Whitney Phillips: Playing and Studying Overseas

I never thought I would be a student-athlete again after completing my 4 years at NCAA D1 level. I figured I would be both again, but just not at the same time. However I found myself in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, studying for my Masters of Northumbria University while playing volleyball in there Super8’s national level and in the University league as well.

Upon graduating from Portland State, I ended up in the Canary Islands of Spain playing in the Superliga for CV JAV Olimpico. I found out about the opportunity to play and study in England over a cup of coffee beachside! My teammate, Lynne Beattie– captain of the GB Olympic squad, had a visit from her assistant GB coach David Goodchild. Talk about the right place at the right time…Dave is the head coach of the men’s and women’s programmes at Northumbria, and he informed me of the opportunity, as I had mentioned I would be going back home to study within a couple years. Before this I didn’t realize this was even an opportunity!  One online application later, I was accepted for the MSc Global Logistics and Supply Chain Management programme!!

NU busines School (1)

NU Business School

Unlike the US, England does not put a cap on the number of years you can play at the University level. Basically as long as you are a part time student, you are eligible to play!! I am currently in the midst of my 2ndseason here in England and just completed my 16,500 word dissertation. And to be honest, I absolutely love it, and feel a bit spoiled to be able to play overseas in an English speaking country. It has definitely made the transition back into the student-athlete roll an easy one, once I was able to learn the grading scale in England. Here a 50% is a pass, and 80% is practically unheard of!

Since being here I have been part of the National Championship team for the Super 8’s level and the British University league! I have also had a chance to play with, train with, and play against several GB indoor and sand Olympians! Although it is a long season (September-April), there are plenty of weekends off in which I have been able to travel to 12 different countries (All around England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Holland, France, Czech Republic, Hungary, Belgium, Slovakia, Austria, and Germany)! I’ve definitely been a little bit spoiled living here, and it totally helps that my boyfriend has a car out here!

newcastle sunrise

Newcastle Sunrise

For those of you interested in going back to school and still being able to play the best place to look for opportunities is on the NCAA website or even better, sign up on the Team Gleas website. Team Gleas is an awesome business that is totally free for you and is able to connect you to Universities and scholarship opportunities to play and study overseas!

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Whitney Phillips
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