Foreign volunteers excel at Hangzhou Asiad

Lu Feiran
More than 1,800 foreign volunteers worked at this year's Asian Games in Hangzhou. They helped coordinate schedules, interviews and aided translation services.
Lu Feiran
Foreign volunteers excel at Hangzhou Asiad

Volunteers pose with referees after an archery event at the Hangzhou Asian Games.

Asian Games volunteer Lee Chengxun put forth a serious effort in his role in aiding journalists and providing comprehensive support.

Journalists from all over the world would come with all kinds of issues, and it was Lee's responsibility to deal with appointments for interviews, answer questions on shuttle bus schedules and press conferences, lending USB cables and earphones, and contacting IT specialists to solve technological problems for journalists.

From Malaysia, and now studying in Zhejiang University, 21-year-old Lee speaks fluent Mandarin, Cantonese, English and Malay. He worked from either early morning to afternoon, or from afternoon to late night. It was common for him and his colleagues to delay meals and work extra hours when it's busy.

"I major in information engineering," Lee said. "Although the volunteer work had little to do with my major, I still learnt a lot from it, especially communication skills. It'll be helpful with my future career as I expect to create my own business in the future."

Foreign volunteers excel at Hangzhou Asiad
Lu Feiran / SHINE

Lee Chengxun from Malaysia adjusts a translating device for the Main Press Center.

Lee is one of 1,800-plus foreign volunteers at the Asian Games who work at stadiums and the villages. Along with the other 30,000-plus Chinese volunteers, they made sure that the games were running on track. Because of their light green uniforms, they were nicknamed xiaoqinghe, or "Little Green Lotuses."

From countries such as South Korea, Egypt, Vietnam and Myanmar, the foreign volunteers' language abilities played an essential role during the games.

Jin Seiri from South Korea is one of the language service volunteers. Apart from working at the help desk at the Main Media Center, she also served as an interpreter when needed.

Living in China with her Korean grandparents since childhood, Jin is fluent in Mandarin and Korean. Studying translation in Zhejiang University, the Asian Games was the first practical opportunity to use her languages.

"It feels good when my knowledge can help people," she said. "I'm a native speaker, but sometimes I still find it difficult to find all the accurate words, especially terms for modern technologies. I have to turn to translation devices, but it makes me feel more resolute to become a professional translator."

Foreign volunteers excel at Hangzhou Asiad
Lu Feiran / SHINE

Jin Seiri (second from right) helps a journalist from South Korea with a shuttle bus schedule.

Fu Jing, who oversees the volunteering work at the Main Media Center, said the volunteers started to receive training months before the games started.

"Most of our volunteers at the center are students from Zhejiang University," she said. "They're young but hardworking and professional."

But it's not all work and no play for volunteers at the games. On their days off they would go to games they were interested in.

"I love boxing but I haven't practiced for a while after coming to China," Lee said. "This time I got to watch a boxing match on my day off and it somehow quenched my thirst."

Before the game started, Jin visited the Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City, the ruins of a civilization of 5,000 to 6,000 years ago in today's Zhejiang Province.

"Having been in China for years, this was the first time I got to know the Liangzhu Culture, and I was grateful that I could have such an opportunity," she said.

Although the games are about to finish up soon, parts of the volunteer work will continue as the Asian Para Games will soon raise its curtain. The event will be more challenging for volunteers requiring more special skills, such as sign language and medical care. But the volunteers are fully prepared.

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