Meet Sofi

2022 Friendship Games Ambassador from Cyprus

July 27, 2022 Updated October 3, 2022

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Sofi FG 2022 2

I was born and raised in Cyprus. I have an English mother and a Cypriot father, so it’s two completely different cultures. I mean everything’s different –- Christmas, Easter and things like that, so it’s very interesting. The food is different. It’s the traditional souvla and haloumi and then obviously the English one is Turkey and gravy and potatoes, so it’s quite a different feeling between the two Christmases.

 

I’ve been traveling since quite a young age, so I feel like that has helped me to become more of a well rounded person by finding out about more cultures or meeting new people and getting to know new people as well. 

 

I also have quite a lot of pets. I have like 14 cats and a couple of dogs have a hamster as well. So I feel like, being able to take responsibility for those – it’s basically like having lives depending on you – taking care of them and everything, I feel like that has helped me to become who I am today.

 

I feel like everyone has had memorable experiences that taught them some great life lessons. I feel like for me, the first time I traveled on my own with school to Lithuania was quite a unique experience. It actually helped me realize how you have to be responsible for yourself and take care of yourself. It was the first time I’d been to Lithuania, because when we travel, we mainly go to England to see family.

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

When I'm with my friends, I try to listen to their problems and understand what they're going through and try and help people as much as possible. So I feel like that's something I'd like people to know about me – the fact that I am quite open minded to new things and I try to help people as much as possible.

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

I don't have a specific talent. When I was a kid, I used to do different things (ballet, rhythmic gymnastics) until I found something that I was comfortable with, which was basketball and horseback riding. I feel like I’m quite good academically as well. And just overall I try my best to be good at most things. I’m sort of a jack of all trades.

Q: Who's your hero? Why?

I always say, my grandmother from England was and is my hero. She would always put everyone above herself and, sometimes even care about others a bit too much and not consider herself as much. She was very open minded and caring. She was really kind and I’m inspired to be like her. She recently passed away.

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

I feel like a leader has to take responsibility for their leadership. I mean, they have to understand that their decisions directly affect the people that they lead. So, in other words, the best leaders need to lead with their followers in mind. I also feel like they have to have good communication skills. They have to be highly committed and motivational to be able to kind of get people on their side and to be able to lead them as well. Like, they should begin with a goal in mind and then try and communicate with others, to try and understand what they want, as well. And I feel like they need to know their past successes, and then use those successes in the future to try and determine what they're gonna do.

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

I'm really looking forward to meeting new people and also building better relationships with the people I've met, even from Cyprus. I've met some of the other people from the other sites online [at the Virtual Friendship Games] as well last year, and I just can't wait to actually see them in person.

Q: How do you feel about traveling abroad without your family?

I'm quite excited and it's also a little bit worrying because I mean there's always something happening, but I feel like I feel very safe with PeacePlayers and I feel like it's just going to be an overall great experience.

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

No, I think I'm okay. I think it's just the feeling of leaving your house for a certain amount of time. I mean, I think it's for every type of traveling, even sometimes when you are with your parents, but I've already gone without my parents and that’s helped me realize that it's not as scary as it seems, but there’s still a little bit of worry in the back of your mind in case something goes wrong.

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

I feel like every single person has a different perspective on certain things, and if you have 130 different people giving their opinions, then you can kind of form your own opinion in a way, by listening to other people, and understanding what they're saying and what they've been through, what they feel about something.

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?

For myself, I've always wanted to be a vet to try and help as many animals as possible. It's my dream job. For the community, I feel like I want people to realize more that and every person can make a change in the community, even if it's a small change.

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

I’m from Larnaca. It's a really small community, especially our neighborhood. Like everyone knows everyone, so it's really nice and it's friendly. We also live in the same complex as my grandma from Cyprus. In the summer, she comes here and it's nice. Cyprus is very small in comparison to most of the countries. For example when I went to Athens, I felt like there were so many people. In Cyprus, you know a good amount of people, and you might just run into them when you go to the grocery shop and stuff like that. It just makes you feel closer with everyone in a way.

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

I would like to stick to the fact that I went to Greece recently, and I saw the stadium where the first Olympic Games took place. I'd like to time travel back and see this history and all these things happening. I think it’d actually be really cool to be able to live through it, because we've also learned about Greek history in school and being able to see it thousands of years later, I think it'd be really cool.

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

Q: So, Sofi, what's the most important thing that you’ve learned this week, the thing that you value the most?

For me this week, I've learned lots of important things so far. So for me, one of the most important things was being in Jerusalem and learning about Israel and Palestine and the history behind it. And we learn a bit about how it is on both sides. And it was really cool to just hear two sides of a story and then be able to form your own opinion. And being able to actually see things that are thousands of years old and being able to look at that and think, well, people that, for example, my age were there thousands of years ago. And it's just crazy to think that. I think it's really cool.

Q: What did you enjoy the most about this week?

So far I really enjoyed yesterday when we had our opening ceremony. At some point we all learned some traditional dances and it was really, really cool. I think it was really fun that all of us were just trying to learn together. And even though it might not have turned out perfect, it was still really fun.

Q: Are there things that you learned or that you experienced here that you think you're going to take home with you that maybe will be able to help you in your daily life? Like either something that will just be a part of who you are going forward or really help you when you need it.

I feel like it's really important to take in everything that happens during this week and learn more about leadership and cooperating with other people, being able to see things from other people's side and just really like trying to become a more well-rounded person. Because we also learn about cultures and I think it's really enjoyable, and I feel like I'm going to pass on to my friends how to be more understanding and open-minded towards other people before judging someone.

Q: Okay. Do you think there are things that you as young people can achieve that maybe would be a little bit more difficult for someone older to do? Like, do you think there's something unique about you being a young person and your power to make changes in the world?

I feel like the unique thing that we're all quite young is the fact that we haven't really formed an opinion about certain things yet. Some older people have gone through wars and stuff, so they might not decide to change their opinions. But I feel like younger people, they're more open-minded and open to change and open to new suggestions on certain things. And they'll be able to bring it up to their families and carry on through their generations, and then it will pass through lots of people.

Q: I want to ask a question about basketball. Like, that's a big part of what we do. So what do you think basketball has to do with it? Like, what role does basketball have for you and for other people from your site, or as a global movement?

I feel like it's important when there's a conflict to always focus on the things you have in common rather than the things you disagree on. And I feel like basketball is something that's common for all of us. And it's kind of like it's a language of its own because we have some language barriers. And I feel like basketball is a way to communicate with others. It's like basketball is its own language and you can just play freely without worrying about anything else.

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