Friday, October 14, 2016

My Olympic Volunteer Experience

It took me 30 hours to fly from China to Rio. The long flight made me very tired and frustrated and all my expectations for the Olympics disappeared. However, the moment I came out of the airport, the nice sunshine and beautiful views of the city lifted my spirits instantly. I felt it is so worth it to apply to be a volunteer two years ago with the three-stage selection, including an online exercise, a language evaluation and an interview.

My very first impression of the local people was that even though they don’t speak any English, they are very friendly. I remember when I took an Uber to get my volunteer clothing and name card, the lady was hesitant to drop me off at the destination. She didn’t speak any English, but she kept saying “no” to stop me from getting off the car. She called her son who speaks English to explain to me that it is a really dangerous area. I explained that there are volunteers to pick me up and she finally felt comfortable to let me get off the car. I was so impressed by how thoughtful she was to a stranger like me.
After the short training, I started to work at the Olympic Shooting Hall.

 My daily duty involved leading the politicians, VIP audience and athlete
coaches to their seat, accompanying the athletes and offering them the Olympic schedules and local transportation information. I enjoyed that every day there I could meet different people from different countries. Some French boys gave me their Olympic pin and a member of team Mexico in the ISSF (International Shooting Sport Federation) also gave me the Mexico shooting team pin. After a day working, I collected a handful of pins from different people which I feel like I got a handful of love from people all over the world.

During my month as a volunteer, I got to know about Brazilian culture, watched the live Olympic game, made international friends and learned how to adapt to a new environment quickly. I am glad that I made the right choice two years ago, I am sure this volunteer experience will be one of my best memories.

Guest blogger: Jiayu Peng
MS Accounting, class of 2018


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