Flavia is a professional volleyball player hailing from Dudingen, Switzerland. She’s a libero who’s played for Dudingen, Fribourg, and in the United States at Northwestern Ohio University. And she’s on the Swiss National Team! She grew up in an athletic family, her mother Myriam is a professor of sports and her dad Bruno is a sports coach for Hockey and Beach volleyball!
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Alice Cash: Awesome. Okay. So Flavia is a professional volleyball player hailing from Düdingen, Switzerland. She is a libero who played for Düdingen, Fribourg, and in the United States at Northwestern Ohio University, and she is on the Swiss national team. She is a queen. She grew up in an athletic family. Her mother, Miriam, is a professor of sports, and her dad, Bruno, is a sports coach for hockey and beach volleyball. We are so excited to have her on the podcast today. Welcome, Flavi.
Flavia Knutti: Thank you so much for having me. I am so excited to be on your show, on your podcast.
Alice: So we kind of started off with some more fun questions.
Alice: What is the job that you thought you would have when you were five years old?
Flavia: Honestly, since my parents are really into the sports business. I also thought I am going to be a sports teacher. Right now I am actually a sports student. So, yes, but I am more into sports management. So we will see where that goes.
Alice: That is so cool. Wow. What kind of sports would you want to manage, like volleyball?
Flavia: Volleyball, of course. No– rather like organized sports events, I really like to do that, so I have the management side but also the sport because it is a big part of my life. So I would like to combine that.
Alice: Oh, that is amazing. What are you obsessed with? Whether it is– I mean, for me, it is your Swiss chocolate, but what is it for you?
Flavia: As you said I am actually obsessed with chocolate, and as we were talking before, I am in any way obsessed with food. I love Mexican food. I am obsessed.
Alice: Oh, that is amazing.
Alice: Yes because you were just saying right before this that you had just made tamales and tried them for the first time. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Flavia: Yes. I think it is such a fun experience. I am really open to get to know new cultures and it was for sure a different experience and it was delicious.
Alice: That is awesome. Have you ever been to Mexico since you love the food?
Flavia: No, actually, I have not been there but I would love to visit and travel there.
Alice: Oh my gosh, you have got to go.
Flavia: Yes. Have you been there?
Alice: I have. I grew up in San Diego and so it is about like twenty minutes from the border, so–
Flavia: Oh, yes, that is so close.
Alice: Yes. When we were growing up, we would just like cross over for lunch or something.
Flavia: Wow. That is so cool. I cannot even imagine.
Alice: Yes. Well, it is like Switzerland, how you are so close to France or Germany.
Flavia: Exactly. That is true. Yes, for sure.
Alice: Can you talk a little bit about where you are living now and where you grew up in Düdingen?
Flavia: Of course. So basically Düdingen is a really small town in Freeport in Switzerland. Freeport is one of the twenty-six kind of states we call it in Switzerland, and it is right before the French border. It is German-speaking here, but we are really, really close to the French-speaking border in Switzerland, which is kind of exciting. So you basically have to know both languages and that is so interesting to me, in a country we have like four different languages. I do not know all of them, but I really like the French and the people are nice here and we are close to Freeport, the city, and like twenty minutes to Bern, and the nature is beautiful. I like it here, but I can imagine– I know that I probably do not want to spend my life here because I would love to just explore more countries and live somewhere else, but I am always happy and so blessed to come back here.
Alice: That just sounds like a Utopia. From all the pictures that I have seen it just looks like the most beautiful place ever.
Flavia: I think the mountains are incredible.
Alice: Oh, I think you are frozen.
Flavia: Yes, wait…
Alice: Can you hear me? Oh, okay. I see you.
Flavia: Okay, good. We are back.
Alice: Perfect. I will just cut that. So you have to speak French, German, and English, what is the fourth language that you were talking about?
Flavia: Italian. We also have Italian. Right now I am learning Portuguese and some Spanish because I am so into those languages.
Alice: That is amazing.
Flavia: You have to study a lot, yes. It is similar to French that is why it is easier to learn but you have to practice a lot and study a lot.
Alice: Wow. So how do they do the schooling there? Are you taking classes in French or German or a combination of the two?
Flavia: It depends where you grow, up in which part. I am in the German-speaking part so all of my classes are in German, but then in the third grade we have French class and then I think in the fifth grade you have English class and then you can also pick, I think when you get to high school, Italian or Spanish, which I think is a really great opportunity.
Alice: Wow. That is so amazing. I can vaguely speak French, but that is about it. I do not know every language or any language under the sun like you guys which is just amazing. What a cool place to grow up.
Flavia: I think it is such a blessing. Yes. It is really cool.
Alice: Can you talk a little bit about your experience coming to America for volleyball? What was that like? What got you to Ohio of all places?
Flavia: So I always used to play volleyball here in Düdingen and we always had Americans in our team and I was sixteen and always so obsessed with them and they always talked about their experience in college and I was like, “Oh my God, that sounds so cool.” So it was basically my dream to go there and also get to enjoy this experience. So after my high school was done, I tried to find a college with an agent because otherwise, it is not that easy, I guess, to do everything by yourself. Then I got an offer in Ohio. First of all, I was like, “Whoa, Ohio is probably not the most exciting place of all the states in America,” but I did not have any expectations. So I just went there and it was one of the best experiences of my life because I just was so open minded and so ready to learn, to get to know a new culture, new people, and new system in school and it was amazing and so enriching. What a great experience.
Alice: Yes, that is amazing. What did you find the most shocking when you first got to America? What was different?
Flavia: Everything is bigger. Since I grew up in a small town, like the cars, and the food was different, and people were also more open or I feel like they talk more than here in Switzerland. They are more a little bit– everyone is looking out for themselves and I feel like in America everyone was so friendly and just open to talk and I think that was really nice.
Alice: That is wonderful. What did you miss most about Switzerland when you were in America, the chocolate?
Flavia: I would– yes, for sure the chocolate and the cheese, but also the mountains since Ohio was so flat and I was kind of missing the mountains, and of course, my family and friends, but I was totally fine there and had my– I was like living in this bubble and just enjoying it and I also got to travel around to Chicago, to Detroit, to Florida, Georgia, so many states and it was such a great experience.
Alice: That is amazing. Oh, I am so glad you got to do that. Can you talk a little bit about what COVID has been like in Switzerland? What does it look like there? In America, it is very different.
Flavia: Right now it is getting worse. I think Switzerland is actually one of the worst places right now with COVID. We have a lot of people that got infected and we have kind of a lockdown again. I think there are just gatherings of ten people allowed and they are kind strict rules, and I think people here in Switzerland are not really following the rules or they are just like– I do not know how to describe that, like in [inaudible] they just follow the rules and that is how it is and I think that is how it should be. Some people there in this situation is not right, right now. I hope it is going to get better really.
Alice: Yes. I hope so too. It is crazy times right now everywhere.
Flavia: Yes, everywhere.
Alice: Have you picked up any new skills during quarantine? Have you done any hobbies or gone to the mountains a lot?
Flavia: Yes, I actually practiced a lot of yoga in the morning. I think it is such a great morning routine just to start and basically hugged the day and it gives you a lot of energy and your body feels great. I also tried to play guitar, but I did not practice enough, but I think it is so fun to learn new things. I am really always open to learn new things.
Alice: Oh, that is awesome Flavi, and something that we always ask on this podcast is what does womanhood mean to you?
Flavia: I think womanhood is such a good and strong bond for me because I am always surrounded by women, especially in a team of twelve women, we are all so different but each one in such a unique way and I think we should always support each other and look out for each other and not be jealous or, I do not know, I think we are so strong together.
Alice: That is awesome. I did not even think about that but you are always surrounded by women on your team, and in your sport practices. That is awesome.
Flavia: Yes. I have to say it is not always easy because there are so many different characters and opinions, but in the end, I think we always support each other no matter what.
Alice: That is awesome. If you could give advice to any woman who is listening right now, just like a sentence or so, what would you say to them?
Flavia: I would say to them, always look out for other women because we are strong together and the world needs us.
Alice: That is awesome. Thank you so much. Is there anything else you would like to add to our listeners?
Flavia: I would just like to say be nice to each other and just spread love. That is basically what I want to say.
Alice: Yes. That is definitely what we need right now, spreading love.
Alice: Thank you so much for being on today, Flavi.
Flavia: Thank you so much. I had so much fun.
Alice: Yes, it is so nice to get to meet you more.
Alice: Yes. Oh my gosh. Oh, and I have one more question. What is your New Year’s resolution?
Flavia: Oh, that is a good one.
Alice: I know I have not thought of mine yet.
Flavia: I am still working on it, but for sure be nicer to– not nicer, but just listen to them and not always compare what you feel like if someone tells you something. Just listen and accept how they are and I think that is something so simple, but I feel like a lot of us could do it more if someone is not having a good day, just listen and try to make them feel better.
Alice: That is so nice. I need to do that too. That is a great resolution. I am going to listen more.
Flavia: Yes, just listen.
Alice: Yes. Thank you so much, Flavi.