"Hi, I’m Dina from Cairo, Egypt.
I received a once in a lifestyle opportunity to explore Los Angeles and learn from some of the best females executives in the sports and athletic industry in the U.S. and Southern California. I’m the first generation of mentees selected by the U.S. State Department and espnW to take part in their newly formed Global Sports Mentoring program.
I am one of 17 women who were selected from various countries around the world to participate. The vision of the program is to equip all of us and future mentees with experience and knowledge that will ultimately help us instill programs to boost the involvement of women in sports in our respective countries.
I arrived to Los Angeles two weeks ago to be mentored by Amy Stanton, CEO and Founder of Stanton & Company, which is a sports marketing and lifestyle public relations agency that works with an amazing group of female athletes. It’s been a fantastic two weeks working with her and her team and immersing myself in the California culture. My first day in the office, the whole team went on a hike in the Santa Monica mountains. It was my first hike ever and I knew from that point on how much nature and fitness are part of the lifestyle here.
I'm loving the California beach life. When people think of Cairo or Egypt, they don’t think of water but I love the water—I was a professional swimmer for 12 years for the national team back home. I also love being outdoors and seeking out new adventures, which lead me to try stand-up paddling. I heard about it before I came here and it appears to be a big trend here, right behind surfing. Surfing is something else I want to try but the experience I had SUPing was awesome. I didn’t fall once, which I hear doesn’t happen the first time you try surfing!
The cool waters of the ocean, the sea breeze and the hot sunshine…it’s exactly what I imagined Southern California to be like. It’s not surprising the women here are so healthy and active. How could you not surf, swim, hike, run in such a beautiful place? I would love to do that back home. The simple freedom of taking a stroll along the beach alone is something I haven’t taken for granted here.
It’s been an eye-opening experience that will help me reach my ultimate goal of creating a value-based swimming academy in Cairo. Sports played such a huge role in my life and I want to ensure that each student athlete understands that there are great lessons to be learned from participating in sports and how they related to life outside of the pool."
To learn more about the Global Mentorship Program, visit exchanges.state.gov!