Private planes and stylish merchandise are the perks but NCAA tennis player Eloise Swarbrick knows hard work is the ticket to success.
The Hawkesdale-raised competitor is home in Australia after completing her freshman season with Middle Tennessee State University.
It was an eye-opening experience for Swarbrick, the enormity of the change not lost of the friendly, driven athlete.
Her college has in excess of 21,000 students, dwarfing Hawkesdale's population of more than 300.
Its gruelling tennis season, which runs from January to April, consists 24 matches and pits NCAA division one schools against one another.
"We go everywhere - Florida, Kentucky, West Virginia, to Chicago and Illinois and down to New Orleans and over to Texas," Swarbrick told The Standard from the Warrnambool lawn tennis courts she honed craft.
"We're very lucky to travel. It's a lot of travelling in four months and it gets a bit tiring but it goes really quickly.
"We are lucky the school has our own private plane because we have an aerospace program, so we have our own pilots who fly us around which is awesome.
"You don't have to worry about a certain amount of kilos for luggage, we just chuck it in the plane and off we go.
"We rock up at the airport, chuck our bags on and fly to wherever we need to go on Friday mornings and play Saturdays and Sundays."
The jet-setting lifestyle, while exhausting, is one of the benefits, as are the Nike-branded uniforms and shoes athletes are provided each season.
But Swarbrick, 20, knows without hard work those extras don't eventuate.
The Blue Raiders' training program is specialised, thorough and runs throughout the school year.
Swarbrick said her freshman year was a learning curve as she adjusted to a heavy training regime.
"We have Mondays off - everyone waits for Monday - and we train every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday," she said.
"Adapting to the college life of waking up extremely early, like 5am wake-ups (was a challenge).
"You have to be in the gym at 5.45am and then we do that until 7am.
"We have school at 8am until 12.30pm and practice from 1pm to 4pm.
"I love my sleep but sometimes you have to sacrifice your sleep to keep your school grades up to play tennis.
"Everyone is relying on one another because we have a team GPA (grade average) and there's little competitions between the women's team and the men's team to see who wins."
Middle Tennessee State University's 24 matches each consisted six singles and three doubles.
Swarbrick - the only freshman on the Blue Raiders' eight-player tennis team which featured seven international students - was limited to doubles appearances in her first season as she navigated injury niggles.
It was a chance for Swarbrick to settle into her new environment but she has higher personal expectations for her sophomore campaign.
"I want to play a whole season of singles and doubles and especially not being a freshman anymore I'll get more opportunities to play," she said.
Taking lessons from her debut season will be paramount to her chances of success on the court.
"Being a freshman, the coach is a bit more lenient because you're learning," Swarbrick said.
"There's a lot more longer rallies than you'd have in your tournaments so you have to learn to be more consistent and about placement of the ball.
"I have to realise I am playing college tennis and a lot of girls just keep the ball coming back - it's like playing against a brick wall.
"I also need to stick to my strengths which is to have an aggressive game style and rely on my athleticism to get around the court."
Swarbrick, who is studying physical education teaching, said she was soaking up the experience on the sidelines.
"It's helpful to have your coaches and assistant coaches to help you figure it out," she said.
"If you're a bit stuck or you don't know what to do and you've tried every pattern of play in the book, it's really helpful and it takes the pressure off a little bit because someone else is doing the thinking for you.
"They might see something you might not see on the court - your coach might see that you're hitting a lot of short balls and you might think you're hitting them deep and it's like 'OK, I can adjust that'."
The experiences beyond the tennis court are just as important and life-altering for Swarbrick.
Her visit home was a chance to introduce the Australian lifestyle to her friend Ally Farley, who returns to the States next week after a month-long adventure.
Farley lives in Murfreesboro, just outside Nashville with her family, and completed a four-year psychology degree at Middle Tennessee.
They visited landmarks such as the Great Barrier Reef and Grampians with Swarbrick eager to point out "kangaroos don't actually box".
The former Port Fairy netballer said it was important to repay the favour as host, given the support she'd received in Tennessee.
"Being in the south of the country, everyone is super friendly and takes you in, " she said.
"Every Tuesday night the school puts on a dinner for all the international students that we go to and that's like our family as well because we're all in the same boat."
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