Volunteer's Journey to PyeongChang by Marko Teder
Where did the process begin, why did you decide to apply?
It began with the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. I saw an interview on TV with an Estonian volunteer. I felt excited by it and decided to do some research about the next ones. PyeongChang 2018 was the one that stood out – it isn't that far time-wise and it seemed like a really interesting place to visit.
How about the process of application? Was it long?
First of all, I filled out an application form for being a volunteer. Then I had to pass a couple of English language tests – oral and written. After those we had a group video chat with 4-5 people via Skype. This marked the end of the toughest part – I got chosen as a first degree volunteer. Shortly I got presented with a chance to apply as a second degree volunteer – in order to do that, I had to fill in a short questionnaire. I succeeded. All in all, the whole process took me about one year.
What was the preparation period like?
There were many online courses available to get to know the local language and culture. I didn't dig too far into it – the web portal was very slow and I didn't have much spare time next to other activities. I went about doing research on my own, learning about South Korea and its culture.
What exactly will you be doing once you arrive?
All I know is, I will be working with the Estonian delegation. The details will specified during the on-site training.
When do you arrive? Will you stay for the entire period?
I will arrive on January 24 and stay until the Olympic Games are over. I had to pass up the Paralympics. Otherwise, the time spent away from home would have been too long.
Which expenses will be covered by the organiser, which ones do you have to bear yourself?
I'll have to take care of the travelling costs there and back. The organiser will cover catering, accommodation and local transportation.
What is included in the volunteer uniform you'll be wearing?
The organiser will provide winter gear (jacket, trosers, warm underwear, fleece, hat, gloves, backpack, etc.) and a Swatch watch (only for second-degree volunteers).
Why are you a volunteer, what motivates you?
First and foremost, it's being a part of this huge undertaking. I want to see the organisational side of it, to see what goes on behind the scenes. I am a huge fan of sports and have also organised several running- and orienteering competitions. I'm sure I will gain many useful experiences for the future, and of course, many wonderful memories to share with others. Being a volunteer enables you to be part of the world's biggest sporting event with a relatively low cost.
Do you wish to add something?
I think it's important to make your life interesting. You have to do it yourself. This is an excellent chance to do it.