I got used to it, and actually found out that I like working out, running and doing weights, more than I thought, so this new type of volleyball preparation actually turned into a new hobby for me!

In the end, volleyball is volleyball everywhere, except for few little weird collegiate rules (you’ll soon find out), and I loved every moment of it, from my first day of “double-days” to the many road trips to senior night!

School wise, after the first semester, I picked up the language and everything was very easy. In general, the U.S. school system is different from the European one, but it is great because you can mold your school program around your interests, and pick and choose what fascinates you the most. I think living on campus also was a very enriching experience, and made my college years way more fun.

For what concerns the life outside volleyball and school, I loved it here! Hawaii is such a special place, with summer all year around, beautiful beaches and wonderful landscapes. The opportunities to find fun activities outdoor are endless, and you feel like being on an endless vacation. The feeling when you step out of your dorm, and you can feel the warmth of the sun on your back is indefinable, and makes even the worst of your days a good one! Also, the people are so welcoming and laid back, and you can feel the aloha spirit everywhere you go.

I am so happy I had the chance to live this amazing experience in this wonderful place!