Volunteering at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my study at UniSA.
Three years ago when I signed up for a combined degree in Bachelor of Business (Tourism and Event Management) and Bachelor of Business (Marketing) I had no idea about the amazing opportunities offered by the UniSA Business School, and no clue I would ever be so lucky to volunteer at such a huge, world famous event.
My involvement in volunteering at the Olympics came about through the incredible professors and staff at UniSA working hard to offer students incredible opportunities, internships, scholarships and more. Through these amazing people and the UniSA Business School I started my journey with a New Colombo Plan funded Tourism study tour with Dr Aise Kim in 2016 to South Korea and Taiwan. We were lucky enough to tour the PyeongChang Olympic venues as they were being built at the time, and we got to talk to our guide about the event that I had no idea I would someday be a part of.
I was successful in continuing my journey in South Korea by winning one of 105 New Colombo Plan (NCP) scholarships through UniSA in 2017 to live, study and intern in South Korea for a year. Part of winning that scholarship meant UniSA could assist students such as myself in becoming a volunteer at the Olympics, and that I could even get credit for it towards my degree.
The Event Services team at the Olympics involved a large group of people from across the world. Although our roles at the Alpensia Cross-Country Skiing venue changed every day, our tasks generally involved assisting spectators and media staff and providing information about all aspects of the event. UniSA volunteers were in the thick of things working with the crowds to ensure that the event ran smoothly.
Highlights included the positive attitude and adaptability shown by the other nine UniSA volunteers in challenging environments in a new country. It was also great to be a spectator at multiple events including Big Air Snowboard, Ski Jump, Freestyle Skiing, and of course the inspiring crowd at Cross-Country. Some people turned up every day, in costume, ready to cheer for their cross-country athlete heroes.
I learned so much from my experience, both from a tourism and marketing perspective, and also about Korean people and their culture.
I hope to continue to learn even more as I continue the last few months of my New Colombo Plan scholar journey in Korea undertaking an internship with an events non-profit NGO in Seoul, before returning to Adelaide to complete the last semester of my undergraduate degree.
So my advice for every new and continuing student … studying at UniSA means you have access to some amazing exchange and internship opportunities. You just have to check your emails and apply to everything you are interested in because with the support and grants available you have nothing to lose! You never know where it might take you.
Hannah Kemp is studying a Bachelor of Business (Tourism and Event Management) and Bachelor of Business (Marketing) at UniSA’s Business School.