Team Singapore’s presence in Rio wasn’t just the delegation of athletes and officials. Team Nila volunteer Budi Wu attended the games as an Olympic volunteer assisting the Chinese Taipei delegation. We spoke to him about how he came to be a volunteer and what the experience was like.
What motivated you to become an Olympic volunteer?
Budi: It was my childhood dream to be at an Olympic Games. However, that dream vanished in time. When the opportunity to volunteer at the 28th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and 8th ASEAN Para Games arose, my dream was revived. And when Rio 2016 opened the volunteer registration, I thought to myself - this is the time for me to fulfil my version of the Olympic dream.
Team Nila volunteer Budi Wu (right) with a fellow Olympic Games volunteer. Photo: Sport Singapore
What did you have to do in practical terms to become a volunteer?
My journey started at the tail end of 2014 after I submitted my application form the moment the Rio 2016 volunteer registration was opened.
In 2015, I was called for an interview and an assessment of my language proficiency.
The first 50,000 approved volunteer name list was released end 2015. Fortunately, I was one of them!
It was only in 2016 that I was informed of my role and schedule.
So tell us about your role.
I was a National Olympic Committee (NOC) Assistant to the Chinese Taipei delegation. Technically our job scope is to provide administrative support, language support and anything that is required to help the NOC/delegation during the course of the Games. However since I can't really speak Portuguese, it was not required of me to provide language support.
What have been the positive experiences you have gained from Olympic volunteering?
The most rewarding part is to be able to contribute and be part of the Olympic Games! In additional, I was able to meet volunteers from all around the world, to learn and understand other cultures and, of course, meet the athletes.
Team Nila volunteer Budi Wu (right) with fellow Olympic Games volunteer. Photo: Sport Singapore
There must also have been some challenges during the Games.
The toughest part was the communication with others in the workforce who cannot speak English. Likewise for them, I believe, since my Portuguese is equally bad. Thankfully with the help from fellow volunteers, we were able to overcome the communication barrier to give the best we can to support the delegation.
How would you sum up the entire Rio experience as a volunteer?
It was a priceless experience. Although there were many challenges (I am sure you have read or heard the news), everything turned out fine. On the NOC assistants’ end, everyone worked together to deliver a good experience for all delegations.
I learnt a lot about Olympic sports that I have not been familiar with. I learnt to survive in foreign country, with my limited command of the Portuguese language, and how to deal with a complex transport system. But it was the many awesome people and volunteers that I met along the way that made the experience an amazing and unforgettable one.
I’m already looking forward to the next Olympics!
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