Arduously supporting event management at stadium filled with excitement
Voice of a participating student
Waseda University sent six student volunteers in February 2018 to the 23rd Winter Olympics held in PyeongChang, South Korea. The students, who received pre-service training in autumn last year and on-site training early February this year, conducted volunteer activities at various venues during the games from February 9 until February 25. Lim Youngji , a first-year student at the School of Education, who is back from the event, speaks about her experiences there.
Lim Youngji, 1st year at the School of Education, Waseda University
Volunteering behind the scenes of exciting games
International exchange at the Olympics
I joined the student volunteer program for the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games held for a period from February 9 until 25, 2018 in my home country, South Korea, hoping to enhance my communication skills by working closely with students with high linguistic proficiency in an international environment.
I worked as a guide and translator at galleries and aisles in the Gangneung Speed Skating Stadium. There were about 300 volunteers in the stadium; 30 people were from Japan, and the rest were mostly from Korea.
Using my linguistic abilities
As the name of the Gangneung Speed Skating Stadium indicates, speed skating games were held at the stadium. I could not see competitions often because the stadium is so far away from my dormitory that it took me an hour to get there by bus, and I sometimes had to work until late due to games at night. But I was luckily able to see speed skater Lee Seung-hoon of South Korea at the medal ceremony after winning the men’s mass start. I also saw a group of supporters rooting for Japanese athletes with handmade goods held high in their hands. Those were some of the moments I look back fondly on.
I spoke Korean more often I had expected. I was given directions in Korean by my supervisor while at work and spectators were mostly Korean. Few Koreans spoke English, so I and a few others had to translate directions in Korean into English to coordinate work. It was a little pity that I did not have many opportunities to communicate with people from different countries as volunteers at the Gangneung Stadium were mostly Korean. Instead, I frequently communicated with Korean volunteers, which was a good experience for me. I used to think that a big event like the Olympic Games was a different world for me, but I feel so close now through my volunteering experiences there.
Toward the year 2020
As I will still be a student when the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games is held, I would like to participate as a volunteer again. I want to brush up my Japanese and English so that I can contribute more to the Games as a translator and interpreter, and I am looking forward to communicating with a lot of people again.