Greece is less than 24 hours away which means it’s pack day!!! My name is Joy Bergstrom and I’m a freshman here on the South Dakota women’s basketball team! My team and I are so thankful to have this opportunity to travel abroad to compete and learn all about Greek culture! I personally will be leaving the country for the first time so I feel very fortunate to be able to experience this with such a great community. This journey allows me to experience many of my “firsts”. Not only is this my first time traveling abroad, but I’m also playing in my first college basketball game! I think anyone could guess that I’m at least a little nervous about experiencing this once in a lifetime opportunity. However, I am much more excited! Our team worked so hard this summer training to do our best and now we can make it count!
Overall, I’m looking forward to everything about this trip. Some of the things we can do and see don’t even seem real to me. I am particularly looking forward to visiting the Parthenon because it is such a central place for Greece. I’m also very curious to see what the beaches and water are like in Greece. I love the beach and being outside so I’m definitely looking forward to it. The team and I learned a lot about these special places we will be visiting from two students here at USD who came and spoke to us. They had the opportunity to study abroad in Greece, so we were very fortunate to hear about their experiences and give us tips on what to expect! One thing I really took away from her presentation was enjoying the time we have together as a team and making the most of what we are doing in that moment. They reminded us not to focus on what’s next and instead appreciate what’s happening right now in front of us. Finally the food! This journey will definitely inspire me, and I’m sure many others, to break new ground and try new things. I think it will be really cool for us to see how all the different types of food are in Greece and what makes it so different from the US. Before we left, the team was actually able to share a Greek meal together. We were joined by Tasos, who hails from Greece and plays on the men’s basketball team here at USD. He taught us all about the different types of dishes to see and taste, even assuring us that they will be even better in Greece! I think this was a great opportunity for our team as well, because we got to ask Taso’s questions about Greek words, restaurants, symbols and just everyday things that we don’t get to experience here.
Finally, this trip to Greece will allow the entire team, program and community to grow as one. Many people have worked so hard to make this possible and we are all so grateful. This is my first year here and I feel like our team is already getting very close, although it may feel different. I’m really excited about this extra chance to grow even closer with my teammates and really bond through this amazing opportunity. Wish us luck and we’ll be thinking of our entire Yote community back home! Also please wish me luck with packing, I’m an overpacker and it shouldn’t take that long…