The Greeks Journey

Photo provided by Thalis Kalopothakos

The Greeks Journey

My Foreign Exchange Year

There were always two questions that frustrated me in family gatherings. Those being if I have a girlfriend and what I want to do with my life. Even though I could somehow deal with the first question, it took me time to figure out what I want to do with my life. It took different goals and dreams. From a soccer player to a chef to a businessman. As I was getting older, learning more, observing my surroundings, thinking differently and maturing I was able to decide what I wanted to do. An influential moment was when I read a series of books which is the self-biography of a diplomat. After that, I decided to be a diplomat for Greece. A diplomat is someone who represents and promotes the interests of his country working for its Foreign ministry. 

Coming to this decision was a long process. From a young age, I had two main passions: watching sports and learning history. I still remember the first soccer game I watched on TV with my dad. It was the 2014 Champions League Final. I like reading sports articles, comparing players and thinking if a transfer was good. But  I also like learning about the past; events, persons, cultures, seeing how states worked and much more. I was always between these two passions. Until 8th grade I was not sure what I liked the most but then I realized that sports do not fill me and don’t cause the spark in my eyes as much as history does.

 A major reason that I did this is that for years I have been watching the news and saw how the economic crisis has been affecting my country. I started thinking of how my country can thrive again. I watched people arguing about how things can change and what they could have done. I realized that something must be done. People actually have two choices in their lives. They can sit on their couches and argue, or they can try to make a difference from whatever position they are in. So when I was around 14 I made my final decision. I won’t sit on my couch but I will help my country. I want to make Greece prosper again and I can not do that from the comfort of my home. 

With these kinds of thoughts, I applied to the Future Leaders Exchange program in hopes of getting the scholarship and coming to the U.S. That was one of my major goals that I have already accomplished. I have learned how the U.S. works as a country that is considered successful. I identified its pros and cons and evaluated them in order to use them for the sake of my own country. I want to create bonds between our countries and strengthen our relationships. I have known a different culture and seen what is wrong or right with my own culture. I have broadened my horizons and seen different perspectives on things around the world. During my exchange year, I am able to change my understanding of the world and have new experiences that will shape me as a person. I’m able to gain tools that I will utilize to help my country.

I don’t want to be someone that doesn’t have dreams and goals and only has a job for sheer survival. A job is not meant to be something that only provides the necessary means to survive. That is not a human characteristic but an animal one. Through a job you evolve, you become a better person, learning your own self better and making an impact on the world, not working eight hours a day just to be sustained. Being a human means trying and thriving and having a job is an important part of that process.

I hope you actually gain something useful from this article and not just reading the opinions of a weird senior I advise you this. It is normal if you do not know what to do. But you have to have one thing in mind. Your primary goal should be to make a positive impact on this planet, no matter how. Just choose something that makes you really happy and you love, not something that only sustains you.                                                                                                                               

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