Although we are not very far into our Greek excursion, I can already see myself making significant strides towards goals I have set for myself.
Going into this trip I knew that studying abroad in a foreign country would be a great time for personal growth. I set a personal goal for myself to try to become more independent and to interact with the locals as much as possible. I accomplished this during our stay in Tolo. Being in an area where many people spoke limited English was an eye opening experience. I learned how to effectively communicate with locals. At one point I had a great conversation with a local restaurant owner. I told him about my background as a student at Pitt and he gave me several recommendations for things to do around town. He even told me about his family and their day to day life. To further accomplish my goal of independence and personal growth I plan to interreact with locals as much as possible throughout the remainder of our trip. I am particularly interested in how locals view us as tourists and how we effect their local economy.
In terms of academic and professional goals, my goal is to gain information that I can use to build a foundation for my career one day. As a marketing major who wants to work in sports marketing, taking Sociology of Sports while in Greece was something I was enthusiastic about from day one. I know that to work in sports marketing I first have to be extremely knowledgeable and informed about sports in general. One cannot be successful at marketing something if they do not have a strong foundation in it. This trip will help me build that foundation. Tomorrow we are heading to Olympia where we will get a tour of where the ancient Olympic Games were held. We also watched a very interesting documentary yesterday about the role of gender, race, and sexuality in sports. Immersing myself first hand in experiences where I can learn about the history of sports and then analyze how modern day sports differ is extremely valuable and something that will help me excel in sports marketing.
The last goal I have for myself on this trip is to gain confidence. This has been somewhat challenging thus far. It is obvious that stereotypes of Americans permeate Greece. Although sometimes sticking out and having people stare at you seems like it is only a negative thing, I do not think it has to be that way. Throughout the trip I am going to try to use being a foreigner to my advantage and discuss our country with locals in Greece. Like I said before, I am interested with how locals view tourists and how they view the United States in general.
I have not been in Greece for long, but I have already learned a lot. I am excited for what is to come and to grow even more as an individual.