I am currently taking the Chemical Laboratory Technology program at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT). The institute is located in the city of Calgary, which has a population about 4 times smaller than Melbourne at about 1.2 million. Coming from Monbulk, a small town in the mountains with a population of about 3500, it has taken a while to adapt to life in the city but also something that has been an enjoyable experience.
I had traveled over to Europe before in a school exchange program, but this had been the first time traveling alone. Conveniently SAIT had recruited another Aussie on the volleyball team, Alex, who I had met before and even played with back home at the junior national camps at Bendigo. We are sharing a two-bedroom, one-bathroom suite on campus. It has been great to have a familiar face around and I believe it really helped make adjusting to a new life in Canada just that little bit easier.
As for the volleyball side of things we are currently ranked 2nd in the ACAC south division, with a record of 10-4 in a 24-match regular season. In the thick of the season we train Monday to Thursday 2 hours a night and play our games on a Friday and Saturday night against the same opposition, usually at our home court one night and away on the other. As well as training we lift weights at least 3 times a week and usually have an hour session a week looking at video to scout other teams, and little things we can improve ourselves.
Participating in the GMVA Centre of Excellence program with Luke this year really helped prepare me for the workload that comes with this amount of training and conditioning. So I appreciate how big an impact the Centre of Excellence has had on my volleyball as well as how it prepared me for the kind of workload required to compete at this level of volleyball.
While here I have been practicing and have had the chance to play as both an opposite as well as a middle. Having trained and played most of my volleyball as an opposite back home it has been challenging playing middle, as I had only played a little bit of middle back home, but I have enjoyed the challenge and feel it has only made me a more all-rounded player.
SAIT won the ACAC championship last season so I knew I would be coming into a team with good, experienced players and that game-time would be limited for me. So far this season I have been given two chances to start and I can say that the experience I have gained from those two games will be something I remember and hold close to my heart forever. I played opposite the first game I had the chance to play and the experience is nothing like I had ever encountered back home. Playing in your home gym in front of a crowd getting behind you is something I believe every aspiring volleyball athlete should get to experience. I recorded 16 kills, 9 digs, 3 service aces and 1 block and was announced as player of the game. A few weeks later I started as a middle against the same team and recorded 5 kills and a service ace.
For those back home who are considering taking their volleyball down the college path, I can’t speak highly enough about it. The things I have experienced and the friends I have made so far have changed my life and deciding to go to college in Canada is something I will never regret doing.
I think that will do for now, so thank you all for taking the time to read this. I look forward to seeing everybody when I come back home at the end of next semester.