TAMPA, Fla. – It’s common to look at a college roster and see a few international players. However, from the perspective of those international players, coming over here is anything but common.
University of Tampa freshman volleyballer Nathaly Perez is in the early stages of that process.
“I think that the hardest part… is being homesick,” Perez told FOX 13 Sports.
Perez, 18, left her family and home country of Honduras just two weeks ago. If that sounds difficult, it is.
“To be honest, I cried yesterday,” Perez said with a smile. “I feel overwhelmed. As you can notice my English is not that good so I get stressed and I cannot explain myself.”
It’s understandable that Nathaly (whose English is perfectly fine) would feel overwhelmed. However, she does have one sanctuary: the volleyball court.
“Just concentrate on volleyball, and enjoy playing,” Perez said. “When you sweat your stress just goes away.”
It’s not just volleyball providing comfort. Perez admits she was worried about making friends, but her teammates squashed that concern almost immediately.
“My teammates and my coach are really supportive of me,” Perez said. “They always are trying to get me in the group and welcome me.”
If we’re being honest, some of her teammates are in a slightly similar boat.
“They also feel homesick,” Perez said. “They also miss their families, and they tell me that I’m going to be okay. I’m going to be okay.”