Laura Collins Reports On Her European Exposure Trip

April 19, 2004

Laura Collins, a senior setter on Oregon State's 2003 volleyball team, spent 10 days in Europe last month on an exposure tour. She had the opportunity to experience the European style of volleyball as well as enjoy the culture and do some sightseeing. Below, she recaps her experience and talks about a possible future playing career overseas.

I recently returned from a 10 day European exposure tour with Bring It USA. We traveled through France, Holland, and Germany.

It was surprising to see how different European volleyball is from the US. The girls on the all-pro team are huge! The game is all about hitting and blocking. The sets to the pins are much higher and the middles rarely get set in transition, if at all. The setter is not considered much of an offensive threat. It was quite rare to see a dump. However, they do rely a lot on back row hitters. Although we rarely ever won a game, it was great to get a chance to play against such talented girls. I now have a much better understanding of how Europeans play the game and will know what to expect if I decide to play over there.

Besides volleyball I was able to experience European culture, especially in France. I could definitely get used to having croissants and hot chocolate every morning! I also had my first experience using public transportation. Although the metro in Paris is not the cleanest, it gets you where you need to go quickly and efficiently. Since parking in Paris is slim the cars are about half the size of cars in the US. Despite what many think, not everyone speaks English. However, people were friendly and willing to help if they could.

There are so many amazing things to see in Europe. In Paris, I was lucky enough to see the Eiffel Tower and walk through the Notre Dame Cathedral. I also went to the Louvre (museum) where I got to see the famous Mona Lisa.

One of the things I enjoyed seeing the most was the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. I actually walked through the rooms where the Frank family was hiding. It was a sombering yet amazing experience.

In Amsterdam I also got to spend time with my fellow teammate, Abby Windell. My team ended up playing against her older sister's team. It's so nice to see a familiar face when you are far from home.

Although I only saw a glimpse of what Europe has to offer, it was enough to make me want to go back and explore more.

I was exhausted by the end of my trip (especially since I was the only setter!) but it was a very worthwhile trip. The girls on my team were so much fun and I was able to fulfill my dream of traveling to Europe.

The main thing I accomplished was deciding whether or not to try to pursue a professional career. I decided that once I finish school in the fall I will try to get placed somewhere in Europe. I would definitely suugest going on an exposure tour if you are at all interested in playing in Europe. Even if it's not for you, you'll have an amazing experience.

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