Volleyball Alumna Olivia Humphries Currently Playing Overseas
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Former UNCG volleyball standout Olivia Humphries has taken her talents overseas to Hungary where she will play professionally for the second-straight season. Humphries took some time to give Spartan fans some insight into her international adventures.
What initially made you interested in playing overseas?
The main reason I wanted to play overseas is because when I was going into my final season at UNCG, I knew I wasn’t ready for it to be over. I was not ready to stop playing and being a part of a team. I didn’t feel like I had reached my peak yet.
How did you come to choose Hungary as your destination?
They actually chose me. I went on an exposure tour and on that tour I played with other American girls in Italy and in Slovenia. When we were in Maribor, Slovenia playing, the coaches from the team I am playing for now came to watch. They asked me that night if I would like to be on their team and we left for Budapest at 8am the next morning!
What are the major differences between NCAA and International volleyball?
There are a few rule differences but not many. I would say as far as my experience goes, it is less stressful. When I am playing in Hungary all I have to worry about is volleyball. I don’t have classes, meetings, exams, or projects to think about like I did in college. The coach speaks in Hungarian during practice and occasionally translates for me so for the most part I just go to practice, have fun and play volleyball. It is so nice to be able to focus all my energy on being successful on the court.
What concerned you the most before heading overseas to a foreign country?
When I went on the exposure tour to get picked up on a team I was initially nervous about just getting a job. Going on that tour my goal was to stay in Europe, I didn’t care where I would end up. I did not want to come home because that meant that I didn’t get a job, so that was the thing that concerned me the most at the start of this journey. I really didn’t get a chance to be nervous about Hungary because it all happened so fast. I had a moment of nervousness when I was in the car with the coaches the morning they drove me to Budapest with them. I remember when we crossed the border into Hungary I started seeing signs written in Hungarian and I was like…. Oh boy, what have I gotten myself into! But like I said I didn’t have too much time to think about how potentially stressful and scary the situation could be because I got thrown into the thick of the volleyball and the culture so quickly. The language barrier is probably one of the hardest things because it is so different from any language I have heard or studied but I am trying my best to be open to it and learn.
What made you decide to return for another season?
The reason I decided to return to UTE (the name of the team I play for) was because I had such a great experience. I thought about the possibility of going somewhere new but I have heard some stories about people that have bad experiences so I decided to stay where I was. The club I play for is really well organized, I got paid on time, got put in a nice apartment, and felt taken care of. The people were so nice and I started to make some friends. On top of all that, Budapest is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. I am extremely excited to go back for another season!