Preparing for Takeoff!

“If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be?” Ever since I was a little girl my answer was always Sydney, Australia. Although at the time, I had absolutely no reason as to why I would answer Australia. Traveling to Australia has been a lifelong dream of mine, and it is finally coming true in just a few short weeks!

My name is Sophia Plankinton and I am a sophomore studying Marketing with a minor in Sociology. Outside of the classroom, I am a Pitt Pathfinder, a sister of Chi Omega, and the founder of Jewelry By Soph. Being a Pitt Pathfinder has grown my love for the University and the city of Pittsburgh and it gives me so much joy when I can help change lives. As my sophomore year comes to a close, I couldn’t be more excited to embark on this new journey as I travel to Sydney, Australia this summer for my 6-week study abroad program. I will be participating in the Global Business Institute: Sydney, Sports Marketing Program. I will be taking Sports Marketing, a class for my major, and will be completing an internship in the field of sports marketing.

Coming to college I knew that I wanted to study abroad, but I honestly did not think that I would ever actually go through with it. Leaving home and everything I’ve ever known when I left for college was a big adjustment for me. I have an identical twin sister who goes to the University of South Carolina and growing up we were inseparable. My family is the most important thing in my life, so it was definitely hard to leave my parents, and especially my twin sister, who is my best friend. I am from outside of Philadelphia, which is about 5 hours away. I always like to say on my tours that it is close enough for my parents to get here if I need them, but far enough away that they can’t just show up. I can’t exactly say the same about Australia… I will be a 20-hour flight away so when I miss my parents, they can’t just hop in a car to come see me!

My family in Aruba over Christmas Break! Can you guess which one I am?

Although I am unsure at this time as to what specific area of marketing I want to get into, having the opportunity to get international experience in Sports Marketing will hopefully help me make that decision. I have already gotten exposure to social media marketing, event planning and public relations through previous internships I have held, so I am eager to get exposure in the field of sports marketing as well. I hope that this program offers me personal growth. I have already become so much more independent since coming to college (that’s the purpose, right?) so I know that this experience will help me to become even more independent. My hope is that I will be an even better version of myself when I return back to Pennsylvania after the program ends.

It feels so surreal that in a little over a month I will be living in Sydney. If I’m being honest, I can’t quite imagine myself being there yet, but I know as I get closer to departure I will be able to. Although I have been fortunate enough to travel throughout my life, I have never really had to immerse myself in the culture of where I was, because I would only be in that country for a week or so. Being in Sydney for 6 weeks will be a big adjustment. Although people say that the culture in Australia is similar to that in the United States, it does have many differences and I cannot wait to immerse myself in the culture and learn as much as I can in the 6 weeks I am there.

All in all, I am very much looking forward to making the most of this amazing opportunity. Adventure awaits!