That’s A Wrap

It is the 9th of December and my time left here in Bulgaria is running extremely short. I have been here for exactly 106 days but it feels like I arrived at AUBG just yesterday.

I came into this class not knowing much about multimedia journalism or what it was all about, and now as the semester is coming to a close I believe can say that I learned a lot.

It stared off simple (or so I thought.) First we had to decide on a question and theme (I changed mine about 4 times.) Then we started editing our recorded audio interviews and each week after that adding a new aspect of multimedia journalism to each post. I can now create slideshows and movies that have cut and edited sounds, audio and video, as well as tell stories using applications such as thinglink and storyify.

Over the past 15 weeks I have explored and discovered how sports bring people together, people from different backgrounds, countries, continents, religions and ages. Each week I interviewed a different AUBG student and asked them how sports unite their culture, Steven London from the U.S.A., Silva Bashllari from Albania, Lorenz Aigner from Germany, Denitsa Pashova and Hristo Georgiev from Bulgaria, James Reidy from Ireland, Victoria Antonova from Russia and last but most certainly not least Maria Martin Perez from Spain.

Their responses were different but overall the context was the same. Every student, in their own way told me that sports bring them together with others around them. Sports unite them with their families, friends, even strangers, their counties cultures, traditions and history.

This will be my last post for MMJ class, but if all things go according to plan I will be continuing my blogging journey through the next semester back home at ECU, so stay tuned because (hopefully) there will be more to come!





Not Your Average Spaniard

Maria Martin Perez is not your average run-of-the-mill Spaniard. She is not enthused or even amused by the beloved game fútbol (soccer)….or any sport for that matter. Perez, 20, grew up in La Garrovilla which is a very small village just east of Madrid.  When she graduated high school, Perez went on to study at Complutense University of Madrid and is now participating in ERASMUS exchange here at AUBG.

“When I travel, all people say ‘AHH, you are from Spain! Do you like Madrid or Barcelona?!’ and I just say ‘no, I don’t like, I don’t like football’ and then they say ‘YOU ARE SPANISH AND YOU DONT LIKE FOOTBALL?!?!?’ and I say ‘…yess'”

But never fear my friends, the unifying power of sports do not succumb to such minuscule discrepancies. Just because Perez does not identify herself as a “sports fan” doesn’t mean that she is excluded from reaping the benefits of the global phenomenon.

From September to May, millions of Spaniards swarm the stadiums, bars, living rooms and anywhere else that they can feast their eyes on the games. Even the “not-so-enthusiastic” citizens, like Perez come out for the fun and festivities.

“I like to watch with my friends in a bar with beer or something because all people are so excited and it is funny for this reason, but not because I like the football. It is only for being with the people.”

Here are some photos of Perez watching football with “beer or something.”


“The most famous sport in Spain is soccer, all people go crazy with soccer in Spain.” says Perez.  Some even go as far as saying that soccer is a religion to the country. Considering the fact that Spain is home to some of the best and the most famous soccer clubs in the world, including Real Madrid and FC Barcelona this may not come as much of a surprise.

Spain as a nation identifies with soccer. It is their countries national sport and they have been practicing it for more than 100 years. They gather at stadiums that can hold up to 75,000 people and they share their love for the sport with the world.  It unites not only the young and the old within their country but also those of all the rest.

Perez prefers to play, “like for fun.” She enjoys experimenting with new things like rugby and LOVES to swim. She may not always enjoy the activities associated with sports and competition but she will always be able to find unity and commonality with others because of them.

Check out the sideshow to see some of the things that Perez would rather be doing in her free time!


Most people only dream of one day being able to attend the Olympic games.  For AUBG senior student Victoria Antonova, that dream came true in 2014.

Antonova grew up in Omsk, Russia where her passion for sports was installed early on.

“One thing that is special about my city is that everybody loves sports, ice hockey in particular.”

Starting at a young age, Antonova attended ice hockey games with her dad. She spent her youth playing volleyball and then traveled to America in high school where she took every opportunity she could to participate is sports.

When she found out that the OCOG was recruiting volunteers for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Antonova waisted no time in making sure that she would be in attendance. Below is a picture of Antonova volunteering at the Sochi Olympics Hockey Venue. HERE you can learn more about her experience as a Olympic volunteer and even learn how to apply!


For Antonova the reality and excitement of attending such a monumental event did not hit her till she arrived.

“There were 20,000 volunteers at the Olympics in Russia, so when you realize that you are part of something big like that and that it is such a major event and you see all the people coming from all different parts of the world just so that they can join for the celebration of sport and excellence.”

The mission of the Olympics is to build a better world based upon understanding, diversity and unification.  “There is a feeling of not someone just out there and famous, but also someone that is very much like you, someone who you maybe know, someone you know more like a friend or a pal even though you have never met maybe, but someone who you feel very close to.”

Take a look at a storify that summarizes the Olympic Movement.


Learning new things: Storify and Thinglink

Always learning new aspects and tools to journalism in MMJ class. Today we learned how to tell a story through twitter! Using Storify you can search twitter and other social media sites to find information and facts to report news and events! Check out my first “trial run” Life of a Bodybuilder




Thinglink lets you add video and text links to pictures, making them more interactive and informative!

Touch my first thinglink and discover a little bit about AUBG Olympics.

Bodybuilding in Bulgaria

Whats up everybody?!?!

School is back in full swing now that fall break is over and that means more interviews and new posts! This week I interviewed Hristo Georgiev,  he is a junior here at AUBG majoring in information systems and business.

Bodybuilding is a growing phenomenon in Bulgaria. Starting at a young age, the sport provides youth with the ability to connect and get along with fellow peers. “One of the ways to survive through school is to lift stuff, or be a tough guy,” says Georgiev.

Some may say that weight lifting and bodybuilding is an individualized sport, and it can be, but it still provides a common ground for communication and interaction with others around you. Throughout the country, no matter the time of year, there are competitions where bodybuilders come together to compete in Bulgaria.

“Women compete, people from different weight categories compete, there is always competitors, there is never a lack of competitors, there is a huge industry, there is always stuff going on.”

Just like the other sports we have probed this semester, bodybuilding has adapted and globalized through the connections that it forces its participants to engage in. In the U.S. there is a nickname that we have for big, buff guys, we call them “meatheads” in Bulgaria they have a similar nickname, they call their big guys “batkas”.

Georgiev is an advocate to sports and youth in Bulgaria.  He is even part of a start up business called “Instructor” that aims to connect aspiring weight lifting and bodybuilders with trainers close to them.

Check out the culture of bodybuilding via social media around the World!

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The cultural diversity that AUBG  students recognize and adhere to enables the campus to vibrate with a sense of unity and acceptance every minute, of every hour, of every single day.

The inspiration behind this blog stems from a quote I once read by Nelson Madela.  Madela was a human rights activist who used the power of sport to unify his divided nation when all else failed.

Over the past five weeks we have explored the cultures, traditions and unity behind sports from the view points of five different students, from five different nations.  Each week coming to one common conclusion, one specific mode of unification. Sports.

Each week as I was interviewing fellow AUBG students and sports enthusiasts, I found several correlations within their thoughts of sports.  In their own way and within their particular sport of choice I was able to see how over time sports have expanded and affected their Worlds.

“Its fun so its a good way of unifying.”- Steven London- U.S.A

                  “When we are playing against another team from another nationality, we are extremely, extremely patriotic.”-Silva Bashllari- Albania

“Sports play a big role in uniting people and cultures.”- Lorenz Aigner- Germany

“Yoga is for people  of all cultural backgrounds and everyone can play it.”- Denitsa Pashova-Bulgaria

“When you play together, although there may be tension at some stages, if something is to seriously happen in terms of a horrific injury or a player collapsing both teams will come together and check on the player.”- James Reidy- Ireland

From American Football to Irish Hurling, whether the sports came with centuries of history or not, within every interview I could feel the emotional ties that the students felt to the sports they are so passionate about.

At the beginning of the semester I had no idea what to expect. Over the past month in a half what I have learned and experienced expands far beyond the technicalities of writing a blog.  I have developed as a writer. I have grown to thrive for more.

Sports provide us with endless ways to connect with others.  No matter the language or cultural barriers that may exist, whether  playing or simply watching from the sidelines, it gives us a sense of common ground.  Something to talk about, debate and be enthusiastic about. It unites the young and the old, the rich and the poor.


It’s that time of year again… midterms.  So here ya go, this is my In-Class Reporting assignment which is supposed to prove if I have what it takes to be a “backpack reporter.”

“Do we expect too much from young athletes?”

In a recent football game for England’s 2016 European Championship qualifier against Estonia, forward player Raheem Sterling, 19, was benched due to extreme fatigue.   Sterling’s request to be sidelined during the game has caused a worldwide debate regarding the wellbeing of young athletes.

Catherine Turner, 20, is an exchange student here at AUBG and  is a lifelong athlete.  She plays lacrosse for her college team at Hendrix University and she has a lot to say about pushing athletes too hard.

Parents, coaches even fellow peers often push athletes past their breaking points.  Children can start playing in competitive leagues as young as 5 if not sooner.

Turner started gymnastics when she was 6.  “When I was young I was a gymnast, I had to practice 5-6 times a week for about 3 hours everyday.  From that I got a lot of injuries that effect me now when trying to play sports. I pushed through the pain until eventually it was too much.”  At the age of 12 Turner had to start going to a physical therapist to help with the pain.  ” I ended up quitting, but I felt like it was always expected of me to just keep going.”

Many young athletes experience the same pain and fatigue as Turner and Sterling.  Pushing athletes to these points of nearly no return is not only dangerous but it is not right. Coaches, parents, spectators and peers need to listen to our athletes.  Because in the end, if we don’t, the results can be much worse than loosing a single game.


Lománaíocht: Hurling

hurling ballMore than 3,000 years old and still the fastest field game in the world, Hurling continues to serve as one of Ireland’s most popular sports which upholds the nationalism that was instated by their ancestors centuries ago.


Here James Reidy gives us an inside look of the game that many still know little about.

The All Ireland Hurling Club Championship match is held on Saint Patric’s Day every year. CrokePark More than 80,000 supporters from Ireland and around the world come out to Croke Park to cheer on their teams and experience the profound atmosphere that engulfs not only the stadium but all of Ireland.  For over 100 years, Croke Park in Dublin has been the home of the All Ireland Championships as well as other traditional Gaelic games.

Like many other Irish youngsters, Reidy started Hurling at the age of 9. However he only continued to play for about 3 years.  “I was constantly getting injured, in terms of breaking bones, so i sort of left it.”  He decided to turn to soccer… where he ended up breaking both of his hands on separate occasions as goal keeper, but that did not stop him this time.  Here at AUBG Reidy plays as the ERASMUS-UNITED goal keeper for the schools intramural soccer league.

Over the years Reidy has seen and experienced many injuries, of himself his teammates even as a spectator. As awful as injuries are, Reidy has been able to pull good out them. “When you play together, although there may be tension at some stages, if something is to seriously happen in terms of a horrific injury or a player collapsing both teams will come together and check on the player.”

Yoga: To Join and Unite

I have been practicing yoga for years. I do it as a fun relaxing activity that also helps keep myself active when I have extra time. When I came to AUBG my intention was to continue doing online yoga classes in my free time.  However, much to my excitement and surprise shortly after my arrival I found out that the school actually offered free classes on Monday and Wednesday nights.  This is how I met Denitsa Pashova.


Pashova grew up in Stara Zagora Bulgaria and is now a junior, studying business and European politics here at AUBG. Beginning school in the fall of 2012, she wasted no time ensuring that she would be able to continue her yoga practices.  That semester, as a freshman she decided to start teaching yoga classes to students.

“I wanted to continue playing yoga, I just took the risk. There was no one teaching yoga here so I decided to try instruction.”

Yoga originated in India over 5,000 years ago and has gradually adapted and mutated into many different forms which people practice daily around the world.

Pashova explained in part why she truly loves the practice so much, stating that, “Yoga is for people of all cultural backgrounds and everyone can play it.”

“To join and unite” is the literal translation of the word “yoga.” This simple definition, which was established thousands of years ago, continues to hold true today.  Just as Pashova said, everyone can do yoga, from babies to elderly, there is a practice that will suit everyone.

In the United States alone, nearly 15 million people practice yoga everyday.  Coming together with others of all varieties for spiritual mindful peace.

Like the millions if not billions of other yogis around the world, Pashova fell in love with it from the first class she took in 2009.

“I tried a class and I really liked it so I continued going and I continued reading books even became vegetarian.”

Acting as an ambassador to yoga, Pashova is now in her 3rd year teaching yoga at AUBG.  Using it as a way to bring students from around the world together.


Random learning post

Hey guys!  This post is not connected with my blog, but last week in class our professor Melody Gilbert taught us how to shoot 5 shot videos.  Unfortunately I was absent that day, so I decided to make it up with the help of my friend Lyndsey tonight. Here is a quick look into our night of homework and studying…  Hope you guys enjoy the growing fascination with 5 shot videos!