While Canada may only be a few hours north of Robert Morris University, there are drastic differences that can be seen as soon as one crosses the border. Whether it is on the court or off it, RMU forward Nadege Pluviose experiences everyday, the differences that come with being an international collegiate athlete.
Pluviose is currently in her sophomore season with the Colonials, and when she arrived at RMU she entered as the number one-ranked forward coming out of Canada. One aspect that Pluviose and her teammates certainly have in common is the cultural differences of living in another country. With six other players on the team coming to RMU from outside of the United States, adjusting to culture is something that many members of the team will have to get accustomed to.
The Quebec native finds that there are cultural differences between her homeland and the United States. One of the first differences that the sophomore forward alluded to was the different dates the two countries have for the Thanksgiving holiday.
An additional challenge for for the French-Canadian is, of course, the language barrier.
This language barrier is the aspect that Pluviose feels to be the most difficult about adjusting to life in America since the sophomore is from Montreal, Quebec, where French is the most popular language. Despite this, Pluviose said that the overall adjustment was not that big of a challenge.
Another aspect of American life that is different for Pluviose is the food. The sophomore stated that she is still getting accustomed to the portion sizes in the United States. However, Colonial faithful will hope that Pluviose will not get too full on the larger portions and still maintain her hunger for basketball.
As the former number one-ranked Canadian forward reminisced on her beginnings with the sport, she stated that she began playing when she was just 11 years old. The Montreal native also added that in addition to playing basketball she participated in track and field.
However, Pluviose alluded to basketball being different in the United States compared to her native Canada. The sophomore forward cited the fact that Canadian basketball is played with the FIBA rules, as opposed to NCAA rules that Pluviose has had to follow since arriving at the collegiate basketball level in America.
The rule change, of course, alters the style of play between the two countries. In Canada under the FIBA rules, Pluviose claims that the game is more physical in her native country of Canada. She mentioned that in Canada, players can get away with more contact than here in the United States. The sophomore continued to say that in Canada because of the rule differences, “I feel the refs are letting the players play more.”
Another unique aspect of Pluviose’s basketball career away from her home country of Canada is the fact that she and several of her teammates at RMU share this same unique distinction as international athletes. The Quebec native mentioned that this special characteristic brings the team together.
Pluviose then mentioned that this creates a deeper bond because of the want to learn about another teammate’s culture. She continued to state that this then forces one to have to get to know the other individuals on the team. Pluviose said that this “really strengthens the team spirit.”
While the different cultural background may cause the team to bond closer, there is still a fair share of challenges resulting from the players coming from unique backgrounds. Unsurprisingly, Pluviose added that sometimes the team is not on the same page due to players understanding things in different ways.
However, the sophomore then stated that the team has to be specific in the way that they communicate. She then added that it may take time to conquer the communication battle, but “it’s not a bad thing.” As the team continues to grow day by day, it’s impressive that the team is made up of players from so many different backgrounds.
This past season, this melting pot of a team found great success. The team managed to be one of the best teams in the conference throughout the season as RMU constantly battled with the Saint Francis Red Flash for control of the Northeast Conference.
Unfortunately for Pluviose and the rest of the Colonials, it would be the Red Flash who would go on to prevent RMU from capturing its third consecutive NEC Championship. After this, the Colonials would fall in the first round of the WNIT Tournament to the Drexel Dragons.
As for Pluviose, she saw a decline in her playing time this past season as her minutes dropped from her freshman campaign. However, the sophomore was still able to average the same amount of points per game as she did in her initial campaign. In addition to this, she posted just four fewer points this season despite playing 55 fewer minutes than a year ago. RMU faithful will hope that next season Pluviose and the Colonials make the leap to the next level and improve upon their success from this season.
RMU’s success has been quite staggering despite there being seven players on the team hailing from countries outside of the United States. It is truly hard to believe that all of this foreign talent chose to bring their talents to the campus of RMU. For Pluviose it all began with one of her assistant coaches.
Her journey to RMU all started with a single phone call that Pluviose said came from an assistant coach for the Colonials. That call notified the Quebec native of the Colonials interest in her.
She continued to add that while other schools were interested in her, only RMU offered the once number one-ranked forward in Canada. However, the makeup of the RMU roster also appealed to the Canadian. She cited that Coach Charlie Buscaglia wanted international players for his team. Pluviose added, “I felt great about this culture as well.”
The French-Canadian was also enjoyed by the hospitality shown to her and she was impressed with how she was introduced as well. The warm RMU welcome in addition to the will of Coach Buscaglia to go over the world for talent are what caused Pluviose to be another athlete who decided to ride the international pipeline down to RMU.