Luiz making her adjustments to Minnesota

sportriat

Ali Haupt

sportriat

When Brazil native and junior right-side hitter Pamela Luiz transferred to the University of Minnesota from Frank Phillips College in Texas, she brought with her what coach Mike Hebert called a sense of maturity and stability to the Minnesota volleyball team. But in coming to the Minnesota campus, one of the largest in the nation, Luiz doesnâÄôt seem to have felt a whole lot of that stability herself. âÄúWhen I got here I thought this was too huge; I couldnâÄôt handle it,âÄù she said. âÄúI thought I couldnâÄôt find my classes or anything. Now I know where to go and itâÄôs easier, but I still donâÄôt know how to go out of the campus area.âÄù Adjusting to the size of the campus was just one area Luiz has had to deal with. Along with the challenges of a large campus and her volleyball schedule, Luiz has also faced many cultural differences, both on and off the court. Hebert has had experience with international players throughout his career, and said that although each player is different, some of the same things become issues each year. âÄúThere are a lot of things that are hard for the international students,âÄù he said. âÄúThe style of volleyball may not be the same as what is taught here, and when they have to change, itâÄôs very difficult.âÄù âÄúThere are also cultural differences,âÄù Hebert said. âÄúEach culture has a way of expressing oneself that is accepted in that culture, but foreign in others, and there are examples of that which come up over and over again.âÄù Despite the diverse cultures, Hebert said Luiz fit in with the team surprisingly quickly. âÄúShe fit in immediately, and it surprised a lot of us,âÄù he said. âÄúShe was kind of quiet in the recruiting process, but when she arrived, her English was much better than anybody thought, and her behavioral patterns were more congruous with our other players than anybody thought.âÄù But as good as her second language of English may be, not everything immediately translates, leading to extra work, especially in the classroom. Luiz said a normal two-hour process of writing a paper takes her closer to 10-12 hours, as she spends a lot of time meeting with tutors and rewriting her work. âÄúWhen IâÄôm doing my papers, I know the subject,âÄù she said. âÄúBut itâÄôs really hard to put them together and have the introduction and everything, the right way.âÄù And as stressful as Luiz said it has been, it appears to be paying off. âÄúSheâÄôll come and tell me when sheâÄôs gotten good grades,âÄù junior roommate Alexis Russell said. âÄúShe works really hard in school, and I admire her for that. School is already hard for me, and I know the language. I canâÄôt imagine doing what sheâÄôs doing.âÄù On top of school and volleyball, Luiz would like to add a job. But just like adjusting to everything else, this will not come easy for her. The law prevents Luiz from getting a job off campus, limiting her from the same opportunities to coach volleyball camps that the rest of the team has readily available to them. âÄúSome of the girls work at camps, and they invite me to go because they need coaches,âÄù she said. âÄúBut I canâÄôt go.âÄù This is something that Hebert said isnâÄôt fair to her. âÄúInternational students come here often without extra money, as theyâÄôre on an athletic scholarship,âÄù he said. âÄúThe first thing that happens is they take a big chunk of money out of the scholarship for income tax. Where is she supposed to get that? And then itâÄôs $1,000-$1,200 to fly home. She canâÄôt get a job to make that kind of money. âÄúSheâÄôs willing to work,âÄù Hebert said. âÄúSheâÄôs dedicated to her academic program and would like to finish that here, but it makes it tough.âÄù