A Long Way From Home

Liv Storer (c) 2019 David Sinclair/McDaniel College
Liv Storer (c) 2019 David Sinclair/McDaniel College

College is an amazing experience. Students travel away from home to learn and develop in to young adults. They move away from their families for more than half of the year and typically return in the summer. For some students, they stay close to home and are able to get home within a few short hours.

However, for Liv Storer, a women's basketball player, home is not a short distance away. Storer resides in Australia and travels back home only for the summer. She is on a student visa, which permits her to travel in and out of the United States for four years while she completes her degree. She always dreamed of studying abroad and McDaniel has given her that opportunity by gifting her with an incredible scholarship. 

"I was lucky enough to get a really great scholarship which made the decision really easy," Storer said.

Financial reasons are not the only thing that pushed Storer to study abroad.

Coach Martin, recently retired women's basketball coach, recruited Storer to play basketball as well. Basketball has definitely been a comfort place for Storer and being able to play overseas has really helped her transition.

"Coach Martin sold me with the whole D3 experience," Storer said. "I didn't want to just be an athlete and McDaniel spoke about encouraging their students to excel on and off the court."

One of the many difficult transitions for any college student is leaving behind his or her family. For many college students, they at least have the opportunity to reunite during the holidays. However for Storer, it's not until the summer when she can see her family again. Over just her first year, though, Storer made many friends. Her teammates have made a lasting impact on her and she considers them to be her second family.

"My teammates have become my family," Storer said. "I really don't think I could have gotten through without them and their families. Whenever a holiday comes around, I always have people offering for me to come home with them which is so nice. The holidays are usually when I get a bit homesick but having great friends over here makes it so much easier."

When Storer first arrived in the States, she did not know a single person. She was lucky enough to have two amazing people take her in like their own. Her American family, Jan and Alex Ober, have really stepped in to help out Storer when she is here. The Obers have Green Terror ties of their own as alums and Alex served as men's basketball coach for 17 seasons.

"They come to all our games and really look after me, so now I honestly think I could say I do have family here."

Storer has the best of both worlds. Australia where her family lives and McDaniel is where she gets to continue to play basketball, earn her degree, and make lifelong American friends.

In stressful times, however, it has been a hard transition for Storer. The hardest part about being abroad is leaving her family. She knows that she has so much support here and incredible friends, but nothing could replace the feeling of being home.

"I've had an amazing time over here, but nothing beats home. I miss the food and watching Australian football with my dad and brother. Australia is also such a beautiful country with great weather and a huge variety of landscapes, so I definitely miss that when I'm here."

With technology constantly advancing, it has become easier for people to get in touch with others across the world. Storer deals with being homesick by constantly giving her parents and siblings a facetime call. Storer often compares her experiences to people who had the opportunity to do this before technology. Back then, you weren't able to pick up your phone and see your family face-to-face and even phone calls were hard to make being so far away. Storer feels so blessed to have the technology that we have, without it she doesn't know if she could be that far from home.

"I met an older man who studied abroad in the US and when he was here, he could only contact his family by writing letters – I can't imagine what that would have been like."

Although Storer is far from home, she knows she is here for a purpose.

Basketball has been her escape for many reasons. Storer has been one of the top shooters for her team and has made huge contributions to her team both physically and mentally. She has big hopes for her team next year as they have been working extremely hard to get better each and every single day. Storer personally wants to work on her own craft and for the team, playoffs are without a doubt the end goal.

"As a team I hope we make playoffs and then see how far we can get from there and personally I want to work on my outside shot so that I can spread the floor for my teammates and become harder to stop defensively."

Christopher McGrew, assistant coach for the women's basketball team, describes Storer as a 'versatile' player. McGrew has similar goals as Storer to make playoffs and win the Centennial Conference.  He mentions how much Storer brings to the table and how well she has really adapted to the culture here on the Hill. Storer has become a huge contribution to the team.

"Liv has adapted to the campus and the basketball team with ease. She brings high energy and effort at all times and is highly respected both on and off the court. 

The basketball team has been working extremely hard to perfect their craft and compete with some of the toughest competition in the conference. The team is ready to get back in the gym and work hard. As Storer finishes up her junior year, she wanted to leave this behind for her fellow student athletes.

"Make the most of your four years! They really do go so quickly! Oh, and give your family a hug when you see them. I've got an even greater appreciation of family since I've been over here."

 - Emma Lorenzen '21, McDaniel Athletics Communications undergraduate intern