Jill van den Dungen looks back at her four-year adventure as tennis player in the States. What an experience she has had!

Name: Jill van den Dungen
Sport: Tennis
University: Southwest Baptist University
City: Bolivar, Missouri
Major: International Business

1. Best college sports memory

Winning the Regionals Doubles Championship and therefore being able to compete at the National Championships!

2. Biggest U.S. culture shock

The food, and that there is drive-through everywhere!

3. Biggest difference between you as a freshman and as a senior

The experience that I have now as a senior. I can use that in my sports, classes, and in my team, like helping new freshman. Oh, and also not finding it awkward to cheer LOUD, haha!

4. Most-improved aspect of your sports game

Doubles! Before college I did not play doubles a lot. Now, I really like it and had a couple of major successes in doubles play.

5. Thing you missed most about the Netherlands.

The down-to-earth culture, food, the fact that everything is a ‘close’ drive, and of course my family & friends.

6. Thing you missed least about the Netherlands.

The rain?! Even though it could rain quite a bit in Missouri as well.

7. Favorite dining hall food?

My self-put together tuna sandwich.

8. Favorite thing about being a student-athlete

The sports community, traveling, and, most of all, competing.

9. Toughest part about being a student-athlete

The 6 a.m. practices! And very, very long rides in the team van.

10. Plans for after college

I will use my extra year of eligibility due to Covid-19 to compete one more year as a student-athlete at a different university and do my master’s degree. Then, I will go back to the Netherlands and complete a university master’s degree.

11. Thing you will miss most about the United States as a country

The sports community feeling, especially in small college-town like Bolivar. And the space, everything is big! From supermarkets to parking lots and to the massive servings of food.

12. Thing will you miss most about college sports?

By far competing in a team, especially since tennis is typically an individual sport. What I will also miss is watching other college sports, like basketball.

13. Funniest moment being an athlete?

All the jokes and pranks we would do with teammates and with our coaches.

14. Tip you would you give your freshman-self?

Enjoy all moments and matches, because like this year, you never know when it will be the last!

15. Main reason you would recommend others to play college sports?

Definitely the combination of being able to study and compete in sports at the same time. Working with a team very closely towards certain goals and competing for your school is a very fun and special way of competing which you will not be able to experience anywhere else.

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