When Savchenkov arrived in the United States of America, one simple facial expression caught her off guard.
“People are so different here,” she said. “For example, in Russia, no one smiles. Like if you go up to someone on the street and ask, ‘how are you doing?’, people would say, ‘do I know you, or something?’ That’s a huge difference.
“My first week here was a big shock. Everyone here was asking how I was doing, and I think that’s the biggest difference [with back at home].”
Cerchlanova said she couldn’t identify any huge cultural clashes, saying instead that her biggest hurdle was learning a different language.
Belejova pinpointed the melting-pot effect in the United States.
“There are a lot of nationalities over here,” she said.
For all Savchenkov, Cerchlanova and Belejova, the most notable difference was the food.
“It’s absolutely different because we don’t eat any burgers,” Cerchlanova said. “And our biggest meal is lunch. In America, your biggest meal is dinner, so it was a really big difference for me.”
In an effort to make food she’s familiar with, Savchenkov began making her own meals when she moved to American. That quickly changed, though.
“I used to cook a lot. When I moved here, I would buy food and cook a lot,” Savchenkov said. “But after one semester, I became so lazy, so I just eat at the Cafe or eat out. My teammates say that’s how Americans live, so I don’t even feel bad.”
With the their families nearly halfway on the other side of the globe, NSU’s tennis players have resorted to using Skype as a way to stay in touch with loved ones back home.
“I talk to my parents almost every day,” Savchenkov said. “I call or Skype them.”
Cerchlanova used to chat with her parents on a daily basis. Now the Skype conversations are less frequent.
“First semester, it was every day,” Cerchlanova said of communicating with her family back home. “This semester, we are so busy and I feel like I’m OK. So now it’s like once a week.”