Five Sets with Natania Levak

  • By Alyssa Cantisani
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  • April 04, 2017 05:01 PM
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On leaving friends and family to come to the U.S. for college …
Of course it was hard because I left people that I’ve been hanging out with and growing up with my whole life, but I was kind of prepared for it. I was planning to go to America since I was 14 years old, - since I started playing volleyball, so it wasn’t that difficult. When I first got here, it was difficult to follow everyone when they were speaking English in practice (coaches and the professors). I had a headache every single day for the first month that I was here because I had to focus so much on English. I completely switched languages overnight. I think I had a pretty thick accent when I got here, but now I don’t think so. My English got a lot better. I’ve been learning English since I was five years old and with American movies, songs, music … I picked a lot of stuff up.
On making the adjustments …
It didn’t take me that long, honestly. I would always look at American life on social media and in movies, so I already knew what I could expect. It didn’t take that much time to adjust. The only thing that I think I really had to adjust to was the food because it’s very different and it’s very nasty -  I still think it’s nasty. I got used to a couple things but still some stuff is just … I don’t understand how you guys eat it. I don’t get to Skype my friends and family that often because my schedule is crazy and whenever I have time to Skype them, they are already asleep because there is a 6-hour time difference between us. My mom and dad are basically my best friends, so of course it’s hard but they are doing all they can to get me home twice a year so that’s nice.
On making a home at WVU …
I knew that I was coming into a family, that I was going to have people that I could call my family away from home because the coaches were so welcoming and so warm. We talked through Skype. So I talked to a bunch of colleges and no one talked to me like those coaches so I already felt accepted before I even came here and the girls are just great. We’ve all bonded; we’re all like sisters, we’re all just a big family.
On the possibility of going to Croatia on a foreign tour …
All my family members and all my friends have heard me talk about my life here, and the volleyball and some of them even had the opportunity to watch a game online, but there is nothing like watching me play live in person. They are really excited to see me play. They’re really excited to see how much I’ve improved as a person and on the court. It’s definitely special to play in front of my parents because I always see my teammates’ parents come in and watch them play, and mine wake up at 4 a.m. just to watch me online.  They pay whatever they need to pay when we’re playing away.  It’s going to be great. I’m very excited. I’ve told a bunch of stories to the girls, showed them a bunch of videos and I taught them a lot about Croatia so they know a lot about it so they just have to live through it for a couple of days I guess!
On showing her teammates around Croatia ... 
Food! I don’t think they’re going to like the food just because it’s healthy. We eat a lot healthier, and you guys just eat food that is full of flavors and tastes. There is a bunch of different flavors on the plate and we’re just plain like we just have olive oil and a little seasoning. But yes, mostly food, and then the coastline because Croatia has a beautiful coastline. We have 1,000 islands. I don’t know if we’ll be able to visit one – I’m not sure. (I’m looking forward to taking them to) the beach, just the friendliness of the people, my hometown, my family members ... My parents have met Reed because he came to watch me play, actually, in Croatia, but they are in contact with Becky, our assistant coach. They’re very excited to see her and the rest of the staff. I always tell them stories about my teammates, and they already know that I love them so much so they want to see why I love them so much. I’m sure they’re not going to be disappointed. 


WVU, West Virginia, Mountaineers, Volleyball, NCAA

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