- Introduce yourself briefly.
My name is Christopher Pangalos I’m an exchange student from Monash University in Australia. I live in Melbourne – the best city in Australia if I do say so myself. I am completing my Masters of Tourism, I’ve always been working in this industry as soon as I finished high school and I love it wholeheartedly. I can see myself 40 years in the future still working in this field.
Three facts about you:
– I’ve had over 14 jobs over my 5- year- career. At one time I was working 4 jobs while studying full time.
– I’ve never lost a dance battle to the opposite gender and I’d like to keep it that way in the foreseeable future.
– If I didn’t pursue the tourism industry, I would have ended up with either of these two jobs, Professional Clown or Greek Orthodox Priest.
You are an exchange student from Australia, what are the biggest differences between Estonia and Australia?
The biggest difference I noticed straight away was weather, the winter here is very consistent with 2-5 degrees celsius with slight wind and maybe a little bit of rain one day. In Australia winter is a war of the wits. You need to dress for all seasons. It might be super cold and rain constantly but then later on in the day it’s warm and sunny. You’ve got to dress smart. Here though wear whatever you want and just make sure you have a winter jacket and your set. Another difference I noticed was that if you go to the forest its normal to eat berries if you find any. If I were to do that in Australia there’s a 98% chance I could die. Growing up in Australia you’re told to fear the nature because it can kill you. I literally had my first cranberry and blueberry when I came to Estonia.
Why did you decide to spend one semester at EBS in Estonia?
We had three options as tourism students – Latvia, Sweden or Estonia. Sweden was super expensive simply to live, Latvia’s program was not what I was looking for and Estonia had an internship we could partake in with the Estonian Tourism Board and I’ve always wanted to attend a business school. I also heard from previous exchange students that EBS had the best student assimilation program, the ‘buddy’ coupling really made choosing this country easy. I’ve also never travelled to Estonia before plus my professor keeps promoting this place as one of the best countries to visit because of how unique it is.
What have been your most memorable moments in Estonia so far?
I have a few memorable moments, one was the bog walk we went on with the EBS council it was so much fun learning about the wildlife here in Estonia, getting to walk on marshlands and the best part was that I spent it with amazing company. My next memorable moment was when I went to the Hackathon event in Narva. I went with such an amazing bunch of people I learned a lot regarding business planning and refined my marketing skills. It honestly was one of the best experiences I’ve had here, plus I love Narva it’s probably my favourite place in Estonia. Lastly my buddy Arina has been amazing from before I even left Australia I was relaxed, having a student just answer any of my questions at any time really set my mind at ease. Even now I consider my buddy to be one of my best friends here, when I travel back my home the culture shock will come from not being able to see her at EBS or out in Tallinn.
What advice would you give to a young student who is thinking about spending a semester / year abroad?
When you’re invited to an event or outing go! Networking is the most useful business tool in your arsenal. It might be very daunting having to speak with lots of different people but the rewards for doing so are grand I’ve met with the Australian ambassador of Estonia, met with CEO’s from the hotel industry, tourism professionals, event managers who have deepened my understanding of my industry on an international scale. When it comes to student life make as many friends as you can everyone on exchange is just as afraid as you and if you can be afraid together perfect haha. Events and socializing really amp up your time here and this is an experience you will remember for a lifetime. I’m upset that I have to leave Estonia in under a month. I want to live here!! Someone sponsor me!
If you had a time machine and could travel anywhere in the past, where would you go and why?
I don’t think ID go back in time, I don’t like dwelling on the past and only look towards the future. If I had to pick a time I’d like to see what American dinners were like back in the 50’s but that’s not going to happen…
What’s the craziest thing on your bucket list?
I wouldn’t say this is the craziest thing, but a lot of people ask me if I’m crazy for wanting to visit this place. I really want to visit North Korea, I feel in the next couple of decades maybe earlier North Korea will decrease the red tape barring this country from tourism and the product will be different. I want to see what North Korea wants us to see, I want to see the fake because to me that’s a macabre experience.
Describe your dream day
My dream day would start off like any other day, I’d do what I do and do it well might I add, then as the day progresses I’ll have received a phone call saying I got the job!! I then change my LinkedIn profile to my new title as Prime Minister of Australia.
Quote that you live by?
‘If we use what you have now and fix it, it will take two years. If we can start fresh, it’ll take half a year’ – Satoru Iwata
Editor: Tea Teesalu