EXPO Milan is slowly coming to its end and since slovak delegation was also being a part of EU pavilion, we decided to make an interview with Veronika to offer you the inside look:
Hi, my name is Veronika and I study at Matej Bel University in Banská Bystrica specialized in FBI – Finance, banking and investment (I use short version, it sounds much better). Even I volunteer in ESN only from January '15, this organisation has given me a lot. From the beginning I felt that I am a part of a young and totally friendly team, I have met students from different countries, participated in various events and last but not least I had an opportunity to participate at the EXPO Milano 2015 as a volunteer.
EXPO Milan 2015 is a global event where more than 145 countries take part with their own original pavilions to educate the public, share innovation and promote progress in specific area.„Feed the planet, energy for life“
What was your first thought when you found out the possibility to be volunteer at EXPO Milan 2015? Excited from very beginning, willing to apply as soon as possible?
Definitely yes. The funny part is that I was thinking about visiting the EXPO even before I had this opportunity. I was looking for the way how to get to this amazing exhibiton. There were several online competitions on the Internet where you could win free tickets so I was trying my luck and joined all of them. Then a miracle occurred and Italian ESN asked for a help in EU pavilion from others ESN around Europe. After I heard the good news, I did not wait a single minute and applied immediately. For me it was a double win – do something useful for a society as a volunteer and have two weeks for exploring the EXPO site. That´s how my volunteer experience began.
Was there any selection procedure due to the volunteer position at EXPO?
Of course there was. First, I had to fill the application and sent CV with a cover letter. Second, I needed to handle the Skype interview and after that I had to register to online platform and pass the e-leargning which consisted of presentations about 5 topics like basic knowledge about the European union, Safety and Security, the Exhibition complex, etc. In the end of each section was a test. When the e-learning was done, I only waited for a e-mail informing me about selection procedure.
All right, you passed interview, e-learning, what was next? Could you choose the position and work you would like to do? What were your responsibilities?
It was not exactlly like this. Everyday we could choose the different position ( from 8 positions) because few of them were pretty annoying – for example being in Main-show and watching the same movie every 10 minutes for 4 hours. I think that someone could end up in the Mental hospital after 2 weeks of working only at this position. This was example of passive position but there were also the active ones (where the italian language was needed or at least one person who was speaking italian ) For example:
Promotion – responsible for atracting people to „Come and visit our EU pavilion“ and give them some basic information about the pavilion and the location.
Exterior queue – managing the number of visitors who enter to the pavilion (because of the capacity) There were also some funny spots/videos which shown people from different
european countries saying „Hello and welcome in Milan“.
Interior quequ – entertaining the visitors while they were waiting for a pre-show. In this interior corridor was a wall with the flags of EU countries – e.g. visitors were guessing the name of countries and for advanced visitors – guessing capital cities.
Pre-show – telling the basic story of Alex and Sylvia – main characters EXPO Milan 2015
EXPO truly is amazing event, but tell us your personal observations - what one or two things caught your full attention? What was the highlight of your two weeks at EXPO?
The architecture! It was the absolutely first thing you saw after you had entered to the EXPO site. Well, you can make the first impression only once and the architects of the pavilions were aware of this, so they created the small EXPO town where every single pavilion was the extraordinary masterpiece. Some of them wanted to represent their culture with a typical shape of roofs (Chinese and Nepal pavilion), the pavilion of United Arab Emirates looks like a sand dunes, Polish one was made of a wooden apple boxes (Poland is a big exporter of apples) etc.
The next perfect thing was that you could „travel“ around the world in really short time, try and discover more than 100 countries and their cultures through many interactive panels, games and workshops. All of this you could find under one roof! Fox example you can drink horse milk (it´s disgusting), make your own Magnum ice-cream or the chocolate in Swiss pavilion, mix your own Coca-cola (with different flavours which are not launched yet), eat Chinese noodles, put a henna tattoo from Qatar, learn how to dance Salsa, play a typical Malaysian board game or try a flight-simulation. If you are exhausted, you can go and rest in the austrian forest or go on the roof of Angola pavilion (4 floors) and watch sunset colours from an oasis.
"EXPO prepared the original EXPO passport for all passionate travelers, so during your journey from one amazing pavilion to another you can collect the unique stamps from each pavilion and make the best personal souvenir ever."
Considering the length of your stay, hopefully you had the chance to see almost all pavilions. Which was your favourite one? Did you like Slovak pavilion?
After my two weeks at EXPO I still cannot say which pavilion was my favourite one, but I extremely liked 3 pavillons because of the message they want to share with visitors and architecture of the building as well. The first pavilion is Swiss pavilion – they offer 3 free exhibitons about the swiss cities and countryside, but more interesting is the main building with four towers. There is one type of product in each tower - coffee, salt, dry apple circles and plastic glass for water. The visitors are allowed to take a piece of food as a present but they have to be aware of the length of exhibiton (6 months) and also responsible with amount of pieces they grab, because the resources are limited and if they are greedy there will not be enough food for other visitors. This pavilion offers a free chocolate workshop and it´s the only pavilion with a post box so you can send a post card from the EXPO site with an original Bern post stamp.
The second one is German pavilion which impress you with technical innovations like SeedBoard. It´s an innteractive tool "Fields of Ideas" which actively and playfully involves visitors - they can create totaly personal and unique experience due to the information served in SeedBoard - visitors can use it to navigate themselves to different exhibits, selected content can be even stored and collected! Next speachless pavilion is pavilion of the United Arab Emirates. The climate changes represent a huge problem for the whole world for the future, but the UAE has to face it now. That´s why organisators have prepared 4D movie and holograms thanks to which they have shown and shared how to deal with these difficulties.
Regarding to Slovak pavilion - I was absolutely satisfied. To be honest I was a little shocked (in possitive way) since in my opinion Slovak pavilion belongs to interesting ones. In comparison with others, area of Slovak pavilion is relatively small but nevertheless visitors can see the cooperation between the modernity and cultural traditions across several themes and also there is opportunity for them to make a virtual tour of some nice places Slovakia can offer thanks to the 3D glasses.
To sum it up, would you go to EXPO as volunteer once again? How did this experience affected you?
According to me, every stay abroad makes you more independent, because practically you can rely only on yoursefl. So thanks to this experience I´ve learned how to deal with different problems, communicate with people. Finally after two week I´ve known few words in italian language like „Tirare la maniglia solo in caso di pericolo“ – pull the handle only in case of danger - because I spent loads of time in metro. But also I´ve met amazing co-workers from different countries and with various habits and lifestyles. These people inspired me a lot in my own life and if I had an opportunity to participate at the simillar event I would not hesitate a minute.