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An adventure shared in two different places in the United States: Liza Garrido, student-athlete at the University of Illinois – Chicago, and Valentina Culaciati, student-athlete at Old Dominion University.

The two Argentinian girls are having a wonderful experience in the United States. Two different stories, but still interesting. That’s why we decided to do a double interview: the same questions to understand the sensations and emotions experienced so far, with a fairly fun final part.

What is the balance of your experience in the United States so far?

LIZA: I’ve been in the U.S. for three months. Everything was a rollercoaster of emotions. Volleyball couldn’t be better, I see the progress every day, I’m gaining confidence on and off the court. Academically, I couldn’t be happier with the path I’ve chosen. Economics allows me to deepen different areas and in all this even mathematics, a subject that I have never particularly loved, I begin to like.

VALENTINA: The balance is super positive. Without a doubt, this experience is exceeding my expectations and there is still a long way to go. I’m very lucky to be part of such a great group of people.

What has been the best moment so far?

LIZA: Without a doubt, the best moment so far has been to reach the final of the Horizon League, winning in the semifinals against Northern Kentucky. Even though we lost the first two sets, we won the match in 5 sets. A great feeling.

VALENTINA: Definitely the first game and then I would say the first victory. After a long wait, after this long period of uncertainty, taking the field was really exciting.

What, on the other hand, was the most difficult moment?

LIZA: I don’t think I’ve gone through any major difficulties so far. I feel at home from day one and all my teammates and coaches helped me with everything I needed to settle in logistically, academically and sportingly.

VALENTINA: In general, the whole pandemic has had its ups and downs. Lots of changes and uncertainties. Training for a year and a half without playing a single game was difficult for the team, but it was definitely worth it and the wait.

What do you think this experience will bring you?

LIZA: This experience gives you everything in every area: academic, sporting, personal. You meet people from different cultures and this opens your mind in an exceptional way. In sporting terms, I’ve learned that the team concept is the only thing that matters. Having a strong bond and unity with the group takes you to the final stages of any championship, pushes you to always give your best. I actually apply this concept in my life in general as well. Personally, I believe that this experience will bring new people, new experiences, new opportunities into my life.

VALENTINA: An infinity of things. The opportunity to combine study and volleyball, learning another language and getting to know another culture is something incredible. I know that in the future everything I’m learning and doing now will help me to be more responsible, more mature. On a sporting level, I know that I will improve my way of playing and above all my mentality.

What is your best asset?

LIZA: I think my strength is my ability to make friends and relate to new people. Since I arrived here I have met boys and girls from all over the world such as Pakistan, India, Vietnam, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Korea and of course the United States. Meeting people from different backgrounds and cultures makes me extremely happy, enriching me.

VALENTINA: I have a positive outlook, I always try to be optimistic in life as well as on the pitch. All this, when we play, I try to convey to my teammates in terms of confidence and confidence in themselves and in the teams.

What, on the other hand, is your worst flaw?

LIZA: I think my biggest limitation today is communication, when I speak I stutter a bit and my English still needs to be improved. I want to progress in this, devote myself to the study of English in order to gain more confidence.

VALENTINA: I’m very picky when it comes to volleyball and this sometimes doesn’t allow me to enjoy my results. Often I also lack patience, this is something I need to improve because especially in sport, calm and self-control make the difference.

As a center coming from another country and therefore from another type of volleyball, what are the biggest differences you have noticed and what changes have you had to make in the USA?

LIZA: There are many differences between Argentine volleyball and American volleyball. I had to make a big change, adapt quickly to the style of play: from rotations (some coaches count rotations backwards), to the rules of the game and technique. It’s another world and I’m doing my best to settle in as quickly as possible.

VALENTINA: Two aspects without a doubt: the speed and the stature of the forwards, who here are all over six feet. I would point to these two if I had to point out the most obvious differences.

What do you miss most about Argentina?

LIZA: The dulce de leche! There’s nothing I miss more than dulce de leche, I didn’t even know I was addicted to it.

VALENTINA: My dog, my friends and my family. And also the food, here is very different than in Argentina.

Tell us something that no one knows about Valentina?

Valentina, first of all, knows how to imitate the accent of my province like no one else can do. When we trained with the national team, we spent all our time together and so the way I spoke ended up influencing his as well. In addition to this, I would say that she also has an exquisite taste for music (she both likes Lana Del Rey very much). Finally, Valentina has the biggest heart there is. I am very happy to have met her and even happier to be her friend.

Tell us something no one knows about Liza?

In 2017 Liza wrote a poem about a typical Argentine food. I’m sure she misses choripan more now than her own family! Jokes aside, she’s like that, she’s cheerful and funny and that’s why I love her so much, I’m so happy to be her friend.