Jenna Maddocks really loves living and playing volleyball overseas.
The former Norwalk High School standout left for Switzerland in August and is playing for VBC Ecublens LNB, a professional volleyball team in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Practices began in August with competition starting in October.
“We are playing in matches every weekend and we travel to other parts of the country to compete,’’ Maddocks said. “It is wonderful to be able to play a sport I love, get paid, and see the gorgeous sights of a new country at the same time.”
Maddocks is also enjoying the experience of playing with and against girls from different countries.
However, she is the lone American on her squad.
“My team is comprised of players from mainly Switzerland, but also other countries such as England, Germany and France,’’ Maddocks said. “Everyone speaks French and German while a couple of my teammates can speak English, which is very helpful of course.
“With the language barrier it can make it difficult on the court so I have had to quickly learn French volleyball terms,’’ she added. “My head coach Pierre is Swiss, while the assistant coach Marco is from Italy. I really enjoy the challenge of having to learn a new language and to assimilate into a different culture. This experience has really opened my eyes to the differences of a European lifestyle to our American lifestyle. I am truly loving every moment of it.”
Maddocks has been pleased with the camaraderie.
“I am really enjoying being a part of the team and my teammates and I have quickly become best friends on and off the court,” she said.
Maddocks said international play will continue until mid-December then will start again in January, after a two-week break.
Maddocks and her husband Jeremiah, who were married this past July, have plans to go on a Mediterranean cruise, then spend some time in Berlin and London for the holidays.
When not on the volleyball court, the couple has already been able to travel to other places in Switzerland, as well as Italy and France, which is just across Lake Geneva.
VBC Ecublens LNB won the first round of the Swiss Cup recently, beating Fribourg.
They are 5-3 and tied for second in the division.
“As far as the game is concerned, the teams here seem to all have very solid defense and tough serving,’’ Maddocks said.
“We play with the FIVB blue and gold international ball which has a really different feel than the Molten brand volleyballs that we play with in the states.”
Maddocks, who was an All-American at Cleveland State University, said, “It is great living here in Lausanne, which is located right on Lake Geneva. The countryside is absolutely beautiful and our apartment has a great view of the Berne Alps.”
“Everyone has been extremely accommodating and has helped make Jeremiah and I feel right at home,’’ she added. “The two local universities offer a wide range of sporting activities with which we have definitely become involved.
“Jeremiah and I have been hired at the renowned International School of Lausanne so when I am not competing on the volleyball court, we have been substitute teaching, tutoring and coaching as well. This experience of living overseas is much more than we ever imagined.”