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Another interview arrives. A wonderful chat and above all a wonderful testimony on what it means to live life as a student-athlete.

The word to Alessandro Gianotti, 201 cm centre-back, gold medalist at the U19 World Championships in 2019 and silver medalist at the U20 European Championship the following year, who since the summer of 2021, has chosen to continue his sporting and academic career overseas.

Alessandro is studying Entrepreneurial Management at BYU (Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah), his team is currently No. 6 in the NCAA national rankings and in the coming weeks will enter the final stages of the championship.

We often talk about how this experience can change the lives of the guys who leave: so far what is your balance on and off the pitch?

From my point of view, I can confirm all the positive things that are said about this experience. For me, coming here was like starting a new life. I had the opportunity to meet a lot of new people, see a lot of places that until before I only “peeked” at on my phone. Having the opportunity to study at a university here in America, in addition to providing you with an incredible wealth of experience, opens many doors for you in the near future. As far as the field is concerned, I had the opportunity to interface with different methods than those used in our country. Those who know me know, I’m quite competitive when it comes to volleyball, and coming here has stimulated me even more to give 100%.

The impact with a different reality than ours is what all student-athletes emphasize to us, as you have confirmed to us. Daily life and study, what are the main differences compared to Italy and in what personally did you find it more difficult?

That’s right, there are a lot of differences between American and Italian realities. The way universities and sports are conceived in the States is totally different from how it happens in Italy. As a student-athlete, there are a lot of commitments, it is not surprising if, for example, during the season you are away for 4 days in a row and you cannot wait for various lessons and courses. What differentiates the U.S. is that attention is paid to these details and professors are generally very willing to help when they can. The thing that probably made me most difficult is the way the Americans think. When you enter a new country, or even continent as in this case, it is obvious that there are differences, and this is one of them, that is, the way of approaching, understanding interpersonal relationships, and communicating in general.

Differences that we imagine there are also on the pitch. How did the team welcome you and what particularly impressed you about American volleyball?

Luckily for me, I have a team that to call fantastic is an understatement. The guys are wonderful people and welcomed me with open arms from day one. There are other foreigners in the team, so all of them are more or less used to it and know what it means to have a person in the team who comes from another country and who obviously does not know the language very well and even less the people. What struck me about American volleyball is the availability in terms of gyms, physiotherapy and equipment that I don’t think even in the Super League can offer to the players. The university here puts its athletes in a position to perform to the best of their ability.

Life as a student-athlete is very challenging. What do you think can be the main skills to best support this experience between sport and study?

I confirm it’s tough. Life between workouts, weights at 6:30 in the morning and exams, can become really stressful, which is why I believe that the most important skill is planning and managing the time, the energy to devote to each individual activity.

To conclude, you left to have an experience, to confront yourself with a “different” volleyball, to learn and grow. I respect your future and the world of work, what do you think all this can give you more to achieve your ambitions?

I have no doubt when I say that this was the best choice of my life. This experience, in addition to giving me a degree and therefore the possibility of finding a job at the end of my volleyball career, has given me important life lessons, has taught me to get involved, open up to new opportunities and people, above all it has taught me to never give up. I think this will give me stimuli and strength that will make me go even further in life. Obviously, all this would not have been possible without the support of my loved ones, such as my family in the first place, but also of all the staff of Sportlinx360 who, from the very first moment, proved to be able to meet my desires and requests, with the highest professionalism I could imagine.