We decided to apply to volunteer at the 2014 World Cup because Ikumi enjoyed very much volunteering at the 2010 FIFA Fanfest in Sydney (we met Flavia and Jana there for the first time…..), the atmosphere was special and last but not least her national team, Japan (her birthcountry) performed well and was gonna qualify for this one as well.
I was personally involved in a previous World Cup (France 1998), enjoyed it very much and agreed that Brazil would be a special one. We applied to work in the Stadium Media Centre and selected our three preferred locations (Recife, Natal, Rio in this order) but after a Skype interview and online training we were offered the position in Curitiba (south Brazil), a place I did not know and considered to go because of the weather. After discussing it with Ikumi we decided to accept it, so the first week in June we left for the very long journey to Curitiba via Tokyo, Paris and Sao Paulo. We were wonderfully welcomed and literally embraced by the local volunteers despite the language barrier, worked 5 days shift in the Media Centre alternating front desk duties (basic info for journalists, photographers and broadcasters, handing out tickets for attending press conferences and for matchdays, lockers keys, printing out matches statistics and so on), with stadium and ground duties on matchdays (directing the press to their allocated seats, making sure broadcasters were not disturbed when filming, distriburing match printouts to accredited medias).
We were also asked to be at the media shuttle bus stop and media entry point for possible queries by the international press coming to Curitiba for the scheduled 4 matches.
We truly liked everything about our stay in Brazil; our host family was very friendly and understanding towards us, the food was delicious to say a little, the organization, security of a very high standard, public transport very efficient and free for us, the only thing that maybe was not amazing was the weather with very few sunny and warm days, most of the time we were suffering wintery weather like in Sydney and there was no beach to go to…
Australia-Spain was the match we enjoyed the most, we met a few guys from SBS. The memories of the short time we spent volunteering at the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Curitiba will stay with us forever and we feel so blessed to be able to be selected (over 150.000 applicants) and to enjoy so much one of the world greatest sporting event.