Meet Inci

2022 Friendship Games Ambassador from Cyprus

July 27, 2022 Updated October 3, 2022

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Inci FG 2022 2

So I was born in Cyprus. From a young age I was in sports. I did gymnastics for around seven years or eight years. After that I broke my elbow so I had to take a break. After two years, I started basketball with my coach, so that’s when I met with PeacePlayers. I still live with my parents and my sister. She’s two years younger than me. I love watching TV and I play volleyball with my sister.

 

My mom and dad were very helpful [to me]. They always supported me with my choices. Also, my teacher in fourth grade and fifth grade, he actually helped me with lots of stuff like not just lessons, actually with psychological [things] and some sports. We actually still see him with our families; we meet sometimes. He was very helpful with my life.

 

I have some idols – basketball players. My idol was Kobe Bryant; he was actually really helpful, while I was playing basketball. The way he played, the way he thought, the way he talked. Like he was different for me. He was a good man, in person, in basketball.

Q: What's the one thing that you'd want people to know about you?

People say that I'm a good listener, but I am also stubborn.

Q: Do you have a special talent that most people don't know about?

I have a really, really good sense of smell, and I can make silly shapes with my tongue.

Q: Who's your hero? Why?

I think my hero is my sister, because I had really hard times when I was young, and she helped me and she listened. Before I broke my elbow, I was so active, so [when I broke it] it was really hard for me psychologically. I couldn't do anything. It was hard and she always listened to me. She also helped me with my relationships, friendships. She was always by my side.

Q: What do you think are the most important attributes of a leader?

I think a leader has to listen really carefully to what the members want, what the team needs to have, what things have to be done. And I think a leader has to be orderly.

Q: What are you most looking forward to about Friendship Games?

Actually, I want to meet new people. I want to see people from other countries. I want to learn things that I don't know, and I want to have fun.

Q: Will it be your first time on an airplane? In another country? If so, what are you looking forward to about visiting another country? How do you feel about traveling abroad without your family?

With PeacePlayers it is. I'm excited but I'm also a bit nervous, because my parents are not there, so if any trouble happens, it will be hard to just have contact with them. But I'm excited.

Q: Is there anything you're nervous or unsure about going to the Friendship Games?

I don't think there is anything. I'm actually comfortable with it.

Q: Why do you think PeacePlayers wants to bring together 130 young people from around the world?

I think they want us to meet with other people not in Cyprus, with people from other countries, to maybe introduce some different cultures to us, to show us how to communicate with other people, how to make new friends from different countries. Many of us will be studying in other countries, so it will be more difficult for people that don't know the culture or how to communicate with other people, so I think this is important for PeacePlayers participants. Also it's good for us to know how to work together as a team.

Q: If you could do anything you wanted when you grew up, what would it be/what's your biggest dream for the future - for yourself, for your family, for your community?

In the future, I want to be a doctor, and I want to work in some other jobs as a volunteer, to help the earth or animals, because I think the world does not have much time left and things have to be changed. So I want to make some changes for nature. A lot of people think that, like the earth can fix itself – like we cut trees, but they’ll become more, but I think there are lots of things that are non renewable like fuel. In Cyprus actually there is no fuel, so there is less electricity in the country, and this is actually a big problem for the whole country because there are lots of things that are working with electricity in our lives.

Q: What's it like in your city/town/neighborhood? How would you describe it to someone who's never been there?

Nicosia [capital city of Cyprus located on the border between Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot sides of the island] is really hot in the summer and it has lots of places to go and visit. There are lots of shopping centers and restaurants, lots of cafes. The good part of Nicosia is that it's not that big so people know each other. There is communication with people, people are friendly so you feel really comfortable here. In my neighborhood we have lots of friends and we sometimes play, we talk. We have a good time together. I didn't know Cyprus before the checkpoints [that divides Nicosia and the rest of the Island] so I'm used to it. But my parents actually didn't have that [when they were younger], so they had some issues with it.

Q: If you could time travel for one hour, where would you go? What would you do?

I think I want to be in the ‘80s, somewhere in Europe. It can be Germany or Italy. I would just visit some places, see how people live there, maybe go drink something in a cafe.

We followed up with Inci during the Games to hear about her experience in real time. Here’s what she had to say! 

Q: What do you think is the potential of having all these people from all over the world who are with PeacePlayers, learning and having them all in one place at one time?

Putting together many people from different cultures teaches like there are different people around the world and there are like there is maybe more than one opinion. There may be more than one answer to one question and [you need to] learn how to be open-minded around people. Like there are different people, like different skin, different language, different opinions and stuff like that. And we learn how to be open-minded, how to see people as people.

Q: My next question is a sort of follow up on what you're saying. Are there any things that you experienced or learned here that you feel like you'll take home with you? They could be things that you'll sort of keep in your heart or things that maybe will even help you in your day-to-day life.

I've learned many things while I was here, like not [just] about Israel or something. I learned how to communicate with people not in our country – from different countries, from different cultures. And I think this may be really helpful in my life, my daily life and my future and stuff like that.

Q: In what way? How do you think that will affect the way things are for you in Cyprus?

I want to go college in a different country. And I was nervous about this because different cultures, different people, I don't know them. I don't know the country. And I'm like, “What am I going to do? What am I going to say? Am I going to make friends?” And in PeacePlayers, I learned that making friends doesn't need much effort. Like you can just go and say “Hi,” and this is enough for that.

Q: So what did you enjoy the most?

The most enjoyable thing was when we visited the Old City [of Jerusalem] because I was like, there were different people, like more than one culture. There were many people staying there, and they were wearing different things, speaking different languages, having their own opinions. And I was so shocked. And it was so good.

Q: You talked about getting to meet a lot of new people from different countries. But I've heard from a few other Cypriots and some of your coaches that not only has this been an opportunity for you all to meet folks from different countries. But this has been a really important experience for you to get to know folks from your own country. From different parts of Cyprus. Can you say more about that, have you gotten to know them on a deeper level? What's that been like?

Like from Cyprus, we are many people that play basketball. We met through IBL [Island Basketball League - the only cross-border sports league uniting Northern and Southern Cyprus] or something like that, but we don't talk about our personal lives. And [here], we learn many things, like I didn't know some people are scared of the sea or some people are messy, or they are so comfortable around people. And I learned that I didn't know people enough [before]. And I have to communicate more with them in person so that I can learn people more like how they think, how they act, how they like look around world, how they think.

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