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By Hayley Cmajdalka
STORRS, Conn. - UConn volleyball rising senior, Tosin Adeniyi, was given a unique opportunity to travel with her sister, Lade, to Nigeria during both their winter breaks to visit family on a special adventure.
They both were able to take a break from the volleyball court to go on a 10-day trip, consisting of a quick stop in Dubai, with the majority of the time being spent in Nigeria.
Lade currently plays volleyball at UMass Lowell. The sisters moved to the east coast for college after growing up in Springfield, Illinois.
Adeniyi said, "I love to travel to exciting and new places and being able to do it with my sister made it that much more fun."
This trip with her sister was a way for them to see more of the family members that they are not able to see very often. Adeniyi has four aunts, two uncles, and many cousins that still live in Nigeria. Adeniyi is half-Nigerian, on her father's side of the family.
Once she arrived in Nigeria, she found that the biggest difference in Nigerian culture was the volume. She went on to explain that, "Even when they're yelling it is not like they are mad, their culture is just very loud."
Along with the loud environment, the crowded streets and unfamiliarity with the local cuisine was challenging. Without McDonald's on every street corner, Adeniyi discovered yam porridge and plantains, which ended up being some of her favorite foods.
Nigeria was very different from what she was used to in Connecticut, though Adeniyi was able to get out of her comfort zone and immerse herself in the culture. She said, "It made it easier being adventurous knowing that I had my sister with me."
After becoming more comfortable, she explored more of Nigeria. Adeniyi found the traditional bright colored clothing to be "beautiful and very exotic."
However, in the evenings, she traded her beautiful dresses for workout clothes. Adeniyi was determined to stay in shape, despite the lack of workout equipment. She had to do a lot of body weight workouts to keep up with the volleyball offseason regiment.
Not only was working out a challenge, but she said "I missed the familiarities of the U.S, like knowing what stores to go to." Adeniyi explained that she enjoyed every minute of it, but was ready to come back to her home.
Overall, Adeniyi described her experience to be "exhilarating and rewarding." She had such a great time that she is already planning and looking forward to returning next winter break, after her senior season here at UConn.