Terve! I am Nguyen Truong, an International Business student at LAMK. Now I am in the second year of college and I enjoy working with people, traveling, and making new friends. Being a volunteer at Lahti FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2017 has been my favorite and unforgettable moment in my life. It was interesting and fascinating and it also gave me a chance to meet new people, enhance my skills and gain precious experience of organizing a large event. Although there were still some drawbacks that needed to improve, the event overall was successful and well-organized.
I was a volunteer in Welcome Group – Ticket Control Team. Our team took charge of checking tickets and greeting spectators at four entrance gates. Team members were distributed a ticket checking machine before the work shift. We used this device to scan the code on spectators’ hard and online tickets. We welcomed all the participants with smiles, friendliness and hospitality. Prior to the event, there were training sessions for our team to get familiar with the task. Training meetings were conducted in Finnish so it was difficult for me to understand thoroughly. I decided not to come to the training days but I read the instruction materials sent via email carefully. They were written in English and explained our task clearly. I was given the contact methods to our team leaders as well. Hence, I could receive guidelines and support from them whenever needed. I also took part in the Walkthrough session of Spectator Service Team to get to know the locations of gates, spectator areas, and some other necessary places. By participating in this session, I was aware of where each gate located beforehand so I could find way more easily and faster when moving from one gate to another. In addition, I was instructed of how to use the device ahead of my first shift.
In my opinion, there are some issues that event managers can consider and develop for better future events. Concerning my task viewpoint, there were several times that the machine could not read the bar code on mobile devices and on some plastic cards. Therefore, the ticket scanning process was slowed down and spectators spent longer time waiting for the ticket being checked. Moreover, at some quite distant gates from the Main entrance (Indian Hill gate and Vesijärvi Lake gate), the device was not working so smoothly, perhaps due to slower and further signal transmission. It would be great if the machine could be more sensitive and the technology were more advanced. However, in general, most of the tickets could be checked effortlessly. At the Main entrance, there were IT staffs who gave support and fixed problems occurring to the device immediately, which was a plus and a great help for our team. Team leaders were also enthusiastic, friendly, and responsible. The number of volunteer in each gate and the task division were well arranged. Some challenges that I could perceive were about language barrier, culture diversity, weather conditions, and terrain (high hill, for example). On the other hand, the development in technology (bar code identification), options of online ticket sales, winter season... were some opportunities to organize and operate this ski games efficiently and generate more revenues. All in all, it is indisputable that Lahti FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2017 was a success.
During this volunteering, I learned some useful tips to organize and run an international event beautifully. How the task was divided, how to communicate effectively across departments, cooperation, professional and wholehearted working, teamwork ability, and voluntary spirit were valuable lessons for me. More importantly, I had chance to meet new people from different countries, to get acquainted with my team members, to enjoy numerous stunning performances, and to integrate myself into Lahti’s sport love atmosphere. Despite some difficulties in my Finnish skill, they did not affect considerably my work. I am a friendly and easygoing person and I hope that I could make people around me feel comfortable and joyful when coming to this event.
It was my very first time to observe a ski sport playing. I have never forget those amazing bird-flying-like performances in Ski Jumping competitions, tenacious efforts in Cross-country Skiing and the moments of observing beautiful fireworks on the hill, sharing with my teammate a hot cup of coffee in night shift and going up 97 stairs to reach the gate I was assigned to, etc. There could be pains in arms and legs, and cold face after work but when comparing to joy and precious experience I could gain from this volunteering activity, I was happy and delighted for having been a part of this Centenary Championships.
I expect to have more opportunities to contribute to other events in the future. I can learn a lot from these work, especially improving my interpersonal and management skills. Lahti FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2017 is certainly one of my most memorable extra-curricular activities for my student life in Lahti, Finland.
Nguyen Truong - 1600380