Eurovision Volunteer Workshop

Dear Friends & WordPress community,

One of the great aspects of being an exchange student in Europe is that we get acquainted with several events you can’t imagine doing back at home. They could range from three-legged race on St. Patty’s Day to volunteering for a nation-wide song contest known as Eurovision!

Today, I went to my first volunteer workshop for a national song contest, the 59th annual Eurovision contest. To be honest, I didn’t know anything about Eurovision until one of my friends on exchange mentioned it during one of our common group dinners. I never even heard of Eurovision. You can think of Eurovision like America’s Got Talent. It is HUGE. Apparently, it is really popular in Australia– Australia asked to participate this year! Eurovision is a song contest with contestants representing all parts of Europe. This year, I was lucky because… Denmark is hosting Eurovision!! It is their third time hosting the event. It will take place during the first week of May. Each year, the event is hosted at the country of the previous year’s winner. This is the performance that won last year: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k59E7T0H-Us).

I didn’t know that we can be volunteers for song contests, but through spontaneity, my friend and I started to look at fun events we can take advantage of while we’re abroad, and we stumbled upon a volunteer application for Eurovision. The application process was very time consuming, but I am so glad I applied to be a part of this amazing grandiose event. According to the Eurovision Secretariats there are around 1,000 volunteers. Isn’t that… amazing?
Benefits of being a volunteer for Eurovision:
1) Get to work with people all over the world
2) Get a volunteer shirt
3) Go to an exclusive party for Eurovision volunteers
4) Free access to Eurovision
To check it out: (http://english.cphvolunteers.dk/whats-happening/events/eurovision-song-contest-2014/volunteers-for-eurovision-song-contest-2014.aspx)

Here is one of the performances I couldn’t stop watching over and over again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pfo-8z86x80
The winner of 2012: Eurphoria by Loreen, Sweden
It’s a MUST-SEE-LISTEN

So, today, the workshop took place at a place called DR Byen. It is located right next to Tietgenkollegiet, which is the round building you see on my cover photo up above. DR Byen [di-ɛʌ byn] is Denmark’s national broadcasting corporation. After a 15-minute bike ride from Signalhuset (in Ørestad), I locked my bike to a bike rack near the DR Byen metro station. With anticipation to learn more about being a volunteer at Eurovision, I power-walked to DR Byen, which was a 3 minute walk… as I passed by the glass window of the building.. I saw many, many people of all ethnicities. Everyone was standing in line to get inside the first room to the right. Imagine seeing about 50 people in line to get checked in. Meanwhile, I stood in line and waited patiently while taking a video of the situation. Then the couple in front of me turned around and asked, “would you like some candy?” I looked at the cereal bowl full of colorful pieces of licorice. I couldn’t help but smile. The Eurovision staff were passing around bowls of licorice for volunteers waiting in line– this is why I love Denmark.

After about 15 minutes of waiting in line, I entered the room of coat racks. Yes, there is a room just for coat racks. Then we proceeded into a bigger room with even more people already seated in their seats, and the projector was already on.

I was lucky to find a seat in the middle of the room. The workshop was different than I expected. I expected to be “trained” to be a particular volunteer for a particular situation, but the 9am to 1pm workshop was comprised of presentations indoors. The workshop introduced us with all of the information regarding where the event is taking place, which organizations/businesses are a part of this, how safety is highly important, how to be an ambassador for Denmark and how to help guests from around the world feel welcomed and cared for. We were told that we would be contacted by a team leader in the next few days regarding our specific roles as volunteers. And, there was so much gratitude from the Eurovision staff. Each presenter expressed his/her appreciation and honor to be in a room full of individuals who are giving up their time and energy to help this year’s Eurovision event be the BEST one. And, BEST meaning that all guests coming to see Eurovision will feel they were enthusiastically welcomed and taken care of. The Eurovision staff are even hosting a party for all of the volunteers after the event!

Eurovision… I am so glad that I am going to play a role in this HUGE event. I am honored to be a host of Denmark! What an honor!!
I can’t wait until our next training shift since we get to meet our team.

Thanks for this grand opportunity to be a part of the Eurovision network!

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There exists [not a perfect time], but [the will] to act upon goals.

Hello Everyone,

There exists [not a perfect time], but [the will] to act upon goals.

Before I share my blog and vlog (video-log) posts about my thoughts and feelings in Denmark, I would like to take the time to share my personal journey through the reflections, convictions and struggles I encountered during the process of my pursuit to attain my goals.
(This is a long piece of writing that I felt I had to publish in order to move forward with my blog/vlog projects)

In my intro vlog (http://youtu.be/emmt8l9jo4w?t=1m5s) I stated my three main goals that I have for this semester-long study abroad program:

1) Navigate New Systems
As a Complete Outsider,
(Different: Native Language, Culture, Gov’t system, Preferred                    Means of Transportation, Fashion, Courtesies, Gestures, etc)
–> how far can you go with adaptation? Why?
–> how long does it take for someone to feel a part of the
(new) community/culture?
–> do exchange students who are first time solo travelers
seek more help to adjust to the new system/culture than                               exchange students who have traveled several times?
 => Overall, Need to Acquire the Basic, Instinctual                                        Skill  to Survive on My Own in Any Foreign Country
w/o Any Instructions or Previous Knowledge.

STATUS
a) Public Transportation System
Metro: CHECK
S-Tog: CHECK
Biking: IN PROGRESS 
b) Danish Currency System
CHECK
C) Danish Culture
Volunteer:
Studenterhuset, Eurovision
Danish Lang: 5 days/week for 3 weeks
Network: Anthropology Dept., Psychology Dept., Signalhuset, Tietgenkollegiet, Umlaut Acapella, Future Entrepreneurs in DK
Museum: Denmark National Museum, Danish Design Museum

2) Research Positive Psychology
– Familiarize Field More Through
*Special Access* As a Student of KU
(København Universitet)
– Collaborate w/ Other Researchers (Masters’ & Up)
– Take EVERYTHING As a Grain of Salt
– Take Field Notes of Everything
=> Overall, Know All Meta-Analysis of the Field
& Focus on a Question

3) Build Media Skills (entails story-telling)
– Acquire story-telling skills
– Enhance writing skills
– Develop Fast & Wise Movie-Editing Skills
– Learn Prezi
– Learn How to Code

+ 4) Find & Build Meaningful Community
– Network, network, network

I have been working so hard to put all of my mind, body and soul into the things I participate here, but at the same time, I’ve been trying to re-define who I am by reflecting & meditating. It’s so difficult to do everything at once, especially in a different country, when you know that time & money are at stake.

It has been nearly 3 months since I have landed in Denmark as a first time solo traveler on exchange. I cannot believe how time flies. I tried numerous times to write my travel blogs, put together video logs of my journey as I experience new thoughts, feelings, people, systems & much more– I was so ready to share. I was full of vision, hope & aspirations to make my semester abroad be as meaningful & fulfilling to, not just me, but to all people that I can reach out to. I want(ed) my journey to be used as a tool for others. I want(ed) my mistakes, insights, successes, vision– everything needs to be recycled.

This hidden pressure to share my experience on the world wide web made me wait until the perfect time to feel the inspiration to create something magnificently insightful & fun. I knew deep down that this was not going to work, but I still waited for that perfect moment where my writings & video storyboards would just flow. Sadly, I went through several dark, unproductive phases in my first months, not only was it because that perfect moment never was consistent, but because I was also concerned about my plans after graduation.

I just realized this is going to be a ridiculously long blog post, so I will sum reflections up into 4 key points!
Reflections/Convictions
1. I value alone quiet time to stop & digest all experiences/encounters
2. I need to stop relying on “common” knowledge of the world when speaking to others now. I have to define and illustrate what you mean! EVERYONE HAS DIFFERENT LIFE EXPERIENCES THAN ME! 😛
3. I have a HUGE duty here as a student/individual
4. The biggest deterrent to pursue my goals was what others might approve/disapprove of me during the process–
There exists [not a perfect time], but [the will] to act upon goals

I AM BREAKING FREE!!

Okay! Now that that’s all out….

I will express through writing & videos how I experienced Copenhagen during the last three months– hopefully with a lighter heart. 🙂 I’m so so grateful that I have this platform to share my experience with you all!!

Meet you soon through writing & videos!

Best,
Jenn