An Introduction Before Trinidad

Hi everyone!  My name is Cody Legters.  I am going to be traveling to Matelot, Trinidad over spring break through the Global Service Learning class.  I am extremely excited for this experience that my group, the Trini Six, and I get to share together.

To begin, I would like to give a little bit of an introduction about myself personally and where I am from.  I am originally from a small town about thirty to forty minutes outside of Pittsburgh, called Lower Burrell.  I have an older sister and brother, 26 and 24, and a younger sister who is 8.  My little sister, Kira, is my best friend.  We spend a ton of time together whenever I am home, and when I am not, she is constantly facetiming me asking when I will be home next.  I also have a girlfriend of one year and four months that I met my junior year of high school.  I went to a small high school, Burrell, and had a graduating class of 130 people.  I love playing basketball and running obstacle course races with my dad, brother, and older sister.  We recently completed the Spartan Trifecta, which is a series of three races, 5, 10, and 13 miles that must be completed within one calendar year.  My family is at the core of my active lifestyle, and they are the motor that keeps me going.  Both of my older siblings attended Pitt at some point in their higher education, and my dad has been a Pitt basketball and football fan for as long as I could remember, so Pitt was always the perfect school for me.

I am a sophomore marketing and accounting double major, and I am in the Certificate Program of Leadership and Ethics.  I am in two service learning projects, one through the CPLE and the global service learning class.  Outside of class, I am in the American Marketing Association and the Pitt Business Professional Sales Academy.  After anticipated graduation in April 2020, I am undecided as of where yet, but I plan to attend law school.

My career aspirations have surprisingly remained fairly steady since high school.  Once I got over ever young kids dream of being a professional athlete, I decided that I wanted to be involved in sports still, but more on the management side.  My first ever realistic career aspiration was to become a sports agent and negotiate contracts for players with teams in the NBA and the NFL.  When I first communicated this desire to friends and family, the feedback was overwhelmingly negative as to how realistic and attainable it was for me.  After that, I became undecided with what I wanted to do again and arrived at college in that same mindset.  Once I got to Pitt, I fell in love with the creativity and thinking behind marketing.  I started to lean toward a career in marketing, when I realized that I could double major with accounting and use both of those degrees to get to law school and return to my first dream.  I have not had any internships yet, but I am currently in the interview process with Northwestern Mutual to become a Financial Planner over the coming summer.  This would be a perfect experience for me to help learn about the field of money management that I will hopefully be entering someday.

This semester, through the global service learning class, my group and I will be working with Amizade and the DORCAS Women’s Group in Trinidad in order to ready the community for ecotourism.  Amizade is a fair-trade learning organization that is heavily involved in responsible global service learning.  One of Amizade’s many global partners, the DORCAS Women’s Group, is a group of women that are socially active and attempting to accelerate the process of rebuilding their community.  Like I mentioned, our goal is to take some of the initial steps in developing a plan to get Matelot ready to take on ecotourists in order to drive the growth of their economy.

There are several reasons that I chose to take this course.  First, I have loved the hands-on projects and experience that the CPLE has offered so far, so I decided to pursue this to expand on those two elements.  Second, I wanted the chance to experience the wonder of studying abroad, but I also wanted it to be more of a skill development and professional experience as opposed to just taking classes abroad.  Global service learning offered a perfect mix between the two.  I will still be getting an unforgettable experience when we visit Trinidad, but I am also gaining professional skill development by working with Amizade and the DORCAS Women’s Group to put together a truly meaningful project on a world scale.  Thirdly, I always have been and always will be tied to my home town and hate being away from my friends and family for an extended period of time.  This program allows me to get out and see a different country and get an amazing experience, but still be able to return after just one week before I start to miss home too much.  The third reason does not carry near as much weight as the first two, but it is still something that factored into my decision.

Personally, I plan to gain life experience from this class.  I have always been interested in traveling and love to go to new places any chance I get.  However, this will be on an entirely different scale than I have previously experienced, since I have never gone further than the Canadian side of Niagara Falls before.

Academically, it will be phenomenal experience for me to put on my resume and talk about in applications for law school and internships and jobs.  I have heard that study abroad is the second most talked about things with recruiters, behind only internships.  Now, I will have one of those to talk about to help me advance toward my career goals.

Professionally, this is a rich experience with team work in a high-stress, irregular situation.  I cannot speak for the other members of my team, but I have never taken on a project of this magnitude, and I look forward to being able to learn and adapt with them as we take this journey together.

I am super excited for the rest of the semester, and particularly the actual journey to Trinidad!