It has been a little over a month since my arrival in Plymouth, United Kingdom and I am absolutely loving it. After about 12 hours of traveling, I arrived in Bristol and was greeted by Sam Russell. I was exhausted and quite nervous to be honest, but Sam made me feel more comfortable for the massive change I was embarking on. A two hour drive to Plymouth followed and I was basically falling asleep with my eyes open…wasn’t a very good driving companion for Sam. When arriving at my flat, I was greeted by my flat-mate and teammate Natasha. I noticed the flat was quite small from what I am used to in America, but it is an adorable place. Next came lunch and the portions sizes are so small compared to the States (probably better off that way). After lunch, as much as I wanted to shower and pass out, I got a mini tour of the city from Natasha and another one of my teammates Andrea. Plymouth isn’t much different from any other small city in the States, minus the driving. For the longest time I had to wait for others to cross the street with me because I kept looking the wrong way! I’m surprised I haven’t been hit yet.
Since my first day, I’ve explored the city more and have easily settled in. A little bit about myself: I am from New Jersey, the countryside near Pennsylvania, and it’s not “dirty jersey”! I received my undergraduate degree in Biology from Central Connecticut State University where I played 4 years of D1 lacrosse. What attracted me to Plymouth, specifically University of Plymouth, was the renowned program in Marine Biology. Here, I am pursuing a Masters of Research in Marine Biology and let me tell you; it’s a lot of work already. I was immediately intimidated by how intelligent everyone in my course was and honestly pretty terrified. But now that I am settled in, I am more confident in my own intelligence and everyone in my course is so nice. We have weekly poker games and even girlie movie nights where we can just relax from the pressures of our course.
Since I am doing a Masters, I unfortunately can’t make many of the lacrosse matches here. We practice two times a week and have matches on Wednesdays. The first practice I attended was a mix of returners and freshers (freshmen). I was surprised by how many of the new girls have never even seen a lacrosse stick before. Coming from the States where lacrosse is a nationwide sport to England, where it’s barely even known about, was definitely a shock for me. So instead of practicing, I do a lot coaching at practices to teach the basic skills of the sport and it seems that the girls really enjoy it, which is nice to see. I did get to play in one match and to be honest it wasn’t much of a game. We ended up winning 36-0, which is unheard of in the States! Apparently that’s considered a normal score over here, but to be fair the game was our first team against the other school’s second team. The lacrosse program over here also has socials every Wednesday night, which are always interesting. We typically go out with the boys lacrosse program and basically bar hop to three different bars, which is a blast! Still getting used to staying out until 5am though! Bars in Connecticut, where I went for my undergrad, only stayed open until 2am. Another exciting aspect about the lacrosse program at Plymouth is that every year, over spring break, they go away for a week to play in a lacrosse tournament. This year we’re going to Salou, Spain! It’s a great way to play lacrosse AND get in some traveling because lets be honest, when’s the next time we’ll be able to do that?
England is a great experience so far and I encourage anyone interested to seriously look into this amazing opportunity. It’s a great way to travel, study, and play the sport we all love. I’m excited to see what else this experience has in store for me. Until next time!
All the best,