What's up: Volunteers look forward to the EUG2021 in Belgrade
The postponement of the European Universities Games to 2021 affected also many international volunteers, who were selected to take part in the event. Their enthusiasm and determination however did not change despite the uncertainties and challenges; they are excited to contribute to the success of the Games and to support the organisation of the EUG in July 2021. The 2021 event and focus on volunteers also got support from the EU and is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.
Two experienced volunteers, Petra Bihary from Hungary and Renata Zinnatullina from Russia share their story on volunteering experiences, motivation during the pandemic and expectations for the EUG 2021.
How and why did you get involved in volunteering at EUSA events?
Renata: First EUSA event when I was involved as a volunteer is EUG 2018 in Coimbra, Portugal. As an active member of volunteer community and university sport movement in Russia, I am interested in participation in these events.
Petra: My first EUSA event was the EUG 2018 in Coimbra. Before that, I took part as a volunteer in smaller events at my hometown and in the European Youth Olympics Festival 2017 in Győr (Hungary). I had the idea that I should try myself in abroad in a bigger event. My international friends recommended the European Universities Games, so I applied for it. I do not regret it. It was a great and exciting experience for me. I enjoyed my volunteer job, the volunteer team, the organisers, and the atmosphere. I felt that we were a big community together and we did something great. It was not a question that I will apply again for the EUG.
How do you stay motivated during the pandemic?
Renata: In Coimbra I met so many friends from all over the world, with whom we still keep in touch. This connections with people help me to stay motivated.
Petra: I try to be optimistic. It is really hard because everything is changing so fast and my plans always postponing. But I know that I just have to wait for a little bit longer as I planned before. I know EUG will be great in 2021, and it is always good to wait for something magnificent.
What is one positive change that happened in 2020 because of the pandemic, that you also want to keep in future?
Renata: The pandemic taught us to be patient and take care of each other.
Petra: In March we had quarantine, therefore, I had time to start to take care of myself more as well as change my life. From that time, I am eating and cooking healthier. I always try new recipes and I replace the ingredients for vegetables, healthy things (like wholegrain flour) and I left the sugar too. Next to this I also started training at home. Now I can say that I really enjoy to do my workout every day because after it I feel that ‘I did something for myself today’. My plan is to save this motivation for the next year as well.
What are your expectations for the EUG in 2021?
Renata: I’m looking forward to volunteer in EUG 2021, because this event is a huge opportunity to develop skills, meet new people and friends, get acquainted with different cultures and make a huge contribution to the development of university sport in Europe.
Petra: My expectation is to meet with my old friends from Coimbra and to meet new people. It will be exciting to have a new volunteer position. I know it will be a challenge as always but I like to complete them because I learn a lot from it. Next to this, I am also waiting to prove it to myself that I can do big things as a volunteer. I feel that the games will be fun and wonderful because together (volunteers, athletes, organisers) will make it that way.
What is your message to young Europeans interested in volunteering?
Renata: Nowadays it is hard to imagine any event without volunteers! Spread the kindness! Don’t be afraid to try something new! Because the emotions and friends that you get from the event will stay with you forever.
Petra: My message is to do not hesitate to apply for volunteering. You will win a lot from it, new friends, nice memories, also new skills, and it is a good chance to improve your English (or any other foreign language). It helps you to enjoy the work no matter what it is. You will be part of an appreciated team. Maybe you will not feel that you did a huge thing but trust me without you nothing can happen well. Every volunteer is a value because they want to help and they give them a heart for it.
Renata is completing her Master’s degree in Sport Administration at the Russian International Olympic University in Sochi, Russia.
Petra graduated in Social Pedagogy at the Széchenyi István University in Győr, and in Community Coordination at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary.
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