FAYETTEVILLE – As the trend of international travel continues for intercollegiate programs, the role of tour guide becomes an important piece of a team’s success in a foreign environment. During its 13-day European tour, Arkansas Volleyball made its way through Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic with the help of Bring It Promotions tour guide Karmen Kocar. But to the Razorbacks, she’s just Kiki. Q: What is your job as a tour guide for Bring It Promotions? Kiki: My job as a tour guide is to make sure everything is organized from meals to transportation to games. All those things are already set up so I go back and double-check. If there are any small changes to the daily plan, I would need to figure it out or make the necessary changes. But basically, I’m here for the team. If they need anything, I’m here to help and make sure they get it. Q: What are you doing when you’re not being a tour guide? Kiki: I play professional volleyball. This year I’m playing in France. Q: What is the best part of your job as a tour guide? Kiki: I would say traveling and meeting new people. Every tour I’ve done has been a positive experience so it’s always fun to travel to different cities and hang out with different people. I don’t consider (being a tour guide) a job. I consider it as a fun way to experience new things with new people. Q: Aside from the volleyball itself, why is it important for teams to take these international trips? Kiki: As a player, it’s a good chance for team building and experiencing new things together. When you go on a trip like this for 10-12 days, the team can become closer because they get to know each other in difference circumstances. After this, the team should be a lot closer. When you’re in school, you have practice and games together and you have the rest of your life going on, too, but on these trips, you’re around each other 24/7. Q: How difficult is it to connect quickly with a team? Kiki: It’s pretty easy. When I have a team like Arkansas, it’s really easy because they’re funny and open with really good people so it’s so easy for me to connect with them. I’ve never had a bad experience with any American team. It’s never boring. It’s always fun because, like I said, it’s not a job for me. Q: What do you like most about the way the Razorbacks play? Kiki: I’ve watched five games now and I’ve noticed they always have a fighting spirit. When they were behind five or even 10 points, they always come back and never give up. They’re always fighting and eventually find a way to come back. This is a really good quality to have as a team. They are also very athletic and physical which makes them a strong team. Q: What will be your lasting impression of this team when the tour is over? Kiki: I already told them that they are my favorite group and I’m not just saying that because it’s nice to say. With this group, I’ve never seen a team so close together. Usually, the teams have two or three groups that are close but this team is has all 13 players together. I’ve never seen a group this disciplined. They listen to everything and are really grateful for every small thing they get. They take nothing for granted which I really respect. With the staff, it’s the same experience. They aren’t demanding and have been open and thankful for what they got. It’s been easy to work with this team. I haven’t had to change anything along the way. Q: On the first day of the tour, you told the team to be European. Why is it important for them to fully embrace the culture and their surroundings? Kiki: If you don’t have that mentality, I don’t think you can experience the whole tour of what Europe can give you. I’ve traveled a lot and know there are a lot of different cultures. As a player, I’ve played in many countries. I know that accepting their cultures and mentality has helped me grow as a person. So you can learn a lot and gain a new perspective if you can think outside of your normal bubble. My biggest thing is don’t go to American restaurants because you could be missing something. You don’t know until you try it. For more information on Arkansas volleyball, follow @RazorbackVB on Twitter.