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“The experience I had in the United States was unique and although it ended a year and a half ago, I often remember the most beautiful and intense moments I experienced in college. My graduation was very interesting and engaging and I had the opportunity to learn and work with professors among the best in their field: from Economics to Marketing, Finance, Management for companies etc. I realize that I have acquired very specific skills, on a human and relational level, as well as professionally. All elements that I believe can give me an advantage over those who have not done the same course of study as me. At the same time, I played for the university’s volleyball team. On the pitch I found a family, despite the fact that the group changed every year, I met fantastic people and formed friendships that I hope will last forever. Hofstra is a very good university and the volleyball program they offer is serious and very competitive. I am satisfied both academically and sportingly.”

The premise and the balance are those of Michela Rucli, a former student-athlete at Hofstra University, New York, who analyzes an essential aspect, pointing out a big difference between the USA and Italy: “In Italy we are convinced that to be an excellent student, you cannot be an athlete, and vice versa. In the States, on the other hand, student athletes are often the best in class. The work and constant commitment are highly regarded and esteemed by both professors and coaches. Succeeding in both fields means being the best. Every year, in fact, all the student athletes with the best GPA (school average) are rewarded and admired. It’s something that motivates you to do your best and supports you through difficult times. Being considered and above all respected as an athlete allows you to engage on both fronts.”

Essential differences from an academic point of view and important differences on the court: “The world of American volleyball is significantly different from the Italian one. The levels in America are numerous and we can say that in Division I they range from a B1/B2 series to an A1 series in Italy. In addition, the game tends to be faster: the lifts are more pushed, the receptions are more tense and the attacks are faster. All this because you want to be ahead of the game. Substantial differences are also the fact that the libero can serve (and usually does), and that the ball can be replayed even if it touches the ceiling. In the States, great attention is paid to physical preparation and all the work in the gym that follows, much of the weight training is carried out with a view to preventing injuries.”

An experience away from home, from family, from one’s country is inevitably something that changes you: “The United States, in many ways, has changed me for the better as a person and an athlete. On the pitch I improved in reading game situations. For me, who is central, in fact, knowing how to read the game and in particular the opponent’s setter is indispensable, especially for the success of the wall. Being used to the American fast game, back in Italy I had no difficulties in this field and indeed I feel much improved.”

A path that has now led her to play in Serie A2: “My career to date has been a continuous growth. Today, playing in Martignacco is a great achievement and honor. I am happy and grateful for what I have achieved, especially in this difficult period in which so many athletes, athletes and fans do not have the opportunity to train and play. My daily goal is to improve every day and try to grow and learn from all the professionals around me. I’m ambitious, I want to put myself to the test every time, step by step, trying to get as high as possible. Playing in the top category in Italy would really be the top, but I would also love to gain experience abroad. It’s something that enriches you.”