Hockey Down Under!
Words Quentin Van Den Dijssel
When I booked my trip here I thought that 2 months would be plenty of time for me to explore a different city, and that if I stayed any longer I wouldn't enjoy it as much anymore. But with only 2 weeks left until I fly back to the Netherlands, I can tell you I've never been more wrong. Because the only thing that's been on my mind over the last few days is that I don't want to leave.
When I was on the plane to Melbourne I was unsure if my stay here would live up to my expectations, how I would fit in with my new hockey team and if I would get along with my flatmates. After the first two days here all those doubts were completely gone. I met my teammates the second day here and I've never felt more welcome. They really involved me in their team even though I had just arrived.
Because I'm still 17 I wasn't really sure if I'd have much to do at weekends. But luckily my hockey club had loads of social events which were really fun. This way I met a lot of new people.
On the weekdays I mostly explored Melbourne. I really underestimated how much Melbourne has to offer, because there's still so much I want to do here. Sport Lived staff organised regular activities such as a trip to Phillip Island which was one of my favourite tours here. I also went to an AFL game, and even though it took me some time to figure out what was going on it was still a really fun experience.
Hockey has been a big part of my life since I was around 6 years old. That's why I was really glad that Sport Lived could accommodate me in both exploring a new city and playing hockey abroad at a high level.
The first few training sessions here were pretty hard for me, because I had to get used to a whole different way of playing hockey. Also the pitch is different to back in the Netherlands and I had to learn all kinds of new hockey terms. Getting used to this was quite challenging for me but I feel like that made me into a better hockey player. And I'm confident that when I'm back in the Netherlands I'll be a better hockey player than I was before.
Melbourne has grown to be one of my favourite cities. My favourite thing about Melbourne are definitely the people here. Everyone is super laid back and welcoming. There's not one place in Melbourne where I didn't feel welcome or included. My experience here is one I'll never forget. And I'm really sad that I'll have to go back to the Netherlands in two weeks. And if I get the chance I'll definitely be back.